READ ME ... yeah, right. Right?

I'm sick of everyone else having on-line diaries. I want one too.

What is this all about? Maybe you should read the READ ME READ ME.

november 10, 1996: after death ... comes life.

The new Dr. Dre video, "Been There, Done That," is beautiful and fascinating. What does it mean to Rise Up?

I come from a family of musicians, artists and performers -- through both my father and my mother. I usually pay most attention to my father's side of the family, since my father's mother is, basically, my favorite person on earth. But there is room for many favorites. Here is what my mother says about her side of the family:

We saw the Florentine Opera company's production of "The Barber of Seville" tonite and loved it. It has major significance from my youth.

In 1935 Joe Gecker [my mother's father, who died of a sudden heart attack when she was 21] and Helen Paykel [my mother's mother, who passed away about 2 years ago] married. They came from very different backgrounds. Oh yes, they both had parents who came to Milwaukee from Russia, and they both had lost their fathers before they met. Morris Gecker died in 1931 when Joe was 21, and John Paykel died in 1927 when Helen was 12. Their mothers were very different. Esther Paykel decided that she needed to read and write English if she was to do well in the new country, so she learned. She also dressed daily in a corset and long line bra, and never took her teeth out of her mouth in public. On the other hand, Anna Gecker thought that reading and writing English would be a big waste of time, and she never wore a bra, and took her teeth out whenever she felt like it. My favorite grandmother was the braless, toothless one.

Helen was raised with culture and class. Two of her sisters (Celia and Roz) had what is known as perfect pitch and were excellent musicians. Helen was a fine artist and seamstress. One of Helen's cousin's, Eugene Wasserman, was the architect who designed the still standing Hillel House on UW's Madison campus. Helen's first cousin, Dale Wasserman, wrote "The Man of LaMancha" for Broadway.

On the Gecker side, Joe was the only one of the three who graduated high school. Ida and Milton finished 8th grade. However, not to neglect their accomplishments, I state with pride that Ida was about the fastest and most accurate typist in the city of Milwaukee and was able to get any secretarial job she wanted. Milton, well we all know what his accomplishments were. Who cannot admire a gin rummy champ? Ida had a memory to beat all memories. I will never forget how one day she saw a woman at the Jewish Center and said, "Hi, Harriet." The woman had no idea who Ida was, and asked if she knew her. Sure, said Aunt Ida, I met you at my niece Merzy's house 20 years ago. True, I heard it. And Ida, Joe, Milton had a first cousin, Harry Gecker, who was murdered at some state fair in New Orleans, I believe, when he was about 21. His body was brought back in pieces to his grieving family in Milwaukee.

"The Barber of Seville" brings back the sharpest memories of my youth. When I was growing up, there was opera in our house a lot. My mother always listened to the Saturday performances of the Met. We had many different records of operatic arias. On the other hand, my dad really was a Sinatra and Louie Armstrong fan, and he didn't pay too much attention to the opera. Except to be able to do one thing: he was a great linguist and enjoyed center stage. Thus, he learned to lip sync the famous number by Figaro (the barber) which is sung about 10 minutes into the first act. So my memory is so clear: my mother put on the record of "Figaro", and I sat as an eager audience for my father to lip sync the whole number. My delight was great, and I can still see and hear the "show."

As a note of thanks to my parents I make sure that every year I teach my first graders the line of "Figaro" that I liked the best, and we do a great job of singing a bit of "The Barber of Seville."

Who says there isn't an afterlife?

Sometimes people vanish before they can be seen. They leave trails of crumbs, pigeon-picked and trampled on, yet still, somehow, glowing.

In a society where history casts its attention on people who tend to be the most ruthless, destructive and cruel, I attain some solace in remembering people who are gentle, modest, and dignified despite their means, and who leave a legacy of beauty and art.

serenade me.

wish upon a star





or, if you must, back to Rebecca's Revenge

Copyright 1996 Rebecca Eisenberg All rights Reserved.