A gentle spirit came to earth in 1947. Born on the sweltering, hot summer day of the 20th of July, my fragile limbs and organs strained to survive in a new environment of mechanical machinery. I was barely three pounds in weight but had a will equal to 300 pounds of strength. I overcame the mechanical machines that were part of my life for several months. As I grew older, I soon realized that all of my life would be filled with challenges to conquer. Told I was rambunctious, I managed to overcome those labels with a smile. I learned to dance to amuse myself and make everyone around me happy. If there was laughter, I felt safe.
It wasn’t until I started school that I realized how difficult it was to carry a name that was meant to be given to a boy. Yes, my fathers name was Isidore. I was the boy who turned out to be a girl.
Kids were cruel when I started school. They made fun of my name and me. I was the only brown child in the entire parochial school along with one black boy child. We looked out of place among them. They made sure we knew we were different. They taunted the pronunciation of my name by coming close to me with fists and asking if they could knock on my door; which was my head. They asked if I would be able to feel their fists if they knocked because of all that puffy hair. When your 6 or 7 you can’t understand why you look different. You aren’t aware of ethnicity.
My family didn’t use my name either. They called me Doris or Dori. I never asked why. I always assumed it was because my Dad had the same name. But, they used to call him Isidoro or Izzy. When I met my hubby in high school, he called me Sandy. I never asked why. I thought it was a special girlfriend name. Everyone had sweaters with their names on them during my high school days. So, I didn’t mind having Sandy printed on it instead of my name. I thought it was a cool name.
Fast forward to today ….
I can honestly say that I had to grow into my name. It took years. I was much more comfortable with it during my artistic career which began when I was 36 years old. It served me well because it is unique. I’m really proud of my name now. I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. It has helped me to be successful in my business. I sold handcrafted jewelry for 28 years under that name. It was my name and my brightly red dyed hair that helped people remember me. It was as unique as my handcrafted silversmithing.
During the years, I’ve worn many, many hats. I’ve been an interior decorator, a buyer for a well-known clothing manufacturer, a gal Friday for a major insurance company, a dancer and the president/owner of an artfully designed jewelry business and copper sculpture business. I am a wife, mother and grandmother of 8. Now, I am a novice photographer and writer.
I never thought I’d touch people in so many ways with my words and images. I’m happy I’ve been able to do that. I’m even happier that I’m accomplishing the goal I had set for myself which is touching the hearts of all people in this world we call cyber.
When I was growing up in Brooklyn many soda fountain shops made a delicious tasting chocolate soda called egg cream soda. As a child, I didn’t like or eat eggs. When I first heard the name of this fountain drink my nose wrinkled into a smelly twist.
It was my friend, Rivka, who talked about going to the soda fountain shop to get an egg cream soda all the time. I remember how she described the chocolaty taste of it each time she had one but she couldn’t tell me how it was made. Because she had an allowance every week, it was her favorite soda to buy. I told her that the next time I made money from doing errands I was going to get one too.
One night, I laid out all of my coins on my bed and counted out 15 cents. I knew I had enough money to finally get that egg cream soda. When I saw Rivka the following morning, I told her I had enough money to go to the fountain shop to get one that afternoon. We did.
Mr. Stein was the soda shop owner. He had a long scruffy curly beard. He wore a fisherman’s cap on his head, a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows and suspenders. He was always at the door. He made sure that kids had money before they walked into his shop. Up until that day, I had only purchased candy sticks or gum. Today was different. I was going to try an egg cream soda.
What is an egg cream soda?
It’s milk, seltzer, and chocolate syrup. It contains no eggs or cream. Much later, some ice cream shops started adding vanilla syrup. The authentic version doesn’t contain vanilla and U-Bet chocolate syrup is what should be used. Egg Cream soda is traditionally associated with Brooklyn.
The egg cream is almost exclusively a soda fountain drink. Although there have been several attempts to bottle it, none have been wholly successful, as its fresh taste and characteristic frothy head requires mixing of the ingredients just before drinking.
According to wikipedia, the origin of the name “egg cream” is a subject of debate. One theory is that grade “A” milk was used in its creation, leading to the name “a chocolate A cream”, thus sounding like ‘egg’ cream. Stanley Auster, the grandson of the beverage’s alleged inventor, has been quoted as saying that the origins of the name are lost in time. One commonly accepted origin is that “Egg” is a corruption of the German (also found in Yiddish) word echt (“genuine” or “real”) and this was a “good cream”. It may also have been called an “Egg Cream” because in the late 19th century, there were already many chocolate fountain/dessert drinks using actual eggs (e.g. ‘Egg Brin’) and Auster wanted to capitalize on the name.
How to Make an Egg Cream ….
Memoir Madness – Krista challenges us to write about a memory – click Memoir Madness to join in –
Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.
Every Tuesday, Frizz, offers the ‘A to Z’ challenge. He’s walking us step by step through the alphabet. This week is the Letter E – click on Frizz Alphabet Challenge
A hobby is an activity or an interest that creates relaxation or pleasure. It’s important to have a distraction from our regular responsibilities. It helps us unwind. We get to focus on something enjoyable or amusing in our leisure time.
There are people who collect stamps or coins; others might like woodcarving. Women enjoy fabric crafts such as quilting or yarn crafts like knitting and crocheting. Hobbies come about in various ways. Clarinet playing is a hobby my husband continues to take pleasure in and has enjoyed for many years. He finds the fingering helps with his dexterity. He feels it mentally challenging and calming. This is the story of how he was introduced to this instrument.
When he was a young boy, growing up in an impoverished Brooklyn ghetto, he was fortunate to have a neighbor who was a retired professional clarinet player. Mr. Rosenbaum, in his youth, had played with the philharmonic orchestra in New York City. It was ironic that he should find himself in an all Latin very poor neighborhood.
All of the tenement buildings in the neighborhood were 6 stories high with 4 apartments on each floor. If you weren’t familiar with the area you would assume it was some type of confinement camp. The buildings were a dreary chalk grey.
It was a struggle for Mr. Rosenbaum to climb up and down the concrete stairs to do his errands. Like many elderly people, he did without many things because of it. He was in his late 70’s. He was in need of help.
One day, he saw this 7 year old boy playing a game of skully on the sidewalk.
Skully (also called skelly, skelsy, skellzies, scully, tops or caps) is a children’s game played on the streets of New York City and other urban areas. Sketched on the street usually in chalk, a skully board allows a game for two to six players. A sidewalk is sometimes used, offering greater protection from vehicular traffic; however, the asphalt on a typical city street is smoother and provides better game play than a bumpy cement sidewalk. Information from Wikipedia
Mr. Rosenbaum approached the boy and asked if he’d like to learn to play the clarinet.
(Obviously, this was before – Stranger Danger – or – Never Talk to Strangers)
“What’s a clarinet?” the boy asked.
The thought that he could share his love for this instrument with a boy who had so little provoked a spark in Mr. Rosenbaum. A smile came across his face as he sat down on a concrete step to explain to him what it was. He shared his love for this instrument. He explained that with it he could be happy even if no one was around to hear him play.
This boy who always needed to be occupied and loved challenges agreed to run errands for Mr. Rosenbaum in exchange for clarinet lessons. The boy’s mother was surprised that this professional musician would share his talent with her son. They weren’t able to afford an instrument. His lessons were his only means of practicing. He joined band several years later in grade school. Finally, he was able to have a clarinet to enjoy at home. He picked up an interest in other instruments along the way and became proficient in trumpet, cornet and saxophone.
Mr. Rosenbaum had exposed him to classical music. The impact of their brief encounter influenced his love for all types of music but in time his love of jazz rose to the top as his favorite.
The boy who was now turning into a young man continued to run errands for Mr. Rosenbaum until he was taken away to a nursing home. He never saw him again.
A man in need shared his gift of music and showed an underprivileged boy that in helping others you can change a life. *****