December 16, 2010

Heartbreaking evidence

I spent this afternoon again in the depth of the archive of the Jewish community. I found there something not really pleasant.

Samuel Stux - married to Katharina Loeb - had 7 daughters & 1 son.

One of these daughters was Malvine and another one was Amalie (born 25 Oct 1869).

This Amalie was married to Sandor (Alexander) Braun and 1 daughter & 4 sons.

Daughter Emma (b. 1 Jan 1899) got married to Emil Philippovic. These 2 had a daughter called Ilse Ernestine, born 1929 and died already at the age of 12 years in 1941. (family book p 102.)

The archivist looked in his files and found a file where Ilse is buried and there is mentioned why she died: Bromalpneunomie bei Idiotie = pneumonia with idiocy.

And according to t
hat file she died at Baumgartenhöhe which is know here as where the mentally sick people are treated. A 12-year old girl?

So the archivist searched in his computer and found more information which is provided by the documentation archive (DÖW) and there it says she was indeed in the part of Baumgartenhöhe called 'Spiegelgrund'.

This 'hospital' Spiegelgrund was the place where the Nazis 'fulfilled' their children euthanasia programme . . .

Spiegelgrund, Deutsch

Spiegelgrund, English


November 13, 2010

Go, Jeff, go! (photo)

ESSC Bulletin-16 November 2010

Having waves of genius, Jeff reacted spontaneously to the opportunity to win his second race. This is just not something coaches can teach. Jeffrey has been working at speedskating for a long time and has acquired a lot of experience. With confidence, Jeff continues to prove dominant, winning the remainder of his races. The crowd went crazy. Brilliant racing, Jeff!

November 7, 2010

Koala Lore

The big koala on the left is Two Thumbs. He was present on my first or second birthday from my cousins in Australia. Australian cousins--how exotic! Obviously, Two Thumbs has been with me a very long time. Two Thumbs was named after a koala character in a picture book, also a present from Australia.

A number of years ago, I found another koala at an estate sale. This smaller one appeared to be of the same material, design and vintage as Two Thumbs, so I bought him. Hart and Jeff dubbed him Two Thumbs' Little Brother. Shortly after that, Hart gave me the tiny koala, explaining that Little Brother should have a companion, too.

It's a charming story, a bit of family lore with chapters added by the succeeding generations. As family stories go, it's not quite as exciting as, "Grandpa's Escape from Auschwitz," or as amazing as, "My Two Brothers are YOUR Two Uncles." Stories of my childhood and my background aren't meant to displace the boys' lost lore. I don't know the background or stories of their birth family or native country. So I'm encouraging them to appropriate my narrative, and append their own chapters.

Maybe the koala collection is complete, but it's possible that there will be others added to it. Jeff and Hart can explain that it all began with Two Thumbs, the de facto patriarch of the koalas, and that other toy koalas joined him, each with their own history and narrative (just as the boys joined my family).

September 20, 2010

I Can't Wait

My friend M hates to be scolded. Of course, most people do. However, I can tolerate scolding--and just about anything else--except waiting. I often feel as though years have been taken off my life sitting patiently, waiting, waiting, waiting. I am not one of those people who arrives for ten hours of jury duty empty-handed either. I am armed with a book and an MP3 player at all times, but even so, after more than an hour, murderous thoughts towards the receptionist or airline attendant begin to cloud my concentration.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom that one gets more patient with age, I am beginning to feel like the waiting time has become cumulative. I can't take it anymore.

The past few weeks have been especially grueling. This morning, in the MINI dealership, I worked my way through the Sunday New York Times, a few chapters of a novel, and several potential performance songs on my MP3 player, but I was still there after two and a half hours, gazing wistfully at my car on the hydraulic lift. There are only so many times one can peruse the overpriced MINI and BMW merchandise, or admire the new cars in the showroom before going completely bananas.

Since I got the idea to resume my less-than-distinguished theatrical career, I have begun to suspect that I don't have the sitzfleisch for it. My recollections of auditions past are of being summoned into the auditorium to sing, then read, then being sent home to wait for a callback. First come, first served, so that if you arrived for the audition ten minutes before the official start time, you could be on your merry way in half an hour. That is not how it's done here. I have recently been to three auditions: First everyone sang, one at a time. After two hours of sitting in the lobby during the singing, we were all herded to meet with the choreographer to learn a few dance steps, then each person performed again for the director. Simply put, everyone who showed up to audition was held hostage for the entire four hours. Before I ever got in front of the director, I could feel the energy draining out of me and the vocal warm-up I'd had with my voice coach ebb away.

This weekend, due to a printing typo on the invitation, I arrived an hour and a half before an event. Ever the good sport, I decided to wait. But after an hour, I couldn't take it anymore and went home. The anticipation and pleasure of attending the event had dissipated after forty minutes wait.

So, as Bill Maher says, NEW RULES. After the below-listed time is up, I will either go home or go postal.
  • Waiting in a restaurant for a friend--12 minutes past appointed time
  • Concert or play-- commences within 10 minutes of announced curtain time
  • Doctor's waiting room--35 minutes
  • Movie--trailers must begin at exact publicized start time, actual feature film within 25 minutes
  • Wedding--bride must sail down the aisle within 40 minutes of invitation time
  • Flight-- two hours delay acceptable; going home not an option, see above
Once about fifteen years ago (before the cell phone era), a group of friends rolled up in front of the restaurant almost two hours after our appointed meeting time. I was sitting on the curb in front of the restaurant, seething. "Do not disrespect me in this way, ever again!" I fumed. And, in fact, they haven't.

September 16, 2010

New fridge, old rules

I finally replaced my early 80s refrigerator, which meant I threw away more than half of the fridge magnets I've accumulated in twenty years, a number of not-so-hilarious-anymore New Yorker cartoons, and other detritus than was affixed to my fridge. I realize it's time to dispose of two documents: a list of household rules that I devised for Hart and Jeff years ago, and a behavior scale that Jeff used in his social skills group a while back. They bear duplicating. The magnets are not so interesting.
Household rules
  • Follow directions
  • No hitting, kicking or spitting
  • No swearing
  • Ask before you use something that doesn't belong to you
  • Answer when called
  • Burp or fart in the bathroom ONLY
  • Use inside voice
Practicing Friend Behavior

Fill in each number with the behaviors you think fit each level . . .

  • 5 Against the law. Hurtful, Threatening, Screaming in people's faces. "I'm gonna kill you!" "I'm going to hurt you."
  • 4 Scary Behavior. Yelling "Shut Up!" Yelling "I Hate You!" Running away
  • 3 Odd behavior. Copying "bad" behavior. Chewing paper. Talking and laughing to yourself. Copying silly things. Silly communications.
  • 2 Reasonable Behavior. What people would expect from a high schooler. Behavior makes sense. Telling people your feelings in a nice, calm voice. Inviting friends to "Lunch Bunch." When something doesn't feel right: Ignoring others. Moving away. Finding an adult to help.
  • 1 Social Behavior. Hanging out with friends. Saying "hi." Asking a friend, "What did you do?" Sharing information in a relaxed way.

September 13, 2010

שנה טובה

Erev Rosh Hashana:

After the expected hoo-hah with the Westboro Baptist Church, it was almost a letdown to see a tiny knot of people who dispersed at 7:45pm. I thought we'd have to run the gauntlet of haters. Anyway, a few crazies would have been no match for a few hundred liberal Jews each carrying a very heavy prayerbook.

August 25, 2010

First Day of School

Memorandum: All school staff

While I am justifiably proud of Jeff's summer accomplishments, I confess that his swindling and petty crime skills have also improved. I am attempting to be proactive in heading off the usual fall crime spree:

Jeff does not have discretionary spending money. If he needs money for school, I will send a check or a sealed envelope with a note. If Jeff has cash, be suspicious.

No gifts, souvenirs, prizes, toys from anyone. No trading or buying or selling or bartering with other students. Ever.

Jeff is not permitted to enter any retail establishment. Food court only, on sanctioned trips to the mall.

Jeff may not carry toys around school. I suspect he will sneak them to school, but you have carte blanche to confiscate anything that causes inattention or disruption. Just don't send it back home.

I also want to say how much I appreciate everyone's fondness for Jeff, but please don't give him stuff or ask me if it's OK to do it. This is a serious issue in our household. Don't be an enabler.