I remember the day as if it was yesterday. I was attending a party and someone grabbed my hand to join an Israeli folk dance called the Hora.
For ten minutes, I danced in a circle smiling at my husband who was sitting at a table watching. It was one of those special nights that make beautiful memories.
Later that night, I felt a little strange. Thinking I was tired, I got into bed. A few hours later, I woke up and the room was spinning. Scared, I called out to my husband. I tried to stand up to put on a light and the spinning got worse. It felt like I was in the middle of a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from.
The dizziness lasted 3 days and I could barely function.
This was my first vertigo episode………..
In the years since then, my life has changed.
I no longer dance which is one of my biggest losses. I love to dance and always found it a great way to exercise and get rid of stress. It is hard to listen to music and sit still.
I risk a dizzy spell every time I bend over doing a chore, pull something out of drawer or try to focus on a moving object. I often forget and do it anyway.
I missed my favorite cousin’s funeral because I was afraid to fly alone for fear I would have a vertigo attack. I haven’t been on a plane in years… since the first episode.
I accept invitations to family/friend gatherings my husband can drive us to and then pray I will be able to attend. I hate disappointing my children.
Going to the Dentist (or Oral Surgeon) is a big challenge and often involves last minute cancellations if I am very dizzy the day of the appointment. Fortunately, I go to a great practice who work with me as well as they can. Example.. Not putting the chair all the way back which often triggers my vertigo.
I can’t read or type on my phone or computer for extended period of time. I am a writer so this sucks!
Those are a few of the ways my everyday life has changed.
How do I get through each day?
I put on a face for the outside world that is almost always a happy one. I am known for my sense of humor and my positive attitude. Even if I am having a crappy day, I try not to bring people down. I have done this most of my life because:
a. I am my Father’s daughter. ( Those who knew this strong, amazing man will understand that comment.)
b. I believe most human beings shy away from miserable people.
c. I prefer to tell my problems to my Raggedy Annie dolls who don’t pass judgement and are always smiling at me.
In my private life, there are lots of challenging moments…
I feel a tremendous sense of loss for what I may never be able to do again. I try to chase those thoughts away but that is easier said than done.
I get frustrated with myself for falling into depressions that feel like I am sinking into quicksand and I can’t pull myself out. I spend way too much time alone.
My greatest fear is becoming a burden to my family. I have first hand experience with this and it was heart-wrenching to see my beautiful Mother slowly die.
I hope sharing my story will help others who live with vertigo (or are living with someone with this condition) understand they are not alone.
I truly understand…..
Author’s note….Because of a severe drug sensitivity, I only use homeopathic remedies to treat this condition.
Fifty years ago, I never would have imagined that we would be connecting with people all over the world via the internet. Back then, you wrote and mailed letters or made very expensive long distance calls. Life certainly has changed…Is it 100% for the better?
I have mixed feelings about this…I still love writing letters but I do miss conversing on the telephone. There are people I care about whose voices I haven’t heard in years because they no longer will talk on the telephone. (You know who you are) There are others whose voices I have never heard because all of our communication is on social media , texting or through emails.When I receive a text, it takes time for me to reply. Usually my first attempt is filled with typing errors because I am usually sending it from my phone and my eyesight isn’t the greatest. You really have to be careful with that because you can send a message with words that take on new meaning when a letter is typed incorrectly. I am SURE everyone reading this can relate and share a funny story or two…
Imagine how much time we could save if we went back to communicating verbally? We could free up ALL those hours we spend trying to respond to all those written messages. We could call each other and say, “I LIKE what you wrote…I’m glad life is going well and by the way…I LOVE your new hairdo. That took all of 5 seconds to express that verbally! We could fill our voice mails with beautiful, expressive voices who leave us sweet messages.
I would leave you snippets of songs I am writing and poetic verse! I would try out my newest comedy on you and hopefully make you laugh!
My BIG birthday is coming up in a few weeks. (Jan 29th) I would LOVE to hear your voice! Can you take a minute and call me?
If I can’t pick up the call for any reason, (working, baking a cake, sleeping) PLEASE leave me a message.
It would be SO exciting to find lots of VERBAL birthday greetings on my voice mail. Feel free to sing Happy Birthday even if it’s off key…You know I’m going to LOVE it and play it back a dozen times. Don’t forget to leave your name since I may not recognize your voice!
Don’t have my phone number? Send me a message but proofread it first! 🙂
2016 will be a milestone year for me. I am turning 65 on January 29th and have designated myself as “The New Face of Medicare”. This is not because of how I look (though the freckles definitely help to peel a few years off), or even how I feel (I have been challenged with a few issues), but MORE because of how I hope to face the next decade of my life!
I think getting old is 90% attitude. If you categorize yourself as that “old person” that’s exactly how people will view you! Now of course, I’m excluding those senior citizen discounts that I so happily accept with a BIG thank you! I just prefer to ask for it rather than be offered it! (Any reader my age will understand that comment!)
I LOVE comedy and keeping a sense of humor about aging is definitely healthy and may even add a few years to one’s life. I’m married to a guy I’ve known since we were both fifteen SO sometimes we forget how old we really are! We will look at each other and say (as we remove our glasses), “You look just the same!” It’s actually fun to reach this stage of life with someone you grew up with! We share all the same memories.
So as we say goodbye to 2015 and welcome in the New Year, I want to pass on some Ask Bubbi advice…Enjoy every day even if it isn’t the greatest (you know the alternative) laugh a lot and don’t waste your time being miserable over situations you have no control over. Love unconditionally and give out a lot of hugs.
The other day a friend posted an article on my Facebook page. It was about Hitler’s personal photographer and included photographs of Polish Jews shortly before they were sent off to concentration camps. One of these photographs was a beautiful young woman. To this day, her identity remains unknown. I was overwhelmed by her photograph. Not wanting her to be forgotten, I have written this letter to her .
Dear Beautiful Young Woman,
It is 75 years since this photograph of you was taken, but to me, it seems like yesterday. I gaze at your beautiful smiling face and I think of my own 4 children. I feel the tears trickle down my cheeks. You were someone’s daughter, granddaughter, possibly sister. I am sure you, like my children, had your hopes, dreams and expectations about the years ahead. I wonder what you might have done with your life if you had been allowed to live. Would you have gotten married to your beloved and raised a family, whose future generations would be alive today to honor your memory? Would you have made contributions to society that impacted lives? Would you have had a circle of friends who you connected with through out your life? Would you have attended simchas (joyful events), cried at the funerals of loved ones and been there for those who needed you? There were so many possibilities that were taken away from you.
After viewing your photograph, I can’t walk away from it and forget you. I am going to make a copy of your picture and frame it. Though I know it is already part of a collection and millions of people will view it for a brief moment, I feel that you deserve more. I want you to have a family who remembers you and loves you. I am sure I will cry more tears over you, like I sometimes do over my loved ones who have gone to heaven. I miss them and now I will miss you.
If I could step into your photograph and give you a hug, I would whisper in your ear, “You will never be forgotten!”
(photo courtesy of Time & Life.Getty Image)
My husband is turning 65 tomorrow. Almost 40 years ago, we imagined that at this age, we would be traveling the country in a fabulous RV, having adventures.
In reality, it will be a regular work day.
We are not going to be retiring any time soon unless we win the lottery.
Last week we matched 3 numbers and won 7 dollars!
Keep the dream alive!
For two “kids” who have known each other since they were 15, this all seems rather surreal.
The other day, we talked about our journey together and what we’ve learned in the almost 4 decades we’ve been married.
Here are the highlights….
Kindness will earn you loyalty. Be good to your partner and he or she will be there by your side, for all the great, not so great and downright miserable moments of your life.
Generosity is a beautiful trait. Sharing that last piece of steak holds hidden meaning. A person who would make a sacrifice for you is worth keeping around.
Add a heavy dose of these “L” words to your daily life. LOVE and LAUGHTER will be the super glue that holds you together even when you’re feeling like you want to pack your bags and find a new life!
Loving someone unconditionally is more than just words. If you want perfection, go eat a chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven. A good marriage will survive the ones with broken pieces.They actually taste the same!
Grow wiser each year. Learn to let go of the past and live each day to the fullest. Have no regrets…
Happy Birthday Richard! You ROCK my world!
Delilah shut off her computer and got up and stretched. Six hours of writing and forgotten meals made her crave something at the 24 hour diner down the street. Slipping into her sandals and wrapping her thick mane of hair in a huge bun, Delilah grabbed her keys and walked quietly to her car. She looked over at Miss Jane’s apartment next door who often started her day at the same hour that Delilah was winding down. Quite frequently, they would exchange waves as Miss Jane peeked out her window to see who was driving off in the wee hours of the morning.
As she entered the diner, Delilah was greeted with a big hello. The cook and food server were always friendly to her, as were the other night owls who frequented the lackluster but clean little diner. Delilah sat down in an empty booth, looked around and was surprised to see several new faces. She gave everyone a smile and picked up the menu, though it really wasn’t necessary because she ordered the exact same meal every time – an egg white omelet with lots of peppers, onions and mushrooms.
Minutes later, Delilah’s food arrived and it was quickly devoured. After sitting cross legged on the booth, she went to slip her feet back into her sandals when she heard a snap! She looked down to see that her right sandal had come apart. Picking it up, she shook her head and muttered, “Now what am I supposed to do? Walk out of here wearing only one shoe?”
From behind the counter, the cook Pedro saw that Delilah was in distress and quickly came to her rescue. He walked over to her booth, pulled crazy glue out of his apron pocket and sang out, “Here I am to save the day!” He took the shoe from Delilah’s hand and said “They call me Mr. Fix-It Man around here.” Within two minutes, the shoe was repaired and back on Delilah’s foot, and Pedro had returned to the kitchen to prepare another order.
Delilah felt a gentle tap on her shoulder. She turned around to see a young man with his upper body covered in colorful art. She couldn’t help but stare. “I just wanted to give you my card in case you ever want a tattoo. I’m the best in town!” He flashed Delilah a toothy smile and his blue eyes sparkled. She noticed a familiar name on his card and said, “Roberto Genero Jr.? I once met a man named Roberto Genero. I’m wondering if it was your Father.” Delilah looked at the young man, anxiously waiting for an answer. “If he had crystal blue eyes and was covered in body art, I am sure it was my father,” the young man proudly replied. “Sadly, he passed away last year and I took over his business.”
Delilah had tears in her eyes. She told the young man how eight years ago, when she had just moved to town, Roberto had stopped to help her in the middle of the night. Her car was stranded on the side of a highway and it was pouring rain. Dozens of cars had raced by before finally a giant man with both arms covered in tattoos offered to assist her. At first she was terrified because he looked so different than most of the men she knew, but he turned out to be a polite and respectful gentleman. He would not even take the money she offered him for his kindness. “I never saw your father again,” Delilah said, “but I thought of him often.”
The young man got up from his booth and said to Delilah, “Thank you for sharing that wonderful story about my father with me. May I give you a hug?” Delilah stood up and wrapped her arms around Roberto Jr. “I am so very pleased to meet you” she whispered in his ear.
Delilah put a tip on the table and walked over to the cash register to pay for her meal. She handed the food server a twenty dollar bill and said, “Please also charge me for the meal of the young man in the booth behind me.”
Delilah drove home knowing exactly what she would write about next.
Richard and I have been married for 38 years! If you add the years from my first “short-lived” marriage at the very young age of 20, I have been married a total of almost 43 years of my life. That seems like a VERY long time for someone who wakes up some mornings thinking she’s back in college and she slept through her first class! All kidding aside, that’s a HUGE amount of years!
Being a former reporter and radio host, I love asking my second and BEST husband to share his thoughts on how to have a successful marriage. I usually ask in the middle of one of his favorite television shows, usually during the last 5 minutes when he wants to find out who committed the murder.
A while back, I asked him similar questions and his answers were quite funny.
So here I am (again) asking my (annoying) questions and here are his answers….
HOW TO STAY HAPPILY MARRIED FROM A HUSBAND OF 38 YEARS
1. Ask your husband thought provoking questions ONLY during commercials.
2. Always have your pantry stocked with Ketchup and don’t roll your eyes when your husband puts it on EVERYTHING including the gourmet meal you spent hours preparing!
3. Don’t repeat things more than twice. Three times and he suddenly becomes deaf.
4. Laugh at his jokes and pretend like you haven’t heard them 300 times.
5. Don’t ask your husband to put on your bracelets or necklaces after the age of 50 because he can’t see those tiny little clasps. Better yet, get rid of all that jewelry and just wear rings.
6. Walk out of the bathroom when he is trimming hairs from places he would rather you NOT know where they are growing. That is NOT the time you need to be organizing your makeup.
7. Accept a compliment and stop asking your husband, “Did you REALLY mean that?” If he tells you that you’re the hottest woman he knows, just smile and bat your eyelashes but without too much of that gunky mascara.
8. Love him unconditionally even if he makes embarrassing noises that he did NOT make when you were dating.
9. Learn to share the blanket, quilt, comforter or whatever you stick on your bed to keep warm. If this is not possible, BUY A SECOND ONE!
10. Tell your husband you love him.. That’s right..Men have feelings, too!
p.s. Can I go back to my very exciting television show now???
It was June 6th, 1976 when you showed up at my door for our first date. Eight years had passed since we sat next to each other in homeroom 11-17 at Miami Beach High. I opened the door and you leaned down and handed my 2 year old son (who was glued to my thigh) a red race car. You had stopped at Woolworth and bought it on the way to my apartment.
Our lives had crossed in some amazing ways during those eight years since high school. In 1974, your Mother ( a dear family friend) had been invited to my son’s pidyon haben (redemption of the first-born son). You decided to join her. When our family realized we had forgotten the 5 silver dollars to redeem our son from the Rabbi, it was you who walked up and handed them to us. You had brought them…just in case.
My son was born on your Grandmother’s birthday.
Were these coincidences or divine intervention?
Our first date was lunch at my place. A tuna fish salad. We talked for hours catching up on years gone by. Your beloved older brother had been killed by a drunk driver. (I was married and living in Atlanta at the time.) I remember my Mother calling me, barely able to share the tragic news. Thousands showed up to pay their respects. You were now the oldest brother. You did whatever was needed over the next few years…the glue that held the grief stricken family together.
As you shared the story, I saw the sadness in your eyes but I felt your strength. I knew that family was everything to you.
I shared with you about being married and having my heart broken. I told you how blessed I was to have such a beautiful little boy. I had no regrets and wanted to just move on…
My heart overflowed with joy on that first date. I’ve never forgotten a detail of it in 38 years.
Every year I celebrate my good fortune that my older brother (who lived in your apt complex) thought to casually mention to you during a group dinner one night that I was divorced and back in town.
Again…A little divine intervention, perhaps?
Before you left that afternoon, you asked me on a second date… A dinner date at a nice restaurant. I asked if my young son could join us. You smiled at me and said, “Absolutely. I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
I fell in love with you that very day…
Happy 38th “First Date” Anniversary Richard.
I love you forever and always!
Blanche Barnett Nevel, gave birth in 1949 to an adorable blond haired boy,who twenty-one months later, became a big brother to a cute little redheaded sister. With dark brown hair and a natural tan from spending time outdoors, our Mother was often stopped and asked, “Are you the Nanny of these 2 babies?” (Three more children of assorted hair colors were born a few years later but that’s another chapter to this story.)
When my big brother and I were little, we were inseparable. We started our school career at Tiny Tot Finishing School. One day a big 5 year old bully pushed my brother down on the playground. I became so angry, I filled my purse with rocks and hit the bully with it. (At 3 I carried my purse with me everywhere. I was such a girly-girl!) I remember this incident like it was yesterday though I doubt my brother does since it happened 59 years ago! He returned the favor when I pooped in my pants . All the kids would have made fun of me if they didn’t see my big brother standing there watching. I am SURE he has erased that memory from his mind!
My big brother and I shared a bedroom when we were little and we got into lots of mischief. For one of my birthdays, he bought me a small flashlight. The night before my birthday, he carefully unwrapped it and we played with it under the covers for hours. The next morning, my Mother couldn’t understand how the brand new flashlight batteries went dead!
During hurricane Donna in 1960, (also our younger sister’s name) my big brother convinced his siblings to put books in our pants so that if we got spanked for behaving like wild animals during the hurricane, it wouldn’t hurt a bit. Our Father (who wasn’t big on spanking) discovered the books and fortunately didn’t get mad. Somehow my big brother always charmed his way out of punishments!
I went through an awkward stage as a preteen but my big brother never did. With his self confidence and good looks, a lot of my girlfriends had crushes on him. I remember in junior high all my friends wanted to sleep over so they could hang out with my brother. It took me a while to figure out that I hadn’t suddenly become Miss Popularity.
When I was 15, our family moved to Miami Beach. I will always be grateful to my big brother for making the transition so easy for me. He had attended school on Miami Beach the year before and made sure I met all his friends. They quickly became mine, too!
My first semester of college was lonely for me. I was far away from home and my brother’s letters kept me happy and motivated. When I transferred to a local college, it was my big brother who helped me write an English paper that earned me an A++. When he saw my grade and the teacher’s positive remarks, he said to me, “You’re on your own now, kiddo! Happy writing!” I was determined to show him that I could become a great writer like him!
Flash forward 44 years and though my big brother and I live hundreds of miles from each other, I’m still loving and appreciating his role in my life. He has all the best qualities of our beloved Mother and Father. He’s a loving, caring person who looks at life as a half filled glass. He has a wonderful sense of humor that is the glue that holds us together. The other day I told him that when we’re in our 90’s, we’ll sit on our rockers with a view of the ocean and share jokes.
And we’ll toast our lifelong friendship with a glass of organic prune juice…
* Note from Debi…Big brother does have a name but I am protecting his privacy in case any of my junior high school girlfriends are single and looking for a good man. He is happily married!
My Mother passed away when I was 41. She suffered with a debilitating illness for the last 14 years of her life. I remember being in my late 20’s (the age of my youngest child) and thinking, “Nothing can happen to my Mother!” Even as her health declined, I couldn’t imagine my beloved Mother dying.
As I look back over those years, I remember the cloud over the family that didn’t turn into a raging storm. How could it when I had an amazingly positive Father who spent years trying to convince his 5 children and the outside world that he could find a cure for our Mother’s illness? For a long time, I believed him. Why wouldn’t I? He was the man he could place his healing hands on a feverish keppalah (forehead) and make you instantly feel better. He was strong and stoic and unbreakable. He was the glue that held our family together. He was my role model.
September 19th, 1991
I didn’t cry at my Mother’s funeral. I watched my Father and he never lost his composure. Holding my head high and my four children close, I greeted and thanked all the family and friends who came to my Mother’s funeral to show their love and respect for our family. I was the eldest daughter and I did what had to be done. I wanted to make my Father (and Mother in heaven) proud of me.
Recently, I found a tape among my deceased Father’s possessions that my Mother had made a few years before she died. As she spoke about her daily physical and emotional struggles, it completely overwhelmed me. Sitting alone, I played that tape a dozen times cradling my arms around my tape recorder as if it would take me back to her. I wanted to hold my Mother in my arms and never let her go. “I’ll make everything better, Mommy!” I cried out as my words echoed off the walls. ” I’m older than you now, my children are all grown. I’m strong just like Daddy! Please, let me come back and help you!”
Outside my window, I listened to it rain almost as hard as my buckets of tears….
Blanche Nevel, a lecturer and reviewer of Jewish literature and a translator for the late Isaac Bashevis Singer, died Thursday, September 19th, 1991. Nevel was head librarian of Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach and lectured to congregation members on Jewish works. In the early 1980s, she reviewed books for the Jewish Floridian. She and her husband, Joseph Nevel, met Singer in the 1970s, and she later translated his Yiddish works into English.