by Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
HALLOWEEN IS FOR MAKING MEMORIES
“VOS TUSTU?” (WHAT ARE YOU DOING?)
Halloween 2012 is a “spetsyel” (special) day. My 2-year-old “eynikl” (grandchild), Preston, will be going trick or treating in Syosset, New York and will be dressed as Elmo. His father and I will accompany him.
Preston is familiar with Sesame Street, but NOT with Market Drive. He’s never heard of the 1978 movie, “Halloween.” Fortunately, he’s too “yung” (young) to recognize a “masked psycho killer” who preys on “rowdy teens.” He doesn’t know Donald Pleasence or Jamie Lee Curtis! He’s never heard comedian, Neil Constantine, say, “People are trying to help Bert and Ernie get married on Sesame Street. But no one is helping Oscar stop living in a dumpster.”
Although Halloween is on a Wednesday, it is “vikhtik” (important) for parents and grandparents to understand the phrase “940 Saturdays.” Yes, the number of Saturdays between the day your child is born and the time he or she turns “akhtsn”” (18) is 940. The phrase might serve as a reminder to cherish the time you have with your child/grandchild and to use it wisely.
Before the trick or treating begins, perhaps I’ll make a “Eerie Milk Carton haunted house,” a ghastly recycled-can mummy, or a spooky paper spider Pinata.
I’ll accompany Preston because I agree with comedian, Bill Cosby, who said, “...We all start out as children (“kinder”) and one thing psychologists agree on is that those early childhood (“kindhayt”) years are the formative years in a person’s life…If ever there was a time to capture (khapn”) a snapshot of who you are, childhood is that time.
Having recently read the wonderful book, “What Your Childhood Memories Say About You…And What You Can Do About It” by Dr. Kevin Lemon, I am in full agreement with his statement, “All the money in the world (“di velt”) can’t buy what you can learn from your early childhood memories, just like spending years trying to figure yourself out can never uncover what you can learn by exploring those memories.”
Joyce Wadler (The New York Times, Oct. 7, 2012) wrote, “My grandmother, Gussie, who converrsed primarily in Yiddish and was so hazy about American customs that she understood Halloween to be a holiday during which you give the children money…”
I also read that director, Steven Spielberg, has a crib memory of entering a Cincinnati synagogue for services with Hasidic elders. He said, “I wasn’t a religious kid, although I was [later] Bar Mitzvahed in a real Orthodox synagogue. The old men were handing me little crackers. My parents said later, I must have been about six months old!”
Yes, crib memories are indicative of highly creative people.
Donald Trump remembers gluing together his brother’s blocks. Mother Teresa recalls her family (“mishpokhe”) gathering together each evening to pray and her mother bringing the poor (“orem”) and hungry into their house for meals.
Bill Gates remembers negotiating a written contract with his sister (“shvester”) for five dollars, giving him unlimited access to her baseball mitt.
Sam Levenson (“In One Era & Out The Other”) remembers when his Mama’s chicken had been dismembered. It had been neatly disjointed and all its organs filed into plastic see-through bags. He remembers his Mama buying him chocolate babies and long strips of paper sugar (“tsuker”) dots glued to them. And he remembers Mama taking him o the pushcart (“shtupvegl”) market to buy a tie to wear to his graduation from elementary school.
Manuel Schonhorn (NYX Metropolitan Diary, 4/12/12) remembers growing up in Brooklyn—Bed-Sty, Bushwick, Williamsburg—in the ‘30s, when a little Jewish man would push a tin cart, with some coals heating it, and selling “boiled chickpeas” in a small brown bag for a penny. He asks, “Does anyone have these memories left?”
So listen, “bobe” and “zeyde,” accompany your grandchild/grandchildren while they trick or treat. It will prove to be a thrilling life-changing journey for both of you.