Speaking Their Names

My parents named me Dana after two relatives they never knew – my father’s grandmother Dena who perished in czarist Russia,  and my mother’s uncle David who drowned as  a teenager in the Rockaways. I like my name and never minded that it’s a bit uncommon,  but it’s always disconcerting when  people spell it wrong or mispronounce it. And because Dana can be a masculine name as well,  I certainly wasn’t happy when as a high school senior I got mail from armed forces...

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Turkey Leg – for Ethel

Since my friend Ethel died at the age of 85 early this year,  I’ve been thinking about what made her such a special soul. Ethel and I met in the 1980s at Jane Addams,  the south Bronx vocational high school where she taught cosmetology and I ran the school library.  Like so many of us at Addams,  Ethel and I loved the school,  were dedicated to our students,  and forged a life-long friendship.  (See Mr. October,  Mar 14, 2014,   Magazines for the Principal ,  Oct 3, 2015,  and...

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Still Life

 My aunt Babs was the last of her generation in our family when she died in Florida last year at 92. Babs and my mother’s kid brother Paul met in the Rockaways and were  childhood sweethearts who went on to have a long and a very happy marriage. (See Aunt Babs and Uncle Paul, May 3, 2015) My mother was an artist and when Babs and Paul got married she painted a Rockaway beach scene for them.  On the back of the canvas she wrote, “Where it all began!” My cousins Deb...

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Sold Out!

If you know me, you know I love theatre. (See The Return of Chick Theatre, May 13, 2014) But although I’m pretty savvy about ordering tickets,  sometimes even I screw up.  (See Lyrics and Lyricists,  Feb 12, 2018) It happened again a few months ago.  My friend Babs and I share a subscription to 59E59,  a wonderful off-Broadway theatre company on East 59th Street whose mission is to bring new and innovative works to a New York audience.  We usually love what we see there and were...

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A Sign on the Doorpost

Our post-war Manhattan apartment building is undergoing a major renovation  –  new elevators,  new lobby furniture,  new carpeting, crown molding, wallpaper and lighting on all floors,  and new saddles, bells and knobs for all our apartment doors. The construction company hired for the job sent a friendly crew of guys who enjoy the cookies I offer them.   Yesterday as I was leaving my apartment I overheard a sweet conversation between two of the men who were working down the...

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