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


An Explosion of Mid-Blog Crisis

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You've heard of a mid-life crisis, in which a person decides -- consciously or subconsiously -- that they need to try something new, that they're tired of something old, that something is missing from their life.

Lately I've seen a trend of what I can only call a mid-blog crisis.

When I have been visiting some of my favorite blogs, I suddenly see posts that are self-questioning. These bloggers are wondering aloud if their blog has met their needs and those of their readers. They wonder if their blog has taken the right direction for them. They wonder if their blog has done what it was meant to and has reached a point of no return. And yes, some bloggers have gone the next step, said goodbye and stayed away.

I, too, have questioned my blog at times and have received many pep talks from readers who encourage me to continue, who tell me they enjoy what they're reading, who tell me they'd miss me.

I think each one of us needs a little ego stroking when we blog, unless we're so confident in ourselves and what we have to say, that we might as well be on our own island. But admit it, isn't it nice when friends compliment you? And isn't it even a touch nicer when strangers come out of the woodwork to do the same, and tell you that what you have to say is worthwhile?

Some bloggers resurrect themselves, whether on their blogs that lay dormant for a while, or whether in a new format. But interestingly enough, their "voices" don't change; their style doesn't change. They are the same entertaining writers whom we missed.

I kept a detailed journal for so many years. The night I got engaged, I happened to be at the end of one of the books -- I wrote about my engagement and had my fiance write a few words in the book, too. Then I signed off with "Chazak, chazak, v'nitzchazek," closed the cover and said goodbye to journal writing. It was as if I no longer had "the need" to do so.

Perhaps blog writers feel that sense of completion too. "I said what I had to say, and that's it...there ain't no more."

Well, you bloggers know who you are. I hope you only take a brief hiatus, not a permanent departure. You'll be missed, and hope you send us postcards at least, which read: "Having a wonderful blog-free time. Wish you were here."

So, to all you bloggers suffering from a mid-blog crisis, I say, at least pop in once in a while and tell us how/what you're doing. You'll notice that no doubt there's lots to say--and POOF!--that will be a new and fun post right there.