Today is Mine

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Today’s my birthday, and was a strangely rainy day in the Big Apple.  I felt like going to work, which was bizarre in and of itself.

I like birthdays, the ego gets a holiday and can run free!  Free at last!  Hee.

In this moderen age, we can self-publish.  So that’s easy right there.  Boom!  Instant connection to cyberworld.

Anyhoo …

I used to endlessly taunt Ma about what I sneeringly referred to as her “ghetto” thinking.  Non-Jews were the goyim and they were just stupid.  Sorry, that’s just the way it was.  They were stupid and we should know better than to act like them.

Both me and my sisters would torture Ma by pointing out that her dear Jewish lady friends at the synagogue weren’t ever there for her, but that horrible goyishe group she had been in all her adult life, The Homemakers, were true friends and they were all very devout Christian women.

Well, we thought we were torturing her.  She had her own code and wasn’t very impressed by ours, most often.

She saw no contradiction at all.  She understood that the Christian women who were her true friends needed a space for their sacred views and it was very easy for her to respect that with ease and sincerity.  She was a devout woman herself.

I don’t think she was so sure, when we kids were younger, that we were devout, knew who we were, and could give that space.  She saw us as either succumbing to someone else’s strange culture and giving up all our heritage or, as bad, robbing someone else of their heritage, so she didn’t encourage us to mix socially.

Only problem was, this was the Midwest, we were on the opposite side of town from where most of the Jews lived, and there wasn’t much choice but goyim to hang out with.

Once I left home I craved diversity like freedom itself.  Midwest had some but I was greedy, so moved to New York, where it was guaranteed.

Back to Ma.  I went through a dramatically angry period where I called her a bigot and felt so contemptuous of her views of other people.

I don’t think she really cared about the content of my J’Accuse! as much that she was not amused that I thought I could speak to her in that tone.  Hee.  The one thing we both had in common during that time was sheer confidence in fighting each other.  It was not a bad time even though it was a rough one.

There’s a lot of talk about President Obama and the fears that newly vocal black Democrats are voicing, often to ridicule or anger and such.

What I’m reading from the black writers (and I am pointedly ignoring the white writers who try and write about it before they understand it in their hearts) is not unfamiliar to me.

In this new millennium, we all have virtually irreplaceable treasures that we inherited from our various tribes.  There was intent in our gaining these treasures, our ancestors had the long view, as it were.

My Ma and those Christian ladies we kids always made fun of, knew how to give each other that space.  In my essay of yesterday someone said a saying to the effect that it means something to say Our mothers know each other.  To paraphrase, that is.

The benefit, the reward, of allowing that space is simply to experience the peace and mutual respect when encountering a brother or a sister.

Ma’s relationships lasted her whole life.  My oldest sister is now an honorary member of the Homemaker’s Club.  I was never invited.  Heh.

Oh, btw, they now have Christmas decorations up in midtown Manhattan … I told a fellow secretary today there must have been some radiation leakage because I saw giant gold pine cones hanging from the ceiling in our skyscraper lobby, and they were the size of a Buick! (h/t Woody Allen) I got a double take and then a laugh.

Ho ho ho.

28 comments

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    • Edger on December 2, 2010 at 02:01

    Starting with Sailin’ Shoes, and finishing with Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley.

    But the middle song, Hey, Hey Julia (You’re Acting So Peculiar), is phenomenal. It has without a doubt the greatest backup lyrics and vocals of any song, any time, in history.

    Yo momma would loved it. IMHO. 😉

    • sharon on December 2, 2010 at 02:10

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, npk!  And happy chanukah!  Enjoy the double header!

    • sharon on December 2, 2010 at 02:12

    also thanks for the birthday parable.  🙂

  1. Photobucket

    birthday waterfall

  2. But I just wanna’ join in and wish you a Happy Birthday!  Hah, December lst?  

    Happy Chanukah, Happy Everything — seems trite, doesn’t it?  But I mean it for ever little bit that can be garnered, however, whenever!  🙂

  3. you had a great birthday! happy birthday!

    • RiaD on December 2, 2010 at 04:45

    happy birthday npk!

  4. heehee!  love ya NPK

    – thanks for the new wave essays too.  me likey

    • Robyn on December 2, 2010 at 06:30

    Sorry I’m late.

  5. May the next go around be tsuris free!

    • Heather on December 3, 2010 at 22:25

    then she died and it became the day I celebrated seeing her for the very first time. I have a whole bunch of wishes but mostly I wish I had paid more attention.

    Even though I knew every movement and curve of her hands.

    Happy belated birth day NPK.  

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