So when I was a kid, going back 50 years, there was a place in upstate NY called the Jewish Alps, also known as the Catskills. Oh, it’s still there, now with casinos. Back then it was filled with resorts: Grossinger’s (my favorite), The Concord, Kutscher’s, The Raleigh, you get my drift.
These were huge, affordable hotels for weekend getaways for us po’ city folks who went on “vacation” once a year, often times with a club from somewhere (in my case, a women’s handball club) which “group buy” helped make it affordable.
So I’m about 10 years old in 1967 and we are in Grossinger’s and Jenny Grossinger, the doyenne of the family, is making the rounds of the thousand or more guests. We are in the nightclub watching the great comedians of the day and my mother, whose name, Penny, derived from the depression where she’d wait for her dad to come home from work to hopefully give her a few pennies to buy a stack of candy, was in the process of purloining whatever she could get her hands on: silverware, a drinking glass, you name it towels with the hotel name emblazoned on them which they encouraged you to take so others in your home would see them.
When all of a sudden Jenny comes over to our table, and my mom has a lap full of forks and knives. I’ll never forget it.
Jenny didn’t notice, or pretended not to. The show ended, it was a late Saturday night, and I get up, hug my dad and say I’m tired, lets go to sleep.
I look up and it wasn’t my dad but a perfect stranger.
You see, my dad slinked off so as not to be associated with my mom’s pilfering.