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The Red Dress Club: An Island in Time

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Was it my idea? Or did that honour belong to one of my sibs?

Or…was it my brilliant idea that I blamed on one of my sibs?

No matter.

It really seemed like a good idea at the time…

The sun was shining. We were home from school in observance of the first day of Pesach. Which made a lot of sense in those days. Seder night was always a late night. Once we had our fill of matzah (and soup and chicken and brisket and…and…and…), all four cups of wine had been consumed, Elijah had (not) come and (not) gone, and the seder liturgy was complete, we sang. We sang and we sang and we sang.

I think that was MamaBear’s favourite part, listening to her children and grandchildren sing. Ally Ally Oxen Free, Go Tell It on the Mountain (Peter, Paul ,and Mary version!), Go Down Moses, There is a Man Come into Egypt.

[Really it was a Jewish seder and neither a Baptist revival nor a sit-in.]

Echad Mi Yodaya?
Adir Hu
Chad Gadya

Then — The Big Clean-Up. Tables moved out, folding chairs folded and put back on the wall in the garage, couches moved back in. China hand-washed and carefully dried. And the many leftovers put into the fridge.

Out came the card tables for Bridge. And we would sit around and sing with Uncle Vermonster. House at Pooh’s Corner, Leaving Mother Russia, Let it Be.

Some hours later, we’d pile into the car (the Merc and, later, the gas-guzzling, diesel only please, Caprice Classic) and, having changed into pajamas long ago, fall into bed as soon as we made the long journey home.

[OK — so it wasn’t a long journey. More like a twenty minute, straight shot down the 405. But with imaginations fueled by Laura Ingalls Wilder, we pretended to be tucked into the back of the wagon, snuggled deep into fur throws.]

And sleep. Lazy, uninterrupted sleep. Matzah Meal Latkes for brunch. And a relaxing day before us.

What do you want to do today, Ferb?

Let’s pretend that we’ve been stranded on a tropical island

And every tropical island has a waterfall.

So we snaked the garden hose through the branches of one of the trees in the backyard. And turned the spigot. Instant waterfall.

Some time later, our parents discovered what we had been doing all afternoon. They failed to be impressed with our creativity.

If you don’t get cleaned up immediately, you will not be allowed to attend tonight’s seder.

I wonder. Was it the flooded backyard that elicited that response? Or the sight of three remorseless, mud-covered children?


Remembe(RED) is a memoir meme. This week’s prompt was a photo of a hose, meant to take the writer back in time. In 700 or fewer words, the writer must show where memory takes her (or him). As I learned, the wonderful thing about a photo prompt is there really is no telling where an image might lead. Or, perhaps I just have matzah on the brain…
As always, constructive criticism is welcomed.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday, 12 April 2011 12:29 am

    three remorseless, mud-covered children?

    And who was the ring leader of this group?

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 April 2011 3:48 pm

      I don’t know. (It was a long time ago….)

  2. Tuesday, 12 April 2011 3:23 am

    A fun memory. I love all of the details of the celebration and how they led to this lazy day hose adventure.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 April 2011 3:50 pm

      Thanks, Carina. When I first saw the picture, I thought of the make-believe island. As I started to write, however, I realized that I ought to provide some context. I worried if it was too much, took away from the core story, etc.

      Guess not 😉

      Thanks so much!!!

  3. Tuesday, 12 April 2011 4:12 am

    I loved getting a taste of your Passovers!

    This line: “having changed into pajamas long ago, fall into bed as soon as we made the long journey home.” really warmed my heart. Why is it exciting and cozy all at once to ride home in pajamas?

    And for the record, I for one am very impressed with your creative game! 🙂

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 April 2011 3:51 pm

      The only difficult part was that I often fell asleep in the car and hated having to get out and go into the house.

      And thanks, lady. We thought it was a really good use of our imagination.

  4. Tuesday, 12 April 2011 9:09 am

    I love how you tied this together to include an educational lesson for those not familiar with the holiday, etc. Fantastic. Chad Gaya is an important song of my childhood, as well, though I can barely remember exactly when I learned it!

    The last two lines were fabulous. I can hear your parents’ voices. I don’t know what we did during the days of seder. I know we weren’t muddying it up, but we were always ready and waiting for family to arrive. Ah, I’m a little homesick now that I will miss yet another seder this year! Thanks for sharing!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 April 2011 4:46 pm

      I am so glad that this brought back some fond memories. I sometimes fear that I have romanticized the past celebrations…

      I can say with all clarity that we never muddied it up again.

  5. Tuesday, 12 April 2011 3:24 pm

    I loved the memory!
    It’s amazing how much it sounded like my own childhood traditions, even though I’m not Jewish. I especially loved “Uncle Vermonster” as I live in Vermont! Here, it is a very large ice cream treat at Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop 🙂

    For concrit, I’d say there were a few minor points of punctuation. In the line “Elijah had (not) come and (,therefore, not) gone,” I would only include each “not” within the parentheses. “…Mama Bear’s favorite part.” should be connected to the next sentence with a comma.
    I was also a bit confused about time. I thought that first day of Pesach must be the day after the Seder night, and you were home because you’d been up so late the night before.

    The end sounds just like a scene that so many of us have seen, either as children, or parents, or both! You brought that memory back vividly for me.

    Thanks for sharing! Great post.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 April 2011 4:53 pm

      Thanks for the suggestions. As you can see, I have taken them to heart.

      You are not confused at all! We count our days from sundown to sundown. So the first day of Pesach technically begins at sundown with the seder and continues the next day until sundown, whereupon it becomes the second day.

      Example: This year, Passover begins on Monday, April 18, at sundown, and continues all day on Tuesday, April 19. At sundown on Tuesday, the second day commences.

      My uncle has lived in the Green Mountain State for a few decades. 🙂

  6. Tuesday, 12 April 2011 9:05 pm

    I am so glad to have come across your post. I enjoyed reading about the parts that are common memories for me, but even more about your Jewish culture. I was raised Catholic, but my first cousins, who lived several states away, were raised Jewish. I knew some yiddish words, I was introduced to keeping kosher and heard about their bar mitzvahs, but I didn’t know a single person in my town that was Jewish. I love the fondness and tenderness you spoke with about this memory in particular. Thank you for writing!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 April 2011 11:23 pm


      Passover is the most widely celebrated Jewish holiday and my guess is that it has much to do with these kind of memories. Unlike many of our other holidays, the Passover rituals are celebrated primarily in the home. So there is a big family component to the observance.

      I am so glad that you stopped by, Frelle, and really appreciate your comment.

  7. Tuesday, 12 April 2011 9:20 pm

    Laura Ingalls. I honestly thought I was the only one who would ever find that a “romantic” means of travel when I was young. Though honestly, I think I was looking more for adventure than romance.
    Lovely job of weaving your heritage into the meme. It’s always nice to catch a glimpse of another life.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 12 April 2011 11:31 pm

      Thanks, Jess.

      Photos can trigger such unexpected associations. When I first saw the picture, I couldn’t imagine that I had anything interesting to say about a hose. That is when I suddenly remembered about that one Passover, so many years ago.

      It is possible, given that Passover begins in less than a week, that I just had the holiday on the brain.

      In any event, I’m glad that you enjoyed peering inside Frume Sarah’s World.

  8. Wednesday, 13 April 2011 9:35 am

    must’ve been the muddy children. 🙂

    well done! your imagery was great and I felt right there with you.

  9. Saturday, 16 April 2011 11:18 am

    Frume Sarah;
    I love all your blogs, and come back to them as often as I can.
    I envy your wonderful family life as a child, and now as a proud mother.
    When I was young, the Passover Seder was just about the only religious practice we had in our family. I still remember the great Pesach food and the close family ties. Hacksameah, Rivke.

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