Joan

May 21, 2017 at 7:15 pm (Family, Remembrance)

My beloved sister-in-law Joan has said farewell to life in this world. She leaves behind a large circle of family and friends, all of whom cherished her wit, cheerfulness, loyalty, and unstinting generosity. These qualities, which she possessed in abundance, will remain with us.

Several years ago, Joan and I were talking about poetry and the possibility of an afterlife. Wordsworth’s “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” came into the conversation – specifically this passage:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
******************************
Joan said that is how she thought of life and the existence that follows: God sends out all these souls from a secret stash of sorts; then after their appointed time on Earth, He calls them home.
His stash of souls has just been greatly enriched: Joan’s own soul now dwells among them.

Joan, at her wedding in 1964. Radiant then; radiant now

 

 

Permalink 6 Comments

Things of Beauty, for Joan

May 14, 2017 at 8:26 pm (Art, Family, Music)

For my entire adult life, Joan has been more sister than sister-in-law: an exemplar of quiet strength, generosity, and compassion, sustained at all times by her unwavering Jewish faith.

Like me, Joan has always loved the Impressionists. For Hanukah last December, I sent her Norbert Wolf’s magnificent new volume:

She was thrilled to receive it, filled  as it is with images we both love. (I also own this book.) Here are some of those images, with accompanying music by the great Impressionist composer, Claude Debussy:

View from Artist’s Window at Eragny, by Camille Pissarro

Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, by John Singer Sargent

For the Little One, by William Merritt Chase

Ballet Class, by Edgar Degas

Woman with Parasol (Madame Monet and Her Son), by Claude Monet

In a Park, by Berthe Morisot

La Loge, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Femmes au Jardin, par Claude Monet

Mother and Child Against a Green Background, by Mary Cassatt

The Pergola, by Sylvestro Lega

Irises in Monet’s Garden, by Claude Monet

Poppy Field in Argenteuil, by Claude Monet

Permalink Leave a Comment

Etta and Grandma ‘Berta visit the Art Institute of Chicago

April 28, 2017 at 4:06 pm (Art, Family)

My granddaughter Etta loves to make art:

So I thought she might enjoy a visit to one of our country’s premier Art Museums:

Art Institute of Chicago, founded in 1879: Michigan Avenue Entrance

This visit being for Etta, I let her set the agenda. First, we worked on a craft together at the Ryan Education Center. Then we proceeded to wander the galleries. First stop: Asian art, where we encountered many strange and beautiful objects.

Suspension Bell (Bo), Eastern Zhou dynasty (770–256 B.C.), first half of 5th century BC China

 

Bodhisattva, Tang dynasty, China (AD 618–907), 725-50

 

Seated Bodhisattva, c 775 AD Japan

 

Bird Shaped Ewer with Crowned Rider Holding a Bowl, Goryeo dynasty (918–1392), 12th century Korea

(What is it about that celadon green….I can envision an entire room filled with that dreamy color.)

Then, on to European painting and sculpture.  As we came through the doors to these galleries, Etta was quite literally stopped in her tracks. “It’s the Little Dancer!” she exclaimed. Her eyes grew round and saucer-wide. “There’s a story about this,” she continued excitedly, “and it’s true! I have a book about it.”

Little Dancer, Age Fourteen, ca 1881, Edgar Degas

 

Little Dancer and her Little Admirer!

Other attractions in this room:

Renoir’s Two Sisters (On the Terrace), 1881:

Gustave Caillbotte’s Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877.

(O painting, so beloved of tote bag makers, there you actually are! You can get this one from CafePress, last I checked.)

And of course, the unutterably wonderful “Sunday Afternoon on la Grande Jatte” (Le Dimanche Après-midi à L’ÎIe de La Grande Jatte”), 1884, by Georges Seurat:

By happenstance, we stumbled into a room full of gorgeous paperweights. This was the Arthur Rubloff Collection:

From time to time we found ourselves wandering through the museum’s modern wing, a structure designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano and opened in 2009. It is wonderfully light and spacious.

Then it was time for the Thorne Miniature Rooms. Etta was enchanted by these, and so was I.

(This  was Etta’s day to be pretty in pink. She received several compliments on her outfit from museum staff!)

Of course, no trip to an art museum is complete without a visit to  the shop. Etta selected several small decorated boxes. I threw in a book of postcards depicting the Thorne Miniatures. Etta also picked out a gift for her little brother Welles, another budding artist, as can be seen here: 

The Art Institute of Chicago is the second largest art museum in the U.S. (New York City’s fabled “Met” is the largest.) What a gorgeous place it is, filled with countless treasures beautifully and accessibly displayed. And to be in such a place with my lovely Etta – well, it was a very special day!

 

Permalink 3 Comments

Post election thoughts

November 9, 2016 at 10:34 am (Family, United States of America)

What I was hearing from many people was that their only wish was for this election to be over.

It is now over.

Of course, each individual must plot his or her own course of action. I can only speak for myself. I am not moving any time soon. I have no plans to travel, except to visit beloved family and friends who live at a distance in this vast and beautiful land.

I will always be thankful to live in a country that provided a refuge for my grandparents as they fled persecution and had nowhere else to turn. Once here, they were able to work, meet, fall in love, and begin life anew.

I owe my existence to their courage and determination.

postcard-2-front-rear-xl

 

grandparents-xll

Permalink 2 Comments

Of love and baseball

October 27, 2016 at 3:36 pm (Art, baseball, Family)

So for once, I turned up in the right place at the right time…

Naturally the primary reason for my weekend visit to Chicago was to spend time with these most excellent people:

img_20161023_143546‘Mr. Bones’ joined the family for  this portrait; the children are very excited about the approaching Halloween festivities.

img_20161023_143016The presence of my daughter-in-law’s parents was a most welcome bonus.

ettagypsy3

ettagypsy2

We got to preview Etta’s Halloween costume. She’s going to be a fortune teller.

Back Camera

This is a far cry from her first Halloween. At the age of about three weeks, she was a ladybug! As for Welles, he wants only to be Spiderman, his current favorite action hero.

wellesasspidey

Amidst all the family activities, a great drama was unfolding in the world of baseball: the Cubs were on the verge of winning their first National League Pennant since 1945. I’m not much of a sports fan, but I have a residual affection for the game of baseball. Growing up in northern New Jersey in the 1950s, with the New York Yankees, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and he New York Giants nearby, it would have been hard to stay aloof from the National Pastime. My brothers and I didn’t even try. At one point, my older brother actually wrote a letter to the Yankees – the team we rooted for – to tell them of a magical occurrence: every  time he wore his Yankee baseball cap, the Yanks won!

My Dad loved baseball too. And Dad, you would have appreciated that game last Saturday. The Cubs hit the ground running, scoring immediately in the first inning. The high octane drama continued, with pitcher Kyle Hendricks keeping the Dodgers scoreless and very nearly hitless (he allowed two). I loved watching him. His  form was a thing of  beauty; his face an absolute mask of concentration. The game ended with an electrifying double play, clinching a 5-0 win over the LA Dodgers. Then, all you-know-what broke loose:

At 9:45, cheers erupted, not only from our gang but outside  too, up and down the street. Car horns honking, fireworks, police sirens (but things did not get out of hand). Chicago is a city that’s taken its lumps in the press lately, so this healthy dose of good news was especially appreciated.

Sunday morning we were greeted by this Chicago Tribune front page story:

cubswin

Now, two games into the 2016 World Series, the Cubs and the Cleveland Indians each have one win under their respective belts. Of course, I’ll continue  to root for the Cubs, but no matter which team wins the championship, there’s no taking away the gift that the Cubs bestowed on the people of Chicago last Saturday.

And as the weekend drew to a close, our dear Etta, who loves to paint and draw, made this gift for Ron and me:

img_20161025_145832

 

Permalink 1 Comment

The Book of Etta

October 1, 2016 at 2:59 pm (Family)

In honor of her approaching birthday, we present Etta, her parents, her brother, and any other interested parties, with The Book of Etta!

From an  early age, Etta has loved  to travel with the family. She enjoys their frequent visit to the beautiful mountains of Jackson, Wyoming. Here she is with her Dad. jacksonbeauty  At an early age she became an avid beachcomber. Here she is, fashionably attired as always,  enjoying the sun and sand. dadbeach (Once again, Dad’s along for the ride!)

Etta takes just as much pleasure in local outings with family and friends. Here we all are last year at a picnic to celebrate the end of the school year. It was a typical Spring day in beautiful Chicago: mid fifties, spitting rain, high winds… But we had fun anyway! (The company was excellent.)

""

“”

dancing  Etta’s always ready to cut a rug while playing at home. Little brother Welles – himself a recent birthday celebrant –  often joins in the fun.

13239427_10154600152858912_9032734599531339471_n-copy In addition, Etta has performed at dance recitals and been fêted by her proud family and friends!


Etta likes a variety of sports. Here she instructs her Mom in the fine art of wielding a lacrosse stick while playing defense: img_1996-x2 Etta is bold in the pursuit of athletic achievement: 14115562_10154043844712408_2684280195702690897_o And then, of course, there was the famous ski adventure. (She was only four years old!)

But let us not forget her artistic side. One day when we were at home doing various tasks, she found the time to create this flower out of found materials: img_20160605_160440

Finally, I just have to compliment Etta on her wardrobe choices. As a grandmother, I can tell you: You could go crazy buying clothes for the little ones! img_1608-x2  ettaturquoise Sometimes she just likes to dress up for fun:img_1833-x2

Whether it’s the first day of the new school year or on the trail in Jackson, Etta always has time for her little brother.

14192702_10154862265793912_8539480154532584485_n

ettaandwelles5

I could go on – what grandparent couldn’t – but I’m sure you get the idea. As you turn six, Dearest Etta, may you discover more and more people and things in the world to bring you joy!

The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Happy Birthday!!

With love from Grandpa Ron and Grandma ‘Berta

 

Permalink 1 Comment

Welles is Three Years Old!

September 13, 2016 at 12:00 pm (Family)

wellesandmom

Welles with his beautiful Mom

 

13612325_10153921185257408_7124749743679229674_n

14068327_10154862265703912_4150833197613101499_n

With big sister Etta

Words seems inadequate, so I will just say, from Ron and me, from the  bottom of our hearts: Happy Birthday, Beloved Little Boy!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Hail and farewell to our Miss Marple

June 20, 2016 at 8:36 pm (Cats, Family)

What a giver of joy she has been! We said goodbye to her today with sadness in our hearts, but also with gratitude for the good times we shared.

This house was a happier place when she was in it.

IMG_20160523_210410

Miss Audrey Jane Marple 2004 – 2016

Permalink 4 Comments

On Christmas: a feast for the ears and eyes – and heart

December 25, 2015 at 4:29 pm (Art, Christmas, Family, Music)

First, the music:

****************************************

***********************************

***********************************

**********************************

Then, the gift of great art:

Relfections on the Thames John Atkinson Grimshaw

Reflections on the Thames, by John Atkinson Grimshaw

*******************************************

Coming home from evening service Samuel Palmer

Coming from Church, by Samuel Palmer

********************************************

Holy Family with Lamb, by Raphael

Holy Family with Lamb, by Raphael

**************************************

Supper at Emmaus. by Caravaggio

Supper at Emmaus. by Caravaggio

**************************************

Images of love, with the profoundest gratitude:

IMG_1625-X2

**************************************

IMG_1534-X2****************************************

Etta155******************************************

IMG_1634-X2**************************************

And finally, the closing scene of A Christmas Carol, with Alistair Sim ‘s somewhat over-the-top portrayal of Scrooge, but in a great cause, in a film that channels Victorian London in a way  that’s almost uncanny. The message could not be more profound: Redemption is always possible, but it’s best not to wait too long. Scrooge almost did. He was lucky.

I’m deeply fortunate to be blessed with so many loving friends and such a marvelous  family. I wish all of you the Merriest Christmas possible!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Two happenings that make me (cautiously) hopeful

October 12, 2015 at 12:57 pm (Family, Judaism, Music)

Lately, there’s been so much in the news that’s appalling and heartbreaking; I wanted to offer two items as harbingers, however small, of hope.

First: the Rajko Orchestra performing Bela Bartok’s Romanian Dances. The YouTube post describes the venue as a synagogue in Budapest; the year is given as 2004.

*******************************

Second: a while back, in Chicago, my son Ben and I were watching my granddaughter Etta at soccer practice:

I thin that's Etta with the braids. You'll understand that the scene was quite kinetic, so I can't be sure.

I think that’s Etta, foreground left, with the braids. You’ll understand that the scene was quite kinetic, so I can’t be sure.

Meanwhile, Ben had struck up a conversation with another Dad. When he realized he hadn’t introduced himself, he did so, with an extended hand:

Hi, I’m Ben.

The other extended his hand also, smiled, and responded:

Hi, I’m Mohamed.

I remember thinking immediately, This is one of the (many) reasons that I, granddaughter of immigrants. love this country.

Permalink 2 Comments

Next page »