Did you know?
Well, finally it happened. I was tagged. You know. The five things you may not know about me, meme.
Jean at This Too made the suggestion and I laughed out loud. "What on earth have I left out about me that you do not already know?" I thought to myself. But when my friend Jean calls, I answer. And so, here goes:
When I was a child I sucked my thumb, and I mean, really sucked my thumb. For years and years. I would drag around an old jersey (I think it was yellow) and hold it to my nose as I sucked. When it fell to rags I adopted another. I think when I was ten (I cannot remember the exact age or date) my mother told me that it was enough. She said I was big and it just was time to let it go. And so. I stopped. But, secretly, for years and years and years after that, just before I fell asleep, I would suck my thumb anyway – without the jersey.
One of my favorite teaching tools was a puppet named "Kfir Ha’Barvaz." When I emigrated to America I had to change his Hebrew name to David-the-Duck. He would lie asleep in a basket somewhere in the classroom, and when the need arose I would take him out and wake him up. The children would be invited to call him. "David," They would sing again and again, louder and louder until he would stir, yawn widely and then exclaim joyfully to see them all again. He taught the children about friendship, love, excitement at parties, or current events. In turn, the children could tell him anything they wanted: joys or concerns, or dramatic, fantastical tales. And before they would leave him to go wash their hands for snack-time, breakfast or lunch, they would be allowed to hug or kiss him – ever so gently. When my son was ten years old he bought me that puppet because he knew how I loved to play with dolls. I still have David-the-Duck. Only, now he sits on a shelf in my office at work and visits teachers instead of children. Not nearly as much fun!
When I was sixteen I came first in our town talent contest for singing The Dove, a cappella. The prize was some money, but the best part was having to appear on our local television station. Out of the shadows and into the light. I guess I have always loved performing.
I learned about performing very early in life. For from when I was eighteen months old, I learned ballet dancing with Elaine Archibald. Every day until I was ten or so I would attend ballet classes and appeared in concerts. I dreamed of becoming famous and dancing one day in Covent Garden. My mother would tell me about how I would become famous and she would sit in the special audience box and watch me dance. When I was ten, ballet dancing was taken away. Along with my "sucking jersey." Something about my being anaemic or not having time to play. As I write this I have just realized why I was so emphatic with one of my students recently. She had described in class that until she had been involved in a car accident she had studied ballet and jazz dance. Now she was going into the teaching profession. I asked her if she was well enough to dance and she nodded her head vigorously, but said that she did not have the confidence any longer. I became quite excited and exclaimed vehemently that she must return to dancing and follow her heart. I went so far as to say that I hoped I could talk her out of teaching during the semester and get her back into dancing. Hm … I wonder … was I really talking about myself?
When I was nineteen I fell madly in love with a French-Canadian-Roman-Catholic Priest. He was twenty seven. We were both studying Hebrew in an Ulpan near Netanya. Louis was studying Hebrew so that he could translate sections of the bible from Aramaic into Hebrew. I was learning the language because I had emigrated to Israel. It was a stormy love, full of passion and beauty. I wrote songs and poetry because of it. Louis was on his way to Rome. On the last day of Succoth, he traveled there, and for three weeks wrote me love letters that described his inner conflict and pain: whether to marry me, or continue his calling as a Priest. At the end of the three weeks he wrote the letter telling me of his final decision, one that would break my heart, dash my hopes, leave me gasping for breath and yearning for a love like that for years and years to come. Here are some of the poems I wrote after he had left: Download poems_of_1968.doc Two of them I turned into songs.
[Click on pictures to enlarge]