fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,
fauxklore
fauxklore

Christmas 1981

I was thinking about various places I've spent Christmas and remembered this story.

My parents' 25th wedding anniversary was in January 1981. I was in grad school at Berkeley at the time, so we couldn't do a celebration then. I don't remember why we didn't do something in the summer, as I am fairly sure I came to New York at some point then. But, whatever the reason, eventually my brother and I ended up deciding we would take them out for their anniversary on Christmas.

My brother did most of the planning. There was a production on Broadway of The Pirates of Penzance, which seemed like a sure thing as we had listened to Gilbert and Sullivan recordings lots of times as we were growing up. The bigger question was where to eat dinner. I am not sure how he knew this, but he said that Mom and Dad had eaten at Lou G. Siegel's on their honeymoon, so that was what we decided on.

Now, Lou G. Siegel's was a big deal in our family. It was a somewhat upscale Jewish restaurant, which was particularly known for the little pots of schmaltz (chicken fat) on the table. I could only remember having been there once before. My father had taken me in to work with him and at the end of the day we met up with Grandpa and the woman he was involved with, Rose. Grandpa was separated from his second wife and we all expected that he would eventually succeed in getting a divorce (less easy in New York in those days than it is now) and marry Rose. He did, indeed, get the divorce a couple of years later - and, not long after, announced his engagement ... to Edith. Rose sued him for breach of promise. And a dozen or so other women called our house asking, "is it true that Leo is getting married? I'm so disappointed!"

Anyway, I think we went to the matinee. Since it was on Christmas Day, a large number of the men in the audience were wearing kipot. (Gilbert and Sullivan is very popular among modern Orthodox Jews. I don't know why.) The show was great, with a particularly notable performance by Kevin Kline as the Pirate King. The other big name in the cast was Linda Ronstadt as Mabel, who I thought was less than up to the part.

So we walked down to West 38th Street and Lou G. Siegel's, which, by the way, is now the site of Ben's Kosher Delicatessens midtown Manhattan branch. We had a very nice meal, not that I can remember what I ate. My brother carefully explained why he'd chosen it. And my mother then told us that, yes, they had eaten there on their honeymoon - and she had promptly thrown up on the subway on the way back to the Bronx.

So it might be a good idea if you know the whole story. That advice applied to Rose, also, of course. Grandpa and Edith's marriage don't last either, for what it's worth. This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/482607.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: family, holidailies
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