Ok, so I have nothing to sell to you today but I just wanted to get your attention! It’s that time of year where we are bombarded with TV ads, snail mail flyers, email specials from Amazon, Target, Macy’s, Best Buy and every other possible retailer who wants to attract your subliminal mind wdith the-new-improved-1982-dicer-slicer-for-$19.95-and-buy-2-more-and-get-14-more-for-free because it will make your everyday life easier and happier!
Really, I’d try a new gadget if I was guaranteed my fingers didn’t have an everlasting smell of garlic every time I cooked! (I’m a personal chef for families and I chop and slice garlic, onions and shallots everyday and when I go to sleep at night, no amount of exotic Hawaiian hand creams erases those pungent fragrances!). Actually, the only item I ever bought from an infomercial was in 1992 and it was the incredible “wonder tool” that looks like the side gear-shift knob in my car and chops, purees and mashes better than any 21 Century apparatus! Still works great, except for the time I was cleaning it while still plugged in and it whisked off my finger nail!
Though I have no tangible utensil to hawk on-the-street-corner nor on TV or anywhere else, I think this is all about the availability as to how we can purchase our wares today to make Hanukkah shopping a one-stop-shop-event—just sit at your computer and avoid all the Christmas music, decorations and “Merry Christmas” salutations! What’s wrong with a mere “Happy Holidays?”
No, it’s more than that: It’s how our life has changed. We Baby Boomers have seen so much change. It’s mind boggling to watch grandchildren and compare our childhoods and teenage years to theirs. Not saying one is better but it’s just DIFFERENT.
And how many of us struggle with that difference? How do we accept change?
Most of our grandkids today don’t know what it’s like to get on a bike in the early summer morning, wave good-bye to mom and hear her say, “Have fun, be careful and see you before dinnertime!.” Those were our wonder years, with no fear of “seeing your face on a milk carton.”
First of all: No adult in their right mind today would let a kid leave the house on their bike, skateboard or scooter for a full day with total freedom to return at sundown for fear of John Walsh showing up at your front door. Second: Of course all the kids have cell phones today, something we would have only read about in a Marvel comic book. Third: How many moms are at the front door waving their kid good-bye saying “Have a good day?” Not many because in today’s world, the kid is at the front door waving their mom off to work and wishing her a good day!
So much change. So difficult to comprehend. So hard to see the future for our grandkids.
Oy vey, Baby Boomers, what to think? What to think? What to do? What to do?
I only have one solution for myself: To share those memories of mine, relate the 50s and 60s in lingo the kids understand—OMG! BFF! BTW! BRB! (Look up on Google for more!) I try to let my grandkids know that to some of the same extent, as a teen, I felt and worried about similar issues they are having, like saying to that annoying friend “Bye Felicia” (buzz off!). Yes, we have to find a way to be 21 Century cool, and NOT the Jimmy Dean or “Kookie, Lend me your comb!” kind of cool, in order to have a meaningful conversation and relationship with young people today!
Here’s my fear if we don’t find a way to communicate with our grandkids: A major part of our family history, traditions and our personal stories will disappear into oblivion which means the legacy we leave is grand-bubbe’s China in a pattern that won’t be cool enough for them to set their Passover table with! If we’re lucky enough for them to celebrate Pesach once we’re gone. But if they know how that China got to America, schlepped in a bundle through Russia, held close on a ship that rocked so hard it almost shattered or bought on Orchard Street after Bubbe saved her coins from washing and ironing the goyim’s laundry, then the legacy has a life of its own. Have them touch the item, whatever it may be, sense the warmth of those who held it long ago, smell the aroma of its surrounding, imagine the time and place it was used or worn. Create a sensual, emotional and visual that your bubbala can see, feel, hear and smell to produce the emotional worth the entity is and the importance of those who it belonged to. Give it and its story poignant value.
Last Hanukkah I gave each of my three granddaughters a clock, one I found on-line, with a face of a woman. I first bought it for myself, I collect interesting clocks, and I was finding myself continually staring into the face. And then for some reason, I started calling it my Mother’s name. I found a connection to the eyes in this painted face. Weeks later I realized what I saw in the face of this clock, it was a soul, actually, four souls who were tremendous influences upon me over the years. Four loving women were dead but alive in my heart.
So I decided to buy three more clocks for my granddaughters. I contacted the artist and asked her to alter the eye colors, shapes of the mouths and noses and was thrilled when I received them. I printed out the names of those precious souls and attached a little bio of each woman and presented to each granddaughter the clock that I thought best matched her personality. It was a moment I loved and one I think the girls will appreciate more in later years, though, each clock hangs in their bedrooms.
This year I found on Amazon used copies of one of my most favorite childhood books. I ordered the used copies because I want them to know this book has been adored by others because of its inspirational message and the front page colors are ones my granddaughters will identify as my favorites. Once again, I’m not sure they will “get it” now but when they have children and can read the story to them and share their story about Butzee giving it to them, then, I think it will have a loving meaning.
I’m trying to create moments for my granddaughters to remember me, not just the tangible items they will keep, but heartfelt times we share so they have memories to help create their own precious moments with their children and grandchildren.
As I walked in the early morning rainy drizzle, with cloudy skies and only bits of sunshine while noticing naked trees and orange leaves covering the ground, I realized another season is upon us, another year is ending and the concept of “Year End Sales” popped into my head. I went right home and started to write and grasped that what I was connecting was about legacy for this year end and what concept can I sell to my grandkids so they have context for and from me of the past so they can move forward into their future knowing where they came from. We are all pieces of each other’s puzzle, fitting in one way or another.
Buying Chanukah presents on-line, using weird combinations of letters that relate an entire sentence, sending emojis to express our emotions, good or bad, all in a day’s work in the 21 Century! Different! Different! Different! Chang! Change! Change! If you can’t fight ‘em, join ‘em! A choice to make. The right choice just may endear you into the life of that kinderla you love so much and pray for their wonderful future. As 2016 ends, many of us have great concerns as to where our country is heading, so may I suggest that you give context, history, stories and tradition to those who will need it most and wrapped in Hanukkah paper with yourself as the bow!
And for many who may think they have no one to offer legacy to, please know there are many families and children in your communities who would love someone to tell them stories, introduce new traditions from various cultures and show that legacy has no barriers or cultural divide. Through synagogues, Federation, JCCs, churches, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and community organizations, someone is waiting for you to find them so you can tell your story, share your legcy.
May the everlasting lights of your menorah illuminate history, tradition, memory, stories and legacy. Don’t let yours fade. Happy Hanukkah and blessings for 2017!