Things Clara Taught Me

A whole year has passed since my mom, Clara Caren Rimon, died. At the time, I was at a loss for words. I wrote something in this blog – then closed the door and shifted my attention elsewhere, where it was needed.

Now, on her yahrzeit, I pulled out a big basket of photos and a load of video cassettes. The video cassettes are much more fun: I watched Clara singing, dancing and acting. By a quirky coincidence, Israel TV's Channel 2 today aired an old Israeli musical -- Hamesh Hamesh -- in which Clara had a part! She even appears on the movie's poster.

And I got to thinking of all the things – theoretical and practical, emotional and logical – that I learnt and absorbed from her during my life, whether directly and explicitly -- because she told me so -- or implicitly – through her actions, attitude, personal example.

Here's a very random, partial list, of things I learnt:

  • To recite nursery rhymes to my kids ("There was an old lady who lived in a shoe…")
  • To sing lullabies to my kids ("Rock a by baby, in the tree top…")
  •  To read to them at bedtime, and other times, from A.A. Milne, Dr. Seuss, "I Wish that I Had Duck Feet…"
  • Always wear an apron when working in the kitchen
  • When boiling potatoes, add salt if you intend to mash them; don't add salt if you want them whole.
  • When peeling boiled potatoes-in-their-jackets, use a sharp knife and dip it often in ice water.
  • Don't waste food. Use leftovers imaginatively.
  • Invite people over for dinner often. Especially people who have no family in the country.
  •  Keep a shopping list on the fridge door. Add items during the week, as the need arises. Don't let yourself run out of staples. "What?? We're all out of sugar??" – Not in my house!
  • Label things before putting them in the freezer. In fact, label everything.
  •  Remember to take the shopping list with you when you go shopping.
  •  The first-aid items that are the answer to nearly everything: Aspirin; Vaseline; Band-Aids; iodine/Mercurochrome/Gentian Violet; salt water (for gargling); hot water bottle.
  • Touch-typing is an invaluable skill.
  • Save scratch paper – use the reverse side of typed material; re-use envelopes; recycle greeting cards.
  • How to hem a dress or a pair of pants
  • How to knit.
  • Make Purim costumes
  • It's impolite to ask personal questions or make personal comments.
  • Always say Please and Thank you.
  • Danny Kaye
  • Allan Sherman; Tom Lehrer
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Ginger Rogers, Leslie Caron
  • Science Fiction; Isaac Asimov – his fiction and nonfiction
  • Keep pens & pencils everywhere; also elastic bands; scotch tape; scissors; gummed labels.
  • Take an afternoon nap. Do not call people between 2-4 p.m.
  • Never marry a man who drinks [to excess] or gambles
  • Keep track of everyone's birthdays and anniversaries; send cards; if you can't afford to buy them, make your own.
  • Stand up straight. Don't slouch. Shoulders back. Hold your tummy in. Get your hair out of your eyes.
  • Look after your back. Bend from the knees, not from the waist.
  • Dance, dance, dance. Ballet, modern dance, folk dancing.
  • Appreciate classical music.
  • If you have a talent, use it.
  • Don't sit at home and expect the world to come to you. Go out and introduce yourself.
  • Smile.

… and so it goes. I'm sure my kids can add plenty. And by the time I post this, I will have remembered a dozen other things. Isn't that wonderful?


Anonymous said...

Yes it is, she was wonderful and so are you. Also, put a date on those freezer items???

Nina Rimon Davis said...

Absolutely! Date everything. Every label, every letter that arrived, when it was answered, and so on.

Jennifer said...

It sure is, Nina... Clara lives on in you and clearly, in so many others...

Jennifer said...

It sure is, Nina. Clara lives on in you, and clearly in the lives of those she touched...

Yam Erez said...

Your mom and I are kindred spirits!

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