Friday, June 8, 2007

Monday June 9


Many things have happened
during the course of the last 2 weeks
which could not be entered on
account of being upset,

have induced me to see
some girls whom I did see but they
did not appeal to me in spite of
their money which I could use,

Don't think that I can depend
on . It is becoming to me
an ambition to marry and have
a child son which should carry
the beloved name of my Father (olam haba)
Joseph Scheurman.

I called up Mrs. Resnick and
made an appointment to visit
her and her husband this Thursday
I will be glad to see old friends


Matt's Notes

I haven't looked at this post since I originally transcribed it last December, but perhaps I unknowingly had it in mind while thinking about Papa's diary silence for the last week (I figured he fell into an uncommunicative funk for a number of reasons after he wired money home to pay for his father's tombstone). Papa's mood seems to be on a slight upswing, though. He started writing again yesterday, he's called up old friends on his brand-new telephone, and he's restated his "ambition" to marry and pass on his father's legacy. (I wonder if his unsuccessful blind dates over the past couple of weeks were helpful in their way because they got him thinking about marriage and heirs.) This is far from the end of his struggle with sadness, of course, but at least the forces of resolve and productivity are making some headway against passivity and depression.


Additional notes

Papa twice uses the Yiddish word "shadchanim" (the plural of "shadchan") in this passage to refer to the marriage brokers who aren't doing him any good. My wife, Stephanie, thinks there's a chance he's written "shadchanit," which would be the feminine form of "shadchan." His handwriting is a little hard to decipher, but you be the judge:

This isn't the first time Papa has written about marriage brokers rather dismissively. Maybe Jews from the old country generally regarded them with good-natured derision (see Yente in Fiddler on the Roof) but Papa, who believed in romance, probably found the whole matchmaking process to be distasteful. His attitude may also give us a glimpse of an old country tradition in transition; like midwifery or (to Papa's dismay) elaborate Purim celebrations, the shadchanim's business couldn't compete with the opportunities and services New York inherently afforded in spades.

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