So let’s just say that sometimes you see someone and you just can’t place where you have seen them before. You scratch your head. Perhaps you are seeing them out of context? You run thru possible connections… maybe a parent whose kid went to school with your kid? Maybe they were regulars at the breakfast place you go to? Or someone that shops for groceries at the same time you do?
I fell victim to this disorienting experience on more than one occasion at Chipp. Some cousin, typically from Dad’s side of the family (although not necessarily so) would show up at the store and when I exhibited a puzzled expression, Dad would look at me in amazement, “Jimmy! Jimmy don’t you recognize Cousin…?”
As I say, this happened to me more than once. You have to remember, being 11yrs & 9yrs younger than you both, I was at a disadvantage in “relative recognition”. Which doesn’t mean that you, too, would have known who this obscure relative was either! Meanwhile, I suffered with a minor embarrassment over this failure to recognize our Cousin so-and-so. Besides, how many times could I have seen this Cousin? Maybe once at a Wedding, or a funeral? Or maybe never?
But providence handed me a golden opportunity to flip the tables on Dad. And it wasn’t something that required an elaborate scheme. What transpired developed “organically”.
Back in the day we had customer who would send in his young daughter to be his “personal shopper” (and she was years younger than me). Her name was Nadine (this detail might be wrong) and she purchased everything for her Father. Sport coats, trousers, shirts, ties, sweaters. You name it, she bought it. Jerry Blankfort would wait on her. And she must have been very good at this stuff, because nothing was ever returned!
Nadine (I’m continuing to use her name here) looked like the quintessential nice Jewish girl. Slightly reddish hair. Pretty. But not dramatically so. Very pleasant. And this for sure, she certainly possessed a “cousin look”. A person who could have been at Alan Lebow’s Bar Mitzvah, or Susan Lebow’s Wedding.
And then my moment came delivered on a silver platter! Jerry and Nadine were on the second floor picking out jackets and trousers and Dad happened to emerge from the elevator on the second floor. He approaches us, he nods hello, and I say, “Dad? Dad! Don’t you recognize our Cousin Nadine?”
I gotta give Dad credit, he didn’t miss a beat! And with a huge welcoming smile, “Oh, my hello! Nadine? Nice to see you!” And he proceeded to give her a warm hug!
Dear Sister & Brother, I wish I could provide you with an accurate end story to this recollection. Did I let Dad in on the gag? How did I square this little theater with Nadine? Those questions must be left delightfully unanswered.