Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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Jewish Childhood Blog

"This blog carries the voice of my memoir, past and present, into the future. Feel free to fill out the form with a question or comment. I look forward to a dialog with you."

  —L'chaim, to life, Jeanne



A Los Angeles Childhood - Till Death Do Us Part
Monday, 28 February 2011 22:07

You know that feeling in the early morning when you suddenly awaken for no reason?

It's the dead of winter in Santa Fe. I wake up at a time when darkness fills the windows and the warmth under the covers brings comfort, my pen moving across the page. The only other sound is the humidifier and in the room with me memories of the parents of three friends who have died so recently.

I go back to those words," till death do us part."  I try to place the exact time I truly understood what they meant, when  my mother, Esther died November 8, 2002, at the age of ninety-four, six weeks after my Bat Mitzvah. I was then sixty-two.

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A Los Angeles Childhood - Just Like My Mother
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 19:42

"Turn on the television," my heart sister Pat says, "China Beach is on."

It's the re-runs  we share because, with businesses to run, neither one of us have time to watch the series when it was originally on.

I also remember re-runs of Melrose Place, when we would call each other  during the commercials, "Can you imagine so and so is now with, what's his name is now with what's her name It's just like my mom, Aunt Minnie and Grandma Goldenberg back in the 40s with Our Gal Sunday, Helen Trent, and Ma Perkins. The three of them sharing the lives of others, the telephone line alive with their joy. It took them out of their own day- to- day worries, the ones that bound them together and informed their sleep at night, and that might even wake them at 4:00 a.m .

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A Los Angeles Childhood - In Memory and Celebration
Thursday, 27 January 2011 20:39

Monday evening, January 17th, was one of  memory  and celebration as 120 people came to Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse for the book launch and the first public reading of "Saving Myself: a Los Angeles  childhood" in my new hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

We honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Debbie Friedman, the Jewish American Composer and Singer who died January 9th, 2011.

The gathering listened as I brought to life a childhood which obscured for over fifty years until it appeared on the pages of my journal, as I described to someone in the Question and Answer period when she asked how I remembered things that happened so long ago.

Another question during the Q & A was, "How long did it take to write this book?" My answer:  thirteen years.

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A Los Angeles Childhood – Astronomy and Quaker Oats 1-1-11
Sunday, 02 January 2011 10:32
{jcomments on}What do you remember about third grade? I remember round oatmeal boxes with “Captain Quaker” on the front. The tempting, nutritious porridge my mother prepared for me, sending me off to school at the age of eight with a hearty breakfast. Oatmeal with Thompson’s seedless raisins and brown sugar, good whole milk delivered by the milk man by way of a metal box that opens into the service porch of our house, fresh, the cream at the top, the glass returnable bottle placed back where the milkman retrieves it. When we finish all the oatmeal, the carton goes off with me to school. It becomes my very own astronomy lab.

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A Los Angeles Childhood - Kaddish
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 11:15

This weekend is my mother’s yortzeit, the Hebrew anniversary of her death. It’s been eight years now since she died.

As I say her name in temple Saturday morning, sounds  choke up. Esther Simonoff.

What I remember most about honoring the dead in my family is two things:

First, the glass jars that were filled with wax and small enough that they lasted only twenty-four hours, sundown to sundown left a perfectly fine functional juice glass. Each time I needed a drink of water, I reached past those ones for fear of drinking the dead.

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You Can Go Home Again-A Second Chance at a Happy Childhood
Thursday, 02 December 2010 16:39

I joined my high school alumni association, Eagle Rock High School, S’58, Pericleans, sea foam green and black, pegged skirts, and wavy page boy haircuts, bobby sox and mary  janes.

For a long period of time I had been getting emails of the passing of one Periclean after another, and with each passing, my chance of growing a happy high school experience diminished.

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Proof
Thursday, 02 December 2010 16:39

It came in the mail.  A sturdy cardboard box wrapped around a book.  PROOF, it said on the last page, with a date in small letters and numbers. I had it. What I had been working toward all these years. My book. The cover showed a small child, tentative, with a white or light dress, smocked on the top.

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