Thursday, June 22, 2006

Letters from the Heart

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G-d willing, this Shabbat, June 24, my parents will be sharing a special day: their 50th wedding anniversary.

In 1956, on a visit to Toronto from Switzerland my mother met a wonderful man. A survivor -- in every sense of the word. Six weeks later she was married to this wonderful man, and thus started a wonderful life...with three wonderful kids...and a wonderful and warm environment in which to raise them.

True teammates, true helpmates. We should all be so fortunate in life to share such a special relationship.

Along the way, however, as in many marriages, there were speed bumps; not everything was paved with gold, even if it was perceived to be. Health issues, several serious health issues made for those speed bumps, so for that reason, thank G-d, my parents have reached this memorable time in their lives.

Fifty years is a long time to be with the same person. Imagine half a century together. Some couples can't even stand to be together in the same room for 15 minutes; they tolerate one another, but silently despise each other. And yet they stay together in this unhealthy environment for whatever reasons.

My oldest brother arranged a dinner for the closest family and friends at a restaurant on Sunday evening. No doubt, it will bring back some memories for my parents who I believe married in a shul and then had the seudah in a Kosher restaurant all those years ago. Thank G-d some of the same guests from 1956 will be in attendance this Sunday 2006; unfortunately, many others have left our lives and only photographs and memories remain...

I'm generally known in the family circles for my birthday/special occasion limerick type poems, and I toyed for a while with the idea of writing something more sentimental or designing something even catchier. When my oldest brother married, I wrote cover copy for a book jacket -- about my brother and his wife-to-be -- and one of the designers at work put the package together. It was unique and very personal, and it would have been nice to do something equally creative for my parents.

But of course, I resorted to my poetry, familiar and true. And here is the result:

Letters from the Heart: A Special Poem for Two Special People

A is for Adler, the eagle soaring above

B is for Basel, left behind in search of love

C is for care, what you both do for each other

D is for devotion, which you’ve shown as father and mother

E is for each, ‘cause each day you show us your heart

F is for finish, you try to finish what you start

G is for Germany, where Dad lived a few years

H is for home, created with both smiles and tears

I is another word for ego, which neither one of you displays

J is for Jerry Joseph, your second child along the way

K is for kindness, which you represent with love and pride

L is for Lilli, who came along to become your bride

M is for Michael, the number one son, your bechor

N is for nice, for which you both get complimented galore

O is for ours, ‘cause you taught us each to share

P is for Poland, we’re so glad Jack got out of there

Q is for questions, of which you’ve each answered many

R is for relatives, even though few, we’re glad to have any

S is for simple, the kind of life you’ve made your own

T is for thankful, for surviving the medical emergencies we’ve known

U is for unity, something that has helped keep you bound

V is for valuable, as in the marriage that you found

W is for wishes, hopefully at least some of yours have come true

X is for Xtra, wishes to be granted for you

Y is for yesterday, specifically 50 years ago

Z is for zee end, no more letters you know.

Having used all twenty-six letters
Of the English alphabet
I hope this little verse of mine
Has certainly met
Any and all of your expectations
That I might write a ditty
For such a special occasion
It is important to be witty.

And as we’re gathered here today
To wish Jack and Lilli all the best
We’re also wishing them gesundt and glick
For living out the rest
Of the years they have together
Let’s round it up some more
‘Bis a hundred und tzvanzik
May your brachos be ever more



Mia said...

A big Mazel Tov to your Parents. Your "letters from the heart" are beautiful! Have a fantastic celebration evening.

A Simple Jew said...

Very nice!!

Elie said...

very nice. Mazel tov to your parents!

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Mazel tov! I like that pic, and title.

cruisin-mom said...

Pearl, how wonderful...your poem is beautiful...bring kleenex and enjoy the evening. Congratulations to your mom and dad.

Regina said...

Yes, Mazel Tov as well to your parents! My mom and dad have been married almost 60 years! It's hard to imagine I will ever get there, but I am sure they probably thought the same as well. And yes, I loved your poem, too!

Stacey said...

Mazal tov to your parents on this wonderful milestone!!

torontopearl said...

Thank you for all your comments and good wishes.

I did write a lengthy, detailed post about the evening, but when I was about to hit PUBLISH, the computer was frozen and I lost my post. I just couldn't recapture that hour of writing as I wanted to, and didn't re-post.

But yes, it was a tremendous evening, with close relatives and friends playing tribute to my parents in their speeches, in their making efforts to travel from the U.S. to join our celebration, and in making donations to wonderful and needy Jewish and medical causes in the U.S., in Israel and in Canada.
Overall, an emotional and overwhelming evening, but thank G-d for this blessing of being able to gather for a long-anticipated milestone and a celebration to mark the date...