October, 1976 Archive

Sukkot

Friday, October 22nd, 1976

Peace, composure. Gladiola in the red teapot in the blue kitchen. Dahlia in the medicine bottle on the little table.  Pumpkins on the mantle.  Two days of being with children, processing food—apples, tomatoes, hemp. The plants watered, the dog sleeping by the stove. Cleaning house. The dust and cobwebs and foodstains are gone, the outlines of the furniture, walls, floor are clear not fuzzy.  It feels good to look around.

And yet restlessness.  I wish I were writing.

Yom Kippur 1976

Monday, October 4th, 1976

Last night: The Seventh Seal at the College, followed by Roy and Eileen’s wedding reception at Lund.  Neil walked up while I was eating smoked salmon and drinking champagne and told me that it was Kol Nidre evening.  This morning I decided to fast and pray, but first a furious cleanup of Jonah’s room and the bedroom.

I dug out the bag of Tfillin I received at my Bar Mitzvah.  The blue velvet covered with dust and mold, the zipper seized with rust, the leather inside cracked and twisted, a hole worn through the gold embroidered star of David.  It was left under a leak in the cooler for two years.  Inside a stained piece of paper with Aunt Marta’s history of the Wertheimer family back five generations: “Steven Marx, great grandson of daughter Rose of Baruch Loeb Wertheimer, wife Jeannette, is Professor at Columbia University.”

Last night at the reception, June urged me to write and stop mucking around with distractions like theatre.  A dream recurrent: I’m in a cafeteria line, very anxious.  I have several classes to attend during my senior year.  I have an excellent record but I haven’t been to these last required classes in a long time.  I forget what the courses are, what the assignments, don’t know what the consequences will be, they may be terrible.  I wake up unhappy.

The crankiness and stomach pains from fasting have passed into a slow passive contentment like that I felt after the Gestalt group in the tipi. Reading prayer book, beating breast, dubbining the Tfillin straps and taping up the boxes, unsure of what’s inside. Jan comes home and I work with her canning tomatoes.