Susan's Blog

Thursday, September 21, 2006

It’s Just Another Day

Busy today in a lovely way. The sun is streaming through the windows of home and car, and it’s the kind of weather where you can wear either a pretty fall sweater (mine is palest pink with tiny white buttons) and jeans (Abercrombie hiphuggers) or shorts. Hair falls in perfectly crisp lines down the back and mine — chemically and heat-challenged though it is — even shines.

I met my friend Lori for coffee and we worked on a book review together; she needs help jumpstarting and I am a writing whore: I will write anything for anybody, even for free, I love it so much. After a satisfying writing session, I drove deeper into my Brookline, towards the Jewish neighborhood (A lot of people think Brookline is all Jewish but it is not. There are areas that are decidedly so, with Kosher butchers and Kosher restaurants and Israeli bookstores and people who look like my grandmas did. I love to see them huddling along, curved into themselves, wrinkled, bespectacled, in such strange practical shoes, but usually still well made-up and well dressed. Seeing them makes me miss my grandmas like nothing else. I want to go up to them and offer to be a surrogate granddaughter for the day, just to hear the heavy Eastern European accents and to have them butt in about my life: “How could you wear such shoes? Aren’t you cold? So high; won’t you fall?”). This time of year makes me miss my grandmas, too. It makes me long for my family. I did speak to Laura, though; she sounded good.

Having no family of my own around, (but Mom and Dad are coming on Saturday, yay!) I visited the birthplace of another family I love, the Kennedys. The JFK Birthplace is in the Jewish part of town, ironically. Back then, of course, there were very few Jews in upper crust Brookline. It was mostly a Brahmin place and the Kennedys were thought of as nouveau riche when they moved into the Beals Street home.

I paid $3 and took a sweet little tour of the green shingled house, just a typical Victorian home, nothing special. The wonderful bit came at the end, when they showed a short video, narrated by Senator Ted, about the legacy of Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, his mother. They talked about Rosemary Kennedy, among other things (of course they talked about President Kennedy, and Bobby, and Joe, too), and how Rosemary, who was born either mildly delayed or learning disabled, inspired so many things in the family, such as the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, which gives grants to those studying how to improve the lives of the developmentally disabled, Jean Kennedy Smith’s Very Special Arts, and Best Buddies, Anthony Shriver’s brainchild which pairs up typically developing high schoolers with disabled ones, and of course Eunice’s Special Olympics. By the time they got to the footage from the first Special Olympics meet, I was crying. I was thinking how wonderful that family was in so many ways, to work so hard to bring good things to people who have only known hardship. And my Nat, of course. There was even a boy who looked like him in the video, rocking a little autistically. So many other families have great wealth and opportunity and do nothing of the sort. The Kennedys, no matter how you may feel about them politically, have left an incredibly impressive legacy for the disabled. They will forever be my heroes. (They are also pretty easy on the eyes, btw.)

I was so moved and so glad that my next book project is related to all this. I am now waiting to hear the agent’s reaction to my proposal. I can’t imagine she won’t love it; it’s a really good idea with a great hook. Once I have a contract, I will tell you all about it.

Anyway, I drove to the Kosher butcher a block from the JFK Birthplace, and found a parking space, amazingly enough — and with 21 minutes in the meter! I happily purchased 6 lbs of single brisket, a sweet noodle pudding (fat free, for Dad), some potato latkes, and flirted with the handsome young Israeli cashier. I will get my round challahs somewhere else: Cheryl Ann’s, the best Jewish bakery there is outside of New York. And I better get a lot: challah is one of Dad’s only vices, and Max eats it by the handful (we tear, rather than cut our challah; it’s kind of like how I garden: getting my hands into it. The delightful yielding of the soft, yellow challah flesh is a sensuous experience, not to be missed. Especially if your stupid diet forbids you to eat bread, so you can only feel it or smell it!

Picked up The Beast, hung out at the school playground with friends for a little bit; perfect half hour in the sun. Beastie has his comics-drawing class at 4. Nat is home by then; Max, a little later. Then Neddy Sweets, who sounded down when I talked to him. I’ll have to make something with sausage in it tonight, to cheer him up. Not much else to say, just a happy, regular day.


Have a good weekend, Girlyfriend.

— added by mrs. gilb on Friday, September 22, 2006 at 12:02 pm

Challah is best eaten torn, not sliced.

Unless you’re making French toast with it:
(I haven’t tried that yet, but it sounds wonderful.)

— added by Julia on Sunday, November 5, 2006 at 9:13 pm