“…Of all the things I still remember…”

This was a flat holiday. Brother down, kids out of town, it was just flat. Not like last year when, sitting side-by-side (but for ninety years between us), we worshiped in temple…laughing, smiling…making memories.

As much as April brings baseball and July means fireworks, nothing says September like Rosh HaShana. Even in 2011— make that 5772. In the autumn of my years I see well the beauty of my spring and summer. It’s all, as they say, in the angle.

When young, Hal and I’d cringe, twist and turn at the thought of High Holidays. Better to have been in school! Others may have played in childrens’ services but we caught no respite. The moment they’d end our dad hauled us to the Main Sanctuary and parked us in the far reaches of Rosenthal Ballroom (think centerfield bleachers) where we’d wait….and wait…..until then, upon sounding of the Shofar, like Pavlov’s dog, we’d bolt outside, stand by the assigned rock, and wait some more.

We paused, in the 50’s, for the same thing we do now: Aunt Helen. (Then, of course, she was joined by the love of her life, “Ma” — our grandmother—ably played by Helen Hayes…and our father, who in retrospect was the family’s first Robert Romano).

Then, as a sea of bodies flowed down the steps, as others marveled at the majesty of Park’s massive dome, H and I scanned furiously through the mass of skulls, seeking the only dome that mattered: our father’s bald one.

As arduous as the process was “in the day,” that’s how sweet it feels today. What we both might give for one more endless morning! (Or, for that matter, one more bland, East Overlook lunch that followed). There we’d sit, The Boys, white shirt and bowties, being seen but not heard, listening with others to Helen’s review of the rabbi’s sermon. “Pa would not have agreed,” she’d tell us. It was a soliloquy, her pronouncement never once questioned. With Ma in the kitchen and Dad being Robert, that was it. Our Mom, of course, had to raise her hand to speak. She never got called on.

It was a time fastidious to tradition. There was no TV (on, at least). Nor could we go outside. Catch, even in the yard, was verboten. So we’d sit there, twisting, turning… making memories.

I wonder what my kids recall. Do their hearts airbrush their youths? After all, adding in The Jersey Girl, the roster was set. There—in the 80’s, were The Boys, Ma, and Helen (now played by Tilda Swinton). Do Michael, Jamie, Stacy look back at simpler times…and smile? I think not. Not yet. They’re still too young.

Sitting, wistfully in my car, today, it was hard not to ….think.

Yet another thirty years…

Our parents—they’re gone. Grandma too. Still, though the bench is getting empty and there’s quiet in the dugout, I’m grateful. Hal, Margie, me…we’re older, but still standing. And my “kinder,” they’re off having children in places that, heck, growing up I only knew of from baseball cards. Imagine: me— with grandchildren near Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field!

Sooner than they think, though, Michael, Jamie, Stacy…their kids will grow—their dugouts will empty.

So I wish them health, of course…for the year and years approaching. And wisdom too—wisdom to bore their kids with family and tradition—and allow them to make memories.

Someday they too will be sixty.

        “…The years go by and time just seems to fly
        But the memories remain…”

                                Chris Daughtry

One Response to “SEPTEMBER”

  1. BONNIE says:

    Happy New Year Bruce. May 5772 be all that you want it to be and more. And as for the memories….though the children may be now making their own memories, they will be lovingly remembering the holidays and togetherness times of their youth, and i am sure there will be smiles.

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