THE HISTORY OF THAT PIECE OF POTTERY-PART TWO
On one occasion, when my husband came home from his day job he gratuitously remarked that before supper he was going to use the computer to check on his guest for his radio show that week—Liz Danziger. (See blog post dated July 9, 2019, Thank You For 22 Years on The Radio and Counting). He never usually flippantly mentioned the names of his guests. I quickly processed the name and stopped him in his tracks, questioning, “Liz Danziger?… I think she’s Zelda’s daughter-in-law.” Sure enough! Liz had a newly published book out at the time. Her publicist had her lined up to be on The World of Work with Shep Cohen, without Shep or Liz knowing that they were related.
Naturally, over the years there were the usual family gatherings to meet familiar as well as unknown cousins. One such time we drove out to Long Island on an early Sunday morning for the unveiling of the tombstone of Zelda’s husband, whom we never had the good fortune to meet. At the cemetery we met their entire family. While taking the opportunity to celebrate with one another later at various future happy family functions, it was through Zelda that we became acquainted with more cousins.
Gladys, Zelda’s first cousin, mentioned in Part One of this blog post last Tuesday, living a long car ride away on Long Island, was at our daughter Rina’s bat mitzvah and our son Moss’s bar mitzvah. We, in turn, were at Gladys’s 80th birthday celebration, coupled with her brother Shep’s and sister-in-law Miriam’s 50th wedding anniversary. The party, near her home on Long Island, was on a Thanksgiving weekend and we left our one remaining weekend guest happily entertaining/being entertained by our children, as we prioritized and snuck away for the celebration where we met many more cousins. On another occasion, we vacationed at Shep’s house in Jackson, Mississippi, and then returned the favor when Shep came to stay with us and borrow Arnee’s red Thunderbird convertible to drive to a friend’s nearby simcha.
When Zelda’s son Lee and his wife moved from California to Woodstock, New York, we got together there with Zelda and Gladys and brought along our son Judd and his girlfriend at the time (now his wife) Dena. Judd and Dena ended up eventually taking Zelda up on her offer to visit in Albuquerque, where she baked them her specialty — Lemon Poppyseed Cake. They stayed at her daughter Sydney’s nearby house, where they were excited about the bedroom, which is built into a mountain. We piggybacked on that excursion and visited with Zelda and Sydney the following summer when we stayed over and slept in the legendary bedroom.
From their trip around the wild wild west, Judd and Dena also made a stop at Shep and Miriam’s new home in Salt Lake City, where they stayed the night. The beauty of these connections is that they instill a sense of comfort and security. Rina extended a birthright trip to Israel and spent time traveling around the country and getting together with family members, including Zelda’s grandchildren, who were living in Jerusalem. I remember after the 2011 visit, Rina commented that she didn’t know that they were so close in age to her since they were already married.
When our youngest child, Moss, went to college in 2012, Zelda made sure that her granddaughter knew that her cousin, whom she had yet to meet, matriculated at the same university. I, in turn, recommended that Moss try and meet up with her. When the two college students/cousins studied abroad their sophomore year, he in London and she in Paris, I suggested that Moss skip the thought of staying at a hostel in Paris and contact Sarah instead. He could not have had a better reception or more fun time then he did while staying along with a friend at his cousin Sarah’s apartment in Paris. That’s the crowning point of my years of research…my children connecting with their relatives and having the security of knowing that wherever they travel they have family who will look out for them.
Zelda (February 12, 1927, Brooklyn, NY - April 2, 2019, Albuquerque, NM) made more than pottery, she grew a family as beautiful as the pieces of clay that she molded. Each time I look at the pot on our kitchen windowsill, it puts a smile on my face and deepens my appreciation for Zelda and her grandparents.
A ray of sunshine is sure to produce a glow on Zelda’s creation when Kitchen Talk is published. That will be cause for a wink to Zelda, and a shout out, “We did it!” for I could not have gotten all this way without the much-appreciated mentoring from Cousin Zelda.