I was a solid “not me” for years.
A victim? A complainer of imaginary slights? Vulnerable?
No thank you.
I lived in a new age where as a Jewish person, I could be confident that all those pesky (horrific) years of persecution were over. I ate bbq pork ribs, delicious Italian salami subs, wore micro mini skirts, and was told often, “you’re Jewish? I thought you were Italian”… I was living the American dream.
My mom used to compare me to the “Charlie” girl… “Charlie” was a young sassy woman in a perfume commercial who was the picture of happy-go-lucky and confident!
That’s who I wanted to be.
Of course I wasn’t really happy-go-lucky and confident on the inside.
My deep hidden secret, kept pushed down even to myself, was that I was scared to be Jewish. Better to disassociate from this heritage that had such unthinkable history.
And … those strange Hasidic men with the crazy curly sideburns who’d you’d see occasionally in Manhattan? That was something with which I definitely DEFINITELY did not want to be associated. They scared me.
What really scared me though…
was the vulnerability.
The Holocaust happened in my parent’s generation…
The pograms where street mobs violently attacked Eastern European Jews happened shortly before…
The devastating brutality of blaming the Jewish people for all sorts of world calamities happened for hundreds and thousands of years…
These people, my people, had suffered….
I did not even want to know….Oh my gosh…. I did not want any of that.
In the U.S., I could live a seemingly glossy life and leave all that old world AND terrifying vulnerability behind.
Though my family kind of eked out a living, our living conditions were spectacular by world standards. Two cars, window air conditioning units, a television, and rotary telephones! I wore some hand-me-downs as a young girl but I had a cherished barbie doll collection and later I had cool bell bottom jeans and stylish gauzy shirts.
By the time I was born, my family had pretty much left all that religious stuff behind. Food still held a bit of Jewishness… Special occasions had lox and bagels, my mom cooked with lots of garlic and onion, and we sometimes ate at the not kosher jewish delicatessen with its coveted sour pickles and sour tomatoes. Yes sour pickled tomatoes. Delicious.
But the real story here is vulnerability.
It was just too darn vulnerable to connect with my Jewish heritage.
This is not a short story.
So before I go to TO-BE-CONTINUED….
I’ll leave you with a little gem.
I discovered that that nasty little box of Pandora’s? It was a complete hoax. Pandora’s box of my rejected Jewish heritage turned out to be a doorway to delight.
Treasures I had no idea were missing? Discovered.
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Mini skirt Cartoon by MJ Jin, Youtube featuring Shelly Hack 1970’s Charlie By Revlon Perfume Commercial, Deer, Telephone, and Treasure Photos from Canva.com
2 thoughts on “MINI SKIRTS & JEWISH”
This is an excellent piece, Vivi. I feel like your voice just keeps getting stronger. I love the idea of Pandora’s box being instead a doorway to delight. Great image.
Thank you so much Susan for your positive feedback. It means a lot. I’m also glad you appreciated the “doorway to delight” image. ❤️