Well, it’s like this… I got to thinking about Mommie Soph. That my memories were tweaked by sharing a standing rib-roast with Alan, Lynn, Andy, Sandy, Shaina and John on Christmas Eve may seem a bit out of place. Christmas Eve? Mommie Soph?
To me the Christmas connection was simply due to a part of her remarkable make-up. I am sure that she did not encourage Mom and Dad to accept the “material” part of Christmas into our household. But she didn’t stand in its way. And she seemed perfectly good at moving to the rhythms of the Holiday Season. And she certainly took to Dad’s commission to take charge of the Chipp tailor’s Christmas Eve party on Eld St. She would provision out the party with pizzas from Pepe’s, deli from M & T and pastries from Lucibello’s. A case of Scotch whisky would also be on hand (an offering of the Season for Toplitsky the head of the Tailor’s Union in New Haven). We benefited, too! All the leftovers found there way to 25 Alston Avenue.
It didn’t stop there. Mommie Soph looked at Santa Claus (or as she would say, “Sendy Close”) as an American folk hero. What could be so bad? And on Christmas morning when I opened my gifts, she was so happy for my joy. I saw it in her eyes.
So you see… I have been thinking about her.
And I just want to say how proud I am of her descendants… the women in our family are so strong. Sarah, Shaina and Sophie, you are named in her honor… but each of you carry part of Mommie Soph in you. Each of you do her honor. Each of you is special.
So… on the next clear night, look to the heavens… there is a star there (just to the left of Orion’s Belt)… find it. And think about a young girl who traveled from a far away place, by herself, across two countries, across the ocean… who worked as maid in her first home in New Haven, who married a kosher butcher, who brought two special girls into this world, who succeeded her husband (who died so young) as a butcher, who ran a successful business, helped bring the rest of her family to this country, who helped establish her sister’s husbands (and my Dad) in their businesses, who supported her daughter’s desire to attend college (and then law school) when the family counseled against it… a woman who never learned to read or write, and yet possessed a wisdom that few could match. A woman who wanted happiness and prosperity for her family.
Find that star. And when it winks at you… wink back. Greatness flows thru you.
With love for you all… Jimmy