Crank up the Doris Day,
time to take a sentimental journey
Saturday, August 10, 2013 8:00 PM
Some days, sentimentality bubbles up and just stays there a while. Sort of like the seemingly never-ending rain we had for three consecutive weeks.
That sentimentality has tugged at me lately, it seems. My mother preferred the Yiddish term for this excessive sentimentality. She would say I was being schmaltzy. But Mother was a different sort. She was born in Bridgeton, N.J., and called herself a Southerner. She even noted Bridgeton and Camden, where she spent some of her formative years as the daughter of a hotel manager, was south Jersey, as though that somehow made her a true Southerner. That she often used Yiddish terms was just part of her quirkiness. And charm.
Anyway, this wave of schmaltz probably has to do with the fact it's August. That, and Facebook.
AUG. 1 MARKED THE ANNIVERSARY of my first newspaper job. That's good and bad, but the bad primarily has to do with the fact I worked for a newspaper company whose chief overseer had the title "Lord" in front of his name. That should have been a sign, but I stayed with that company for 19 years until its owners rather suddenly decided even though they billed themselves (and their 100-plus newspaper properties worldwide) as a marketing and communications company (yes, another sign!), they were no longer going to be in the newspaper business. They divested themselves of employees and sold every newspaper property they had, with the exception of their flagship paper, a rather sizeable and long-running publication situated in Toronto.
Aug. 9 marked another career anniversary, my 14th year here at the Index-Journal. There was no fanfare or celebration. Heck, I didn't even bring in a large chocolate chip cookie with a big "thank you" message on it to share with my co-workers as staff writer Frank Bumb did Aug. 6 to celebrate his one-year anniversary here. No surprise, but I also got no "happy anniversary" cards from anyone on Greenwood County Council. Or Abbeville City Council. Or ... never mind.
ry of my grandfather's death. Yeah, I'm weird that way. I don't keep photos of headstones on my bulletin board, but I do have a knack for remembering dates. He was the only grandfather I knew. He was my mother's father, and she often would say how much I reminded her of her Poppa. In her eyes, he was a big man. In mine, too, but then again I was 8 when he died. As it is, he really was not so big in stature, standing maybe 5-feet, 6-inches tall. I thank (or blame) him for my enjoying the occasional good scotch coupled with a good cigar. No, he did not get me started on that when I was a child, but I do remember how I loved the smell of his cigars.
AUG. 10 IS MY YOUNGEST daughter's birthday. It doesn't seem possible 23 years have passed since we welcomed Katie into our lives. All those songs about the rapid passage of time? They're true. She has been and remains a gem.
Aug. 13. Now this date carries some mixed emotions. It was on this date in 1978 my father succumbed to cancer at the ripe young age of 52. I don't dwell on that, but remember, I have a knack for dates. And what loving son wouldn't take time out to remember the anniversary of his father's death? There were 20 years together; more would have been great.
But Aug. 13 is also the day our oldest got engaged. In our kitchen. So the good memories of Dad, coupled with the good memory of the occasion of Shelley's engagement, give me reason to get schmaltzy. Then, there is the bonus round. That same daughter and wonderful son-in-law are the ones who gave us our grandson. When? Yep. August. The 27th, in fact.
I WON'T BORE YOU with all the other dates. OK, I will, but I'll be quick. Aug. 28 is the anniversary of my grandmother's birth. She is also the only grandmother I knew and, yes, she was my mother's mother. The following day is the anniversary of a very dear cousin's birth. Enough said.
I mentioned Facebook because the other day, while reading some posts from folks on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, I posted a comment. The Shore, as residents call it, is where those grandparents I mentioned ended up settling. It is also where I spent a good many summers with my grandmother and, eventually, even made it home as my parents and I moved in with my grandmother. Explaining that requires too much space and, again, I don't want to bore you with all that.
The point is, someone on Facebook asked anyone who cared to answer where our favorite place was for breakfast or lunch on the Shore. Back in the day. My reply was simple: "My grandmother's." Someone else was reading those Shore posts, saw my name and asked if my grandmother lived at the end of Concord Wharf Road.
I IMMEDIATELY REMEMBERED Martha, even though we really spent little time together. Her grandparents and my grandparents knew each other through the years in the hotel business. They became friends and all lived on the Shore.
A flood of memories. Remember when we went trick-or-treating in town? She did. We were 5. She remembers several of my family members and even the old house where my grandparents lived. We exchanged memories during the course of several days. It was nice to catch up with each other's lives, but it was even more special to share memories of the Shore and our families. It's also nice we can still conjure up those memories at our ages.
Schmaltzy? Yeah. But I like it.
Whiting is executive editor of the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-2522; email firstname.lastname@example.org ,or follow him on Twitter at IJEDITOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.