Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
Buy a signed copy of the book!
a signed
copy of the
Get a 17 page
excerpt when you
join our mailing list!

Follow me on
Follow Jeanne Simonoff on TwitterFollow Jeanne Simonoff on Facebook
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 - Pablita Velarde Museum of Indian Women in the Arts
Sunday, 02 June 2013 16:07
Last night I attended the opening of the Pablita Velarde Museum of Indian Women in the Arts, honoring Pablita's daughter Helen Hardin, with the exhibit, A STRAIGHT LINE CURVED,  with a video of introduction to the exhibit done by Margarete Bagshaw, Pablita's granddaughter and Helen's daughter.
I thought you might enjoy re-reading this blog and for some of you it might be the first time.
If you are in Santa Fe, please visit the museum and see the exhibit which runs from June 1-September 30, 2013 at 213 Cathedral Place.  www.PVMIWA.ORG. 505-988-8900.

The first time I met Pablita Velarde was at the Eight Northern Pueblos. These consist of Nambe, Okay Owingeh (San Juan), Picuris, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Taos and Tesuque. Pablita Velarde was born in the Santa Clara Pueblo, which is two miles south of Espanola. Born September 19, 1918, her mother died when she was about five years old.
A Los Angeles Childhood - Words and What They Can Do
Thursday, 23 May 2013 18:11

This morning I was riding my exercise bike, a 1976 Schwinn Exercise bike my mother fondly called her WD-40. She used it after a heart attack and going through cardiac rehab. It is set against my bookshelves in the part of my studio known as my working library.

I have reading material right there next to me and have been working on SEVEN PLACES IN AMERICA: A Poetic Journey by Miriam Sagan, with whom I just finished a poetry class, and THE TRUE SECRET OF WRITING, by Natalie Goldberg, with whom I have studied over the years.

Out of these two books this morning came a random list of words. These words became a Haiku:  

                              Sacred Stillness.

                              Alert:  Polish Bones.

                              Love downstream.

Just yesterday I was at Hillside Market in Santa Fe where I attend a weekly writing group on Tuesdays 10-12pm. I searched and searched for six words with which I could build a Sestina.

Today I have those words plus one to spare.

I am always amazed at how inspiration just pops up, random, without struggle. When I get anxious and figure nothing will come, then Mom's rescue bike comes into play, or a walk with my dog down our dirt road, or a cup of French press, and voila.  Something comes forward to inform me that it's time to get out my fountain pen and get to work.

I would love to have you join me on this glorious day to welcome in life. My daily mantra when I awake and my small dog beside me awakes:  Thanks, and thank you for reading My Jewish Childhood Blog.

A Los Angeles Childhood: 39,290 Readers. Which Blogs?
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 09:51

Yes, I am a Virgo and very interested in which Blogs people read, how many, and why? I'll never know that one. But for now, I'm just happy to know that many of you out there do read them.

As a writer, there are certain things that interest me. I am absolutely thrilled when they seem to interest you, also. But I never really know why. I long to have you tell me, send me an email and let me know what about which ones hold your interest.

I am getting ready for another trip to Paris and will be sending Blogs from there hopefully daily. I also now call myself Mrs. Smarty Pants because I just got a smart phone and will take photos to go along with the Blogs. Yes, even old dogs...

I first started these Blogs in the middle of December 2010 to coordinate with the release of my memoir, SAVING MYSELF: A LOS ANGELES CHILDHOOD, which by the way, has sold nearly 1,200 copies.

A Jewish Childhood - Reflections to Honor Yom Hashoah - Part 3
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 19:27

This Jewish Childhood blog would not be complete without my poem written in 1990, after my birthday trip to Paris, my love-hate relationship with Paris revealed. And yet, now each June I go there, and walk around the Marais and remember. The saying is Never Forget. I post this now to honor all of those who didn't come back.


What is this that whispers to me on a still day in Marais?

I detest Paris for this smallest part of her frayed like a prayer shawl,

crushed together and seized.

My mother yells don't go to Marais

there are bombs at Deli Goldenberg.

I go anyway.

I'm Russian, Jewish, from the Crimea.

I worry about gathering from my grandparents,

this part of me I can't understand.

Goldenberg: the rabbi, the grocer

with working cat prowling downstairs, sleeping up

just like grandpa.

After Schrachrit he writes prayers for sabbath, bar mitzvah and weddings.

Stoic and solid Queens of France freeze

encircling gardens, sixteenth century vestige, markers, icons.

Yet just blocks away not even fifty years of rains coming down

can efface blood, where screams are herded into streets toward boxcars of slaughter.

Marais, I will capture what I crave and exorcise camps, dragging of bodies, burning of dreams.

Give me back more than those names written on walls,

Memorial of rows in a mosque hidden behind Notre Dame.

I catch a sign: Goldenberg in neon; Goldenberg in paint.

I soothe that voice echoing, my mother telling the past, a gypsy playing all her cards.


Thank you for reading my Jewish Childhood Blog.

A Jewish Childhood - Reflections to Honor Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) - Paris, 1990 Part 2
Thursday, 11 April 2013 16:30

Each time I go back to trace the atrocity of this war, I remember the wire sculptures I originally saw in 1990, as well as the shrines to the murdered in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, which I visit every few years to honor themClick here: Paris' Pere Lachaise Cemetery & Holocaust Memorials

I bring a rose to Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein buried head to head there, and Oscar Wilde, the large monument to honor him, a sphinx with its penis chipped off.

As for the Deportation Memorial, it is never open each time I have come back to Paris more recently. Locked and bolted shut, as if the fear was that the bones would rise again and come back to life, the waking from a bad dream. Perhaps this year I will find it open still below Notre Dame as that restored cathedral restored with new bells, and perhaps the bells will toll for those thousands of people, Jews, Gays, Disabled, who need to be acknowledged. Never Forget.

A Jewish Childhood - Reflections to Honor Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) - Paris, 1990
Sunday, 07 April 2013 20:59

I went to Paris in 1990 to celebrate my 50th birthday. I went with a group of friends from Los Angeles. I was there before them, among them Lee Wilbur, Marie Colaneri, and Martha Ramirez.

On that day, I walk on Boulevard Invalides and come upon two swastikas etched into a wall, not as deep as hate goes, but there under layers of the past, the dust which is sent out into air and breathed in.

Le Theatre De La Mode. Models have legs of wire, nothing left inside save air. If only these mannequins could breathe. Originally created to tout the fashion of the day, they were 27.5 inches tall, fabricated entirely of wire, 200 doll sized figures, 15 elaborate artist created sets. I go back to my journal, started 8-31-90 via Paris France, #6 Bis Place St. Sulpice, in a hotel where Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas put up their friends, the Hotel Recamier. Click here: Theatre de la Mode - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Jewish Childhood - A Family of Music
Friday, 22 March 2013 21:13

I grew up raised on classical music. Every Saturday my mother and I listened to Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on the Air.

Some Saturdays we would take the bus downtown to Broadway and 5th Street. From there we would walk up to 427 W. Fifth, near Olive. This building was originally known as Clune's Auditorium until 1920 when the Los Angeles Philharmonic moved in. We saw concerts with the Philharmonic and then Musical Comedies such as Kismet with Alfred Drake and Doretta Morrow. I even recall seeing South Pacific.

I grew up playing the violin as my father had before him. The reason for this was that we were first and foremost Heifitz, my father's mother's maiden name. I was proud to be in the Los Angeles Philharmonic All Youth Orchestra and to play at the Hollywood Bowl.

I played the violin in orchestra until I was given an ultimatum when I turned sixteen. In the privacy of my own bedroom and with the small table model radio I purchased with the profits from selling my old Schwinn bicycle, I listened to KGFJ, and to what was called back then ‘race music’.

For those of you younger persons, you may not have heard of Jasha Heifitz, who was called by some, ‘God's Fiddler’. Click here: Jascha Heifetz: God's Fiddler - YouTube

A Jewish Childhood - Annie Leibovitz-The Woman and The Work Part 2
Friday, 22 February 2013 11:57

In her book, ANNIE LIEBOVITZ AT WORK, Random House, New York 2008, I flipped through the book to find excerpts that particularly touch me. She talks about the process of being a young photographer. "We were taught that the most important thing a young photographer can do is learn how to see." She also noted that, "The camera gave you a license to go out alone in the world with a purpose.”

Leibovitz talks about her experience going on tour with the Rolling Stones. She says, "I learned about power on that tour. About how people in an audience can lose a sense of themselves and melt into a frenzied, mindless mass. Mick and Keith had tremendous power both onstage and off. ...I found that my proximity to them lent me power also, a new kind of status. It didn't have anything to do with my work. It was power by association." One thing she did stress about the process of the Rolling Stones Tour, is what therapists realize when dealing with clients, that ten seconds separates them. For Liebovitz, she says, "The thing that saved me was that I had my camera by my side. It was there to remind me of who I was and what I did. It separated me from them."

A Jewish Childhood - Annie Leibovitz - The Woman and The Work
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 23:09

On Tuesday, February 12th I saw Annie Leibovitz at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe. She has a current show up at the O’Keeffe Museum called Pilgrimage. It was a wonderful evening during which Leibovitz shared the exhibit with us via projection on a very large screen while she spoke about each of the photographs. This is a new direction for one of the world's best-known living photographers. These were portraits of place as opposed to person, seen on the cover of Vanity Fair and Life Magazine, as well as Vogue. She started her career at Rolling Stone in 1973. She was born October 2, 1949 in Waterbury, Connecticut.

I have always wondered how it would be to be in a relationship with another creative person. Leibovitz met Susan Sontag in 1989, and although they didn't live under the same roof, they were almost neighbors, until Sontag's death in 2004.

Leibovitz's children are girls, twins 7 and one daughter 11. They accompanied her on much of the shootings for the latest book and show, Pilgrimage.

The reason I brought up her children has to do with the Question and Answer Session at the Lensic. The first question asked by a woman was, "Are you happy?" She paused and thought about this for over a minute, noted that she had never been asked that question, and proceed to answer it. "When I'm with my children."

Return soon to read more about Annie Leibovitz and her impact and thank you for reading Jewish Childhood Blog

Click here: Annie Leibovitz Exhibit Opens At O'Keefe Museum In Santa Fe



A Jewish Childhood - Remembering Childhood Heroes - Tarzan, Ann and Bernard Angel
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 22:06

This morning on Sunday Morning, they remembered Tarzan. I remember going to the York Theater on York Boulevard in Highland Park, watching Tarzan, Buster Crabbe, and Flash Gordon, series and a movie. We had twenty cartoons and one full-length feature. I don't remember the long movies, but I do remember the jujubes, the various colors, red, green, yellow and the wonderful flavors.  My childhood "gummy bears". There were also the Necco wafers in chocolate and the one super special treat which I remember through my teen years at the Highland Theater on Figueroa Street, a stop at See’s Candies and the chocolate suckers which I loved. They would last the whole movie in the balcony with my best friend, Diane Cole. She was the one who taught me to smoke cigarettes, which we bought upstairs in the movie balcony from the cigarette machine.

Sixteen was a year of adventure, Diane and my cousin David, the double dates with Bill, my boyfriend, who, much to my parent's chagrin, was Catholic. In those days one didn't go outside of one's religion when dating and especially when contemplating the idea of something serious.

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 7 of 20