January 2, 2008

My Brother The Daddy Type

So my brother and his wife just had their baby yesterday [I'd say "mazel tov," but they'd probably have to look it up; they live in Denver, and unless Daniel Libeskind's in town to check on his museum/condo project, I don't think there's anyone there who knows what it means [update: Denver man Scott points out that there are many many Jews in town, thank you, and so I apologize and wish them all a happy new year. Or I will. In September, when New Year's comes back around.]] He decided to come early, all is well, they had their name picked out for months, which only adds to the family pressure about our indecision.

Anyway, apparently our dad had really wanted to name him Trent, which they ended up using as Jeff's middle name. My dad tried to call him Trent for a while, but it never stuck. I think his jr. high friends' nickname for him, Jed, got more traction. I'll have to get him on here to set the story straight, though.

But before he gets here, another funny little brother story:

When our sister was born, Jeff was three. Apparently, one day during that first week home, our mom was taking a nap, and Jeff came and grabbed her by the scruff of her neck like a cat, took her downstairs, and dropped her out on the lawn by the mailbox. Then he went off to play with his neighborhood friend. My grandmother saw the dropoff from the window, and so she retrieved the then-unwelcome rival.

Still, my mom only told me this story for the first time last night, and all I can think is, "Wait, you let a 3-year-old go off down the street by himself to play?"


Just the giggle I needed for today-thanks:)

My father was sent away to summer camp for two months when he was 3, and at 5 took the train into Boston each week for boxing lessons. It's kind of fascinating to look at how the ways society's needs and values in defining children's needs and competencies change. I'm sure there weren't many 3 year olds heading off to the woods in '41, but certainly no one was complaining about the minister whose child was.

Hey, Denver supposedly has one of the largest Jewish populations in the US. According to the scrupulously fact checked Wikipedia, it is around 100,000, which would put it in the top 10 among US cities, and is more than they have in all of Brazil. We also have a pretty good Jewish museum, the Mizel Museum of Judaica, which is more than most places can say.

[eh who needs data and wikipedia when you have totally infallible preconceptions made from thousands of miles away in the absence of any real information or experience? -ed.]

When I was five my parents had me fly from St. Louis to Portland, ME by myself. They bring up the story all the time to show what an independent child I was. I guess that's one way to look at it!?

my sister and i were all over the (small-town, not-quite-rural) new hampshire neighborhood daily in the early 80s - that was at 3 and 4 years old... visiting friends and neighbors for hours at a time. (it freaks me out to think of now - there was this one old man we used to visit a few houses down from ours - he made us popcorn and peeled apples in one long cut. totally safe and normal at the time, but no one would dream of letting their kids do it now.)
when my sister started half-day kindergarten, she would walk from her school to my daycare and then we would walk home together - prob a 15-20 minute trip. i only wish i could let my future children be that independent.

dude, even us multitude of non-jews in denver know what mazel tov means. New Yorkers, what are you going to do?

[we still have Seinfeld.... d'oh, you win. -ed.]

OMG, that's so funny! And wow, I can't believe your mom kept that one under her hat for so many years. Now I'll have to pester our parents to make sure we've gotten all the good stories out!

i know lots of jews in denver, but growing up in colorado springs in the 70s the only synagogue was in the basement of the air force academy chapel (and this was before it became the center of the christian right, but now there are a few temples i think). we had to go to denver to get bagels.
anyway, when my brother was born, my oldest brother, who was barely 2, walked up to him and mom breastfeeding on the couch, cried for a second, and then threw up all over them. they get along better now.

[is he by chance the inspiration for Kyle on South Park? I realize now that everything I know about Colorado is based on "I'm just a lonely Jew on Christmas." Unbelievable, but true. -ed.]

you grew up in The Springs? Wow, my condolences, congratulations on making it our alive, I would not have been snarky had I known about your traumatic past here

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