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New York, Coco, Happy etc.

You never know what’s going to land in your inbox. In mine, on Friday, something extraordinary – an email from David Serero, a hugely successful French opera singer, actor, and producer based in New York, who is producing and starring in a staged reading of my great-grandfather’s play The Jewish King Lear at the end of January, in a gorgeous building that’s the oldest synagogue in the States. Could he, he asked, pay my way down to be part of this event? He’d like me to speak after the show and do a book signing.

Would I?! It means deferring one of my U of T classes, but my boss said no problem, and my dear cousin Ted is happy to put me up at his place and accompany me to the opening. David asked if I would come to both shows, so on Tuesday Jan. 30 I’m flying to NYC for the opening, and then will attend the second show, aka the closing, on Thursday Feb. 1. I’ve given myself a few days there, too, so I’ll fly back Saturday. How amazing is that? There are two big staged readings of Gordin plays in Washington D.C. next year too. Is the old man coming into his own, at last? David talks about 200 people a night, about press involvement. After decades resigned to the total obscurity of this subject, I find his optimism hard to believe. But still – some excitement for the new year, already.

Calming down, I spent Saturday and much of today with one of the great loves of my life. We saw a fabulous movie together, he made me a big pot of vegetable soup, and we had a joyful time on a walk to the Farm.

And then, this afternoon, I took him home to his mother, who was – insane woman – organizing a New Year’s Eve party for a group of his 5-year old besties, who will have sparkling juice at 8 p.m., their midnight.

Eli and I went to see “Coco,” an animated musical film about – yes, hard as it is to believe – the Mexican Day of the Dead. I know you are used to my rhapsodies about things I’ve seen, but I must rhapsodize once more: “Coco” is one of the best films of the year. It held Eli and moved me so that – well, you know what’s coming – I wept. It shows that you are never forgotten, even after death, as long as you remain in the memory of family members; our beloved ancestors are still with us. Strangely, just after all this kerfuffle about my great-grandfather, it’s about the powerful genetic links of artistic talent. But all is presented in such a sparkling, colourful, humorous way that a 5-year old, who didn’t get all that about genetics and death, liked it too. It’s a very beautiful film. I will carry it with me for a long time.

And then home to play – to make soup. (When, at home the next day, Eli told his mother about the soup, she asked, knowing of his dislike of vegetables, “Did you eat some?”
“No, Mum,” he said witheringly. “The vegetables are made of WOOD!”)
There was play doh, and a Green Eggs and Ham puzzle, and the favourite pirate boat. Today, a walk to the Farm in the brutal, mind-boggling cold which did not bother him at all. He adopted a piece of snow on the way back, called it Marshmallow, and placed it carefully outside my front door for safeguarding.

And then home for him, to party, and home for me, a quiet night in. It’s so cold, they have cancelled or shortened New Year’s Eve festivities across the country, the first time I can ever remember that happening. It’s a bit like being under siege – survival is paramount.
Tonight, I pray for our planet to emerge back out from under the giant orange cloud and for some semblance of sanity and dignity and kindness to return. I pray for the health and happiness of friends and family, and of you too, whether I know you or not. 
On the way home, Eli and I discussed 2018. “This year, you’re going to turn…?” I said, and he replied “Six!” 
“And I’m going to turn …?” 
“86!” he cried. 
“No,” I answered coldly. No no no! It turned out he got it backwards and meant 68. I do not forgive easily. But forgive I will. 
Happy 2018 to you all, no matter what age you will turn. May we get through this one with grace.

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2 Responses to “New York, Coco, Happy etc.”

  1. theresa says:

    The most wonderful news about New York, Beth. Wow, so amazing (and richly deserved). Can't wait to hear your reports. What a way to begin the New Year! And one day I'll see Coco, maybe with my sweet granddaughter–who reported that her brother, age 1, thinks that Old King Cole in their nursery rhyme book, sent last Christmas, is Grandpa John. Same beard apparently. A child who was given tape in his Christmas stocking to repair the books he's torn in his avid exuberance to read every page…

  2. beth says:

    Oh Theresa, how lovely about King Cole. Is there anything better than reading books with grandchildren? Even if here we are often immersed in trucks, different kinds of trucks pulling different heavy loads… Today I asked Eli to pick a book for us to read, hoping he'd chose the book of poetry for children I'd left on top of the pile, but we ended up with trucks and Find Waldo. It was still heaven. We found Waldo every time. Happy New Year to you all. I do hope you see Coco, it's gorgeous.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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