Since my daughter moved to Oregon last year when her two college age kids started school there, it’s been lonely for all the holidays. And this year, my other daughter’s girls are off — one to school in Israel for a semester and the other to the University of Wisconsin at Madison. I have no grandchildren in my neighborhood. Quite an emotional adjustment!
So I packed up and went to Oregon for Rosh Hashanah. The first part of the trip was my daughter and I having a fun road trip to the Oregon coast where we stayed at the beach for five days. A wonderful time for us as it’s not always possible to spend so much alone time with one of your grown children. We lounged, we walked, we ate, we shopped, we did sight-seeing and never stopped talking! I always love to hear from my kids the memories and thoughts they have from their childhood, it gives you an insight into yourself as a parent.
The last part of the trip was to Eugene, Oregon, where my granddaughter had moved into a new off-campus, three-bedroom apartment with her two Jewish besties from the dorms at the University of Oregon. Yes, I said, a three-bedroom, two bathroom, laundry room, full-on kitchen, with all the appliances and more, a sectional couch, about 1100 square feet and topped off with a roof top pool and jacuzzi! Sounds like your college living experience? NOT! And only $800.00 per girl. With rents as they are today, sounds reasonable! And, gratefully, safe.
I had given my granddaughter advanced notice that I wanted to do a Tashlich service with her and the other girls, as they would not be at home with their family’s for the Holidays. There are some creeks on campus, and as we were walking back from Saturday brunch, we came upon a creek, lots of pretty trees and a serene setting. Just as I had envisioned.
Now, a little backstory: One of the roommates had a cousin visiting her for a couple of days. A lovely 30 year-old gal who is a Broadway actress and has been traveling with the cast of Hamilton for the past four years and was performing in Hamilton in Eugene that week. For any of you who have read my Jewish Sacred Aging posts, will recall I am a BIG Broadway fan, brought up on Oklahoma, My Fair Lady, Music Man, South Pacific, etc., as my kids were also. My son runs a Cabaret nightclub in San Francsico and produced an off-Broadway show ten years ago, so Broadway theater is a huge part of our lives.
Well, I was thrilled to met this terrific young woman. It turns out the cast of Hamilton got stuck living in San Francisco for two years during covid while theaters went dark. And, I’ll call her Miss J, met my son at his Club and remembers having a great conversation with him and my son remembers talking with her! Small Broadway/Jewish world! The crazy thing is that her best friend was performing that night at my son’s club! She and I had so much to talk about!
So after brunch, we came across this perfect Tashlich creek. My granddaughter looked around and said, “Butzee, I don’t see any rocks to throw.” I noticed one of the girls holding a box of left-overs from brunch and asked what was in there. Breakfast Potatoes! Yes! Our Tashlich giving to rid ourselves of the worst of this past year! We all grabbed Breakfast Potatoes and I suggested we say the Shehecheyanu. To our great pleasure, Miss J said, “I will led us in the Shehecheyanu!”
Like Ethel Merman belting out “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and like a cantor in shul, our Broadway Hamilton star, in the middle of the University of Oregon campus, leads us in the Shehecheyanu as we toss Breakfast Potatoes into the creek so we can start the New Year of 5783 with originality, companionship and lots of hope.
We all hugged, laughed and agreed this was a memory to last forever.
May we all be blessed with experiences to last a lifetime but more importantly, as the elders in our families, may we give memories to our children and grandchildren that keep us alive in their hearts and memories….L’shana Tova and may you have an easy fast…..Sandy
As a Baby Boomer Bubbe who still feels 18 but has four grand kids to prove this is the 21 Century, Sandra writes to leave a legacy for the next generations. Her belief that these precious kids need to know their cultural and family’s past in order for them to live their future is all the muse she needs!
She has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and Cross Cultural studies, has written a family history, personal memoir and is completing her first novel.
Her grandmother’s journey to America and life is her source for her deep belief and love for Judaism.