Several weeks after my mother’s 25th birthday, and my parent’s marriage she and my father moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia where my father was to serve as rabbi and my mother taught Hebrew school.
My parents were young, and smart and energetic, but they were also both of them in their mid twenties. My parents learned how to be adults from their congregants. There were several people who became real role models for my parents.
I’m writing this because yesterday, Nancy and her family came by for a short visit. When my parents arrived in Halifax, Nancy was five or six. My mother taught Nancy how to read Hebrew. Nancy’s parents both deeply influenced how my parents lived their lived. They were people whose counsel my parents trusted.
As a little girl I used to pore through my parent’s photo albums. The Halifax album was filled with photos from my parents personal life, but also photos from their professional lives. I loved the photos of the Hebrew school holiday programs. I could pick out the photos of Nancy, tiny and blond in the Chanukah show wearing a construction paper candle on her head along with the other children who made up the human menorah.
Nancy attended graduate school in Boston. She used to stay with us for some of the holidays. I was five or six. I thought that fine boned Nancy with her strawberry blond bouffant was just the ultimate in chic. I remember sitting next to her on the couch and playing with her bracelet watch while she talked to my parents about grownup things. .
I adored Nancy the way a little girl adores a grown up beloved by her parents. I realized today that Nancy as a five year old probably related to my mother, as a little girl to an exotic adult beloved by her parents in very much the same way as I think about Nancy
Not quite twenty years ago, my husband‘s brother married someone from Halifax. I took the opportunity to call Nancy and to re-connect with my parents’ friends. That Shabbat morning we went to shul. After services I had the opportunity to talk to many of my parents friends. At one point there was a circle of Haligonians in a circle standing around my family and all grinning at us with giant smiles just filled with love.
There are things that I have accomplished in my life. there are things I have done that I am proud of. Those smiles and that love was coming at my family in a wave not because of anything we had done but simply because we were related to my parents. I felt like a newborn surrounded by adoring relatives.
After that visit Nancy and I have remained in touch. I have been fortunate to get to know her as an adult.
My mother was very excited that Nancy would be visiting me today. She called me early this morning asked me to tell her all about our conversation yesterday. I realized that while in many ways Nancy and I talked about very little, we were able to sit next to one another and bask and glow in some very old and deep affection between our families.
And now two notes. First of all,זכות אבות,z’chut Avot the title of this blog entry is translated by Google translate as birthright, that isn’t the meaning of the phrase that I’m going for. The meaning that I am going for is the good we get in our lives because of the merit and good deeds of our fathers.
The second is about the images I’m using in this post.
This is the current view from my shower. The scaffolding on the buildings is just s beautiful. I love the pattern and color of the metal work. I love how the silver support posts catch the light.