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



Jewish Childhood. Day 3 - A Day To Slow Down and Sleep In
Sunday, 15 June 2014 14:14

My plan is to go first to the Gardens to say hello to all of the Queens and Saints. I want to talk to all of them but I don’t know if they are yet ready for me to carry on a dialog. And the list of the dogs of Paris continues.

I am working toward getting over my jet lag. I take out the poem I want to workshop tonight at Shakespeare and Company, in the other writing group’s critique. It is one that my heart sister, Pat, has been asking me to write for some time now.

I take the 27 Bus and get off at Ste Michel and Ste Germain. Then I walk toward Notre Dame. Turn down Rue Ste. Severin where I find a very clean Japanese Buffet. This simply means that there is a cold case, a deli case where there are different prepared dishes. The sushi is in the front window. I choose a package of sushi and ask for a small carafe d’eau. Slowly enjoy this treat and taking it gently, finish and then go out into the street, over to Rue de Huchette. I pass the Amerino Gelato but since I’ve discovered freezing my raspberries, and building a smoothie with almond milk, who needs gelato. Something I never thought would happen. So I continue toward Shakespeare and Company, sit outside the front of the bookstore and watch people hoping to see a dog or two to add to my dogs of Paris list. About 6:15 PM I go upstairs to the room where we meet and find several people already there. I then find out from a woman named Mary that from 4-6 they serve tea and whatever. I file that for next Sunday when I will again return. Click here: Shakespeare and Company

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A Jewish Childhood – Paris Day 2
Thursday, 12 June 2014 20:22

Where did we leave off? The Pompidou Center. I got a program when I first arrived. Yes there were several exhibits I wanted to see. All entailed getting a regular ticket. After finding out that there was at least an hour’s wait to get into Cartier Bresson. And the other ones, Clocks, and Martial Raysse, 200 works in the forms of paintings, sculptures, films and drawings, with a look back over his career having started painting and writing poetry at a young age…well it looked like another trip would be necessary and possibly that I would have to miss Cartier Bresson which was closing on the 9th of June.

So, I walked over to the Jewish Museum on Rue Temple, only to find it closed because, duh, it was Shabbat. Two police persons, a woman and a man, were stationed right across the street and evidently had been standing vigil since a bombing in Belgium at a holocaust museum earlier that week. So I vowed to come back also to see that most recent exhibit.

I walked back to the Pompidou Center and to the Stravinsky Fountain, had a decaf, chatted with a couple of people and watched the wonderful treat, done by Tanguey and Nikki de St. Phalle. Click here: ? Fontaine Stravinsky - Paris - Fontaine des Automates - Centre Georges Pompidou - kinetic fountain - YouTube

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A Jewish Childhood –Welcome to Paris – The first few days
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 20:51

On Friday afternoon, June 6th I arrived at my apartment on rue Gay Lussac. It was a familiar sight indeed. I have been staying in this apartment two blocks from Luxembourg Gardens since 2008 and my first stop after getting online, my life link to friends and family. Wonderful organic cherries, melon, raspberries, 21 boxes of which I froze because it seems the markets here in Paris don’t have frozen fruit or coconut milk drink. Luckily I brought my whey protein with me for my morning smoothie, which I had for the first time yesterday. Who needs gelato? Such flavor. Similar to what I remember of Amerino raspberry gelato.

Then I take a walk over to Luxembourg Gardens, sushi at my local Japanese Restaurant.

Sounds of French everywhere. Do I understand all of it? Mais, non. Does it matter, mais non. That and the birds singing became music. No need for me to understand.

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Jewish Childhood Blog - I Dream of Paris
Sunday, 04 May 2014 21:28

It is on my smart phone, first the temperature for Santa Fe and then Paris. Right now the temperature is 73 degrees and glorious, a slight breeze, clear blue skies, the Russian Sage is leafing out in the southwest courtyard, the lilacs...well, hit and miss. A late freeze, the yarrow sending out many new children, the courtyard flag stone complete, the banco included. Right now in Paris it is sunny and 55 degrees at 9:30 p.m. with a prediction tomorrow of 60. Ah such a smart phone. Photos taken of the north side out the window here in Santa Fe because, well, because it's a lot closer in real time.

I start to check the museums to see what special treats I have in store for myself next month in Paris.

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Jewish Childhood Blog - I Have Always Been a Believer
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 21:58

When I was a kid, I always felt that I was a winner. I mean, contests, to save the most string, to make a ball of aluminum foil for the war effort and when I got older, Publisher's Clearinghouse. In fact I felt this so much that when I sold my house in Los Angeles and was renting an apartment while building my Santa Fe house, I wrote Publisher's Clearing House a letter telling them, "I have moved and I know I will be a winner, so here is my new address for the next 8 months and after that, my Santa Fe Address”.

So what can I say? When I got an email this morning that offered me a chance to meet, Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton in New York on May 1st, I had to send in a donation, small that it was in comparison to the possible categories of $500, $250 and so on. Well suffice it to say, mine was quite a bit smaller but I guess even in my troisiome age, I can still believe in magic and the power of my luck.

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A Jewish Childhood Blog – I Remember You When…
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 21:07

How many times did I hear that as a child, especially in synagogue at Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock. And here I am saying that at my cousin Elizabeth’s wedding, to her and her father. Tom, her father, and I, are not that far apart but his kids, yes. It’s hard to actually see the days, months and years passing. But at a big wedding, well, where else can I go but to say the same thing to all of those I watched growing up into the people they have become.

I try to grasp the child in them still as I do with myself some times. The mirror actually does some tricks, but not too often. Dreams have a way of bringing that back. My mother and father, being alive with me and an all-star cast of others especially at times such as this, the nights filled with wonderful stories and visions.

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Jewish Childhood Blog - Just Put One Word In Front Of The Next
Monday, 24 February 2014 21:32

This continual voice in my head says to me: How long can you maintain the topic and stay in the now. Now. That is what there is.

How do I know this? I have been raised all my life with the understanding that memory can fade, retreat, become all that was and not what is.

I have been working on my second memoir, JUST NOW for six months now. I am up to almost 90 pages. It becomes more and more a being in my everyday consciousness. It blends and blurs my days, both prose and poetry.

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A Jewish Childhood - Sitting in McDonalds - Santa Fe
Sunday, 19 January 2014 21:20

It was bound to happen. I forgot to take an appointment out of my calendar. The old fashioned kind. The kind I buy an insert for each September at my birthday so I can track my days, carefully noting each meeting so I don't show up at the wrong time.

Well, today my 11am appointment is actually next Friday so here I am at a small round table at McDonalds off Pacheco Street and St. Michael’s Drive in Santa Fe.

I don't have anything until 12:15pm, so why not stop and try what McDonalds proclaims to be the best decaf in town. A medium size of coffee and three creams is $1.90, a good price for these days. I am ready for my new experience.

There are many tables filled with other elders asking, Hey, pass the paper," and visiting with each other leading me to believe that this may, in fact be a daily experience for this group, which I confirm by talking to two men sitting at another table close to mine. One has a cap identifying him as a Viet Nam soldier. I thank him for his service. He then tells me yes people meet here about 9am on.

Music comes from the table in back of me and after a second I identify it as a cell phone ring. It is a Cuban tune and I consider getting up and dancing but it doesn't last long enough before I learn that the man answering the phone speaks in Spanglish, and tells his friend, "No, I'll bring the money Monday."

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A Los Angeles Childhood - Common Language - Goya and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 22:56

Last Saturday, my heart sister and I went to see the Goya exhibit at the Santa Fe Museum of Art on its opening day. As I looked at the images, the ones by Goya looked familiar, and the Blog from last year will let you know why.

Hope you enjoy it and thanks again for reading the Jewish Childhood Blog.

A few weeks ago I went with my friend Greg to the Albuquerque Museum to see the National Museum Tour of Francisco Goya’s LOS CAPRICHOS. The booklet that accompanied the exhibit defined Capricho as a whim, a fantasy or an expression of imagination. They go on to further say that Goya saw it as much more.

I remember seeing his work in 1990 at the Prado in Madrid and thinking that it was so disturbing that I could not look at it.

I found out that Goya was a man trapped in a world of silence - totally deaf- after a bout with typhoid fever or Menieres disease. Perhaps lead poisoning from his oil paints somehow set him free. He began his work depicting demons, vices, something otherworldly.  In a manuscript that accompanied one of the plates in the series, he wrote, "The world is a masquerade. Looks, dress and voice, anything is only pretension. Everyone wants to appear to be what he is not. Everyone is deceiving, and no one ever knows himself."

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A Book Review - May Sarton “JOURNAL OF A SOLITUDE” A Look Back Jeanne Simonoff, Memoir and Personal Essay, Miriam Sagan, Fall 2013
Tuesday, 03 December 2013 22:23

When I was in my 40s or so I read this memoir. I thought about what it meant to be a poet, to make friends with words, to introduce them to each other and build a family, a friendship between them on the page.

I look at how important love seemed to me at the age of 40, or even 50.

I tried to find some commonalities between Sarton and me. We shared a love of animals, of toiling and tilling in the soil to bring forth new life. The annuals and of course the perennials of which I feel both Sarton and myself, among many, have in common. Year after year spent trying to coax love out of a relationship that is long past harvest.

I had a friend who was so enchanted with May Sarton that she read all of her novels, poems and some of her memoirs trying to find her location by the clues in her books. Eventually she and her partner at the time, Diane, did track her down in New Hampshire and did eventually even manage to meet her, to have all the books autographed, to establish some kind of relationship. But to have a relationship with, within and without, that is what I so appreciated in this memoir, JOURNAL OF A SOLITUDE: her garden, the seasons, the cats, especially the cats. Her Journal was both spiritual and creative. This I can truly identify also in my writing life.

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