Friday, December 21, 2012

Our 50th Annivrsary

     It hardly seems like 50 years and when I wonder where did the time go, I look at our children and grandchildren.  They mark the passage of time as surely as the rings on a tree trunk define its age.    

     A mutual friend introduced us and warned me that Edgar is a really nice guy but he is very shy and quiet.  My mother scoffed at that description.  She knew that a successful salesman could not be shy and quiet.  She was right.

     It's difficult, if not impossible, to rank our experiences over 50 years, and to include all the memorable ones.  We are proud parents of three successful, talented, and accomplished children and seven grandchildren who are finding themselves and searching for their identities while trying to carve out their position in life.

     We have met and so far conquered our medical misfortunes and each bout made us stronger, both as individuals, a couple, and a family.

     Once Edgar retired, we traveled and traveled and traveled - from Key West through the rest of Florida, to Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland to New York and through most of New England.  From Puerto Rico to Montana and Yellowstone National Park, to Washington state, Oregon, and California, and to Alaska and Hawaii.

     Our second careers as photo journalists gained us interviews with usually silent people like Col. Norman Vaughn, to people who are in history books like Wally Hickel and Alexander Haig (both in Nixon's cabinet), members of the WWII 442nd/100, Tuskegee Airmen, and the Original Flying Tigers.

     We appeared on radio and TV from CNN in Hawaii to Philadelphia-area local TV and radio.  We sat down with governors and mayors, newspaper editors, TV and movie stars, hall of fame sports figures.  We even attended rehearsals of the Pro Bowl cheerleaders and local cheerleaders too.

     We produced music festivals in Montana and Washington state, attended concerts, music festivals, rock and roll gigs, ballets, operas.  The city didn't matter, only the music.  And dramas, comedies, and musicals in theaters.  Among the plays we saw "Love Letters" three different times over the years, in three different venues.

     We won prizes for journalism and photography, appeared on Baywatch Hawaii and were guest lecturers in high school journalism classes.  I wrote and published four crime novels that take place in Hawaii.  Robert Wagner said that they would have been perfect for "Hart to Hart" if it hadn't been canceled.

     We survived today's "end of the world prophecy" and can't wait to see what our next adventures will be.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chanukah Gelt - American Style

     Tomorrow night, Saturday December 8, is the first night of the 8 day holiday of Chanukah.  Among the many traditions is distributing money, called Chanukah gelt, to children.  I've tried to find the origin of this custom, but to no avail.  Anyway, when the candy makers caught wind of this money-gifting, they made chocolate discs, shaped like coins, wrapped them ib gold or silver foil, and came up with their own version of Chanukah gelt.  It's fun, harmless, and delicious.

     Now, let's go back in time, to when our children started kindergarten.  The creative teachers tried to engage their young students with holiday stories.  And as the year progressed, they went from Halloween, through Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, May Day, and Mothers Day.  For each holiday, the kindergarten teachers tried to dress the part and decorate the room appropriately.

     One year, at St. Patrick's Day, the teacher dressed all in green and explained the legend.  Our child was so excited when he came home - "Mom, do you know what the leprechaun gives the good girls and boys on St. Patrick's Day?" and, without waiting for an answer, he opened his hand to show the gold foil wrapped chocolate candy and said "Chanukah Gelt."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lower Merion's Winter Concert 1

     We enjoyed a wonderful evening on Tuesday night, December 4th at Lower Merion High School.  The music department presented the first of two winter concerts.  This included the freshman chorus, the choir, the jazz band, and the community sing along of the Hallelujah Chorus.  I participated in the sing along even though when I was at Lower Merion, I played the cello for this event.

     We remember the seemingly interminable concerts when our children participated but this evening was enjoyable and not too long.  Perhaps that was because our grandson performed in his first of these concerts. The chorus and choir sang in tune, in harmony, and in rhythm even when there was no accompaniment.  I have sensitive backs of legs that hurt when notes are out of tune - there was not one pain, not even a twinge of pain.  And the jazz band generated such enthusiasm that we felt like getting up and dancing.  Felt like it.  Didn't do it.

     In the audience was our favorite teacher of all time - Dr. Herman Giersch.  He applauded with gusto, stood up first for the standing ovation, and was enthusiastic when it came to singing the Hallelujah Chorus.  He insisted on climbing up the risers to stand with the basses.  He was my teacher, and my childrens' teacher.  He looked just about the same as he did when he was my teacher in 4th grade at Bala School in 1948.  His handshake is as firm and strong as ever.  And his memories of his students appears to be as fresh as when he first taught them.  My children were lucky.  They too had Herman Giersch as a teacher.  He is truly a Lower Merion treasure.