Its All over,
New Years Eve. this year
at District, and Jewish
Students club, in conversation
with a fascinating girl Miriam,
Later at Jewish Students club.
Going home early in the morning
the streets down town were
still crowded with thousands
going home from festivities.
"It's all over," indeed. Papa's final diary entry gives us a nice little snapshot of his life at this time: The Zionist organizations and Jewish clubs he was part of; his guarded excitement over yet another intriguing woman; his walk home alone through a crowd of revelers, an echo of the way he started the year. And we know more about him now, too: he was an opera aficionado, a baseball fan, a movie lover, an avid radio listener, a labor activist, a deeply spiritual Jew, a devoted brother, a homesick child, a son who grieved for his father, a romantic soul, an unremarkable immigrant from Eastern Europe, and a remarkable figure to those who knew him.
He died when I was four years old, and, as it turns out, I've missed him every day since then. Still, I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have had the chance to spend this whole year with him in something like an adult conversation. Next year we'll see a conversation of a different sort, or one side of it, anyway, as we look at the letters he wrote to my grandmother during their long courtship. I'm looking forward to it, but right now I want to make sure I cover every word left in his diary, because he did write a couple of of more lines on the last "Memoranda" page, each separated by a little squiggle:
and not riches in the hand
Music is food for the soul
Jane Novak my favorite movie actress
Novak was a prolific, well-known actress in her day whose good-girl image probably appealed to Papa. Her career faded with the advent of talkies, though she did pop up in modern movies from time to time and published, in 1974, a cookbook called A Treasury of Chicken Cookery. It's no longer in print.