I knew for sure that I was truly home. After getting my car serviced and being treated to lunch by O.B., I headed to Miami Beach to look at some studio apartments. The Macarthur Causeway took me across Biscayne Bay; past Palm and Star Islands (home to many celebrities) and into the heart of South Beach. I ruled out living there because of their impossibly heavy traffic and a very colorful array of people walking the streets in various states of sobriety.
I drove past the Holocaust Memorial, which takes my breath away every time I see it. / The Sculpture of Love and Anguish; a giant outstretched arm, tattooed with a number from Auschwitz rises from the earth; the last reach of a dying person. Every visitor has their own interpretation of it. Some may see despair, some see hope, some see the last grasp for life, and for many it probably asks the question to God ... "Why?" For me it's all those things and this: Never Forget the Six Million...
I drove past the Seville Hotel, where I had my Sweet Sixteen Party in January, 1958. A very formal luncheon. That's what was 'done' in those days. We hadmoved to Miami 6 months before my 16th Birthday. My Miami High TAO Sorority sisters were all there. I have a fabulous photo from that very special day of me beaming and looking lovingly at my Dad. May he Rest in Peace forever. Tears were still rolling down my cheeks as I parked my car at 34th and Collins Avenue.
I walked into the lobby of the Versailles Hotel. One of the first luxury hotels, built in the late 40's, that's now a Condominium. She's a bit faded from age. Kinda like me. No one was at the Security Desk so I asked the two men in the lobby where I should wait. One asked me why I was there. To look at some studios with a Realtor, who was late. He looked at my Obama tee shirt, smiled and said: "I'm not voting for your guy, and I have the best studio for rent in this whole building!" I laughed and told him that he can vote for Donald Duck for all I care, if what he was saying was true. It was. We went to Apartment
625. When he opened the front door, the magnificent view took my breath away. Ocean, ocean and more ocean. As far as the eye can see. When I finally looked down, the inviting swimming pool was awaiting my Olympic swan dive. I don't think so ... Beyond the pool is the Boardwalk.
Long story short &
it's perfect for me! Totally refurbished. Everything's brand new. The green and sand tones in the main room are soothing. Colorful hand painted fish decorate the walls in the bathroom. Everyone who knows me knows that for many years I've been collecting fish from all over the world. They're 'swimming' in every room of my Ashland home. We agreed on $825 a month; which includes utilities. A 6 month lease. My son Jeff is helping me move on Tuesday morning. I may never move again... Senior Jose Suarez, the owner, wants to speak with me about Senator Obama. Many Cuban Americans haven't forgotten the Bay of Pigs in 1961. They swore that they'd never vote for another Democrat. After so many years, I'm hoping that many of them will reconsider their vow. I've spoken to many, especially the younger generations who say they are voting for Obama.
Floating on Cloud Nine, I stopped at the CVS Pharmacy to pick up a few prescriptions. The friendly pharmacist, who's also from Philly, remembered me by name. She wants my Phillies hat. Everyone does. A woman who appeared to be close to my age told me that she was Dodgers fan. I told her that my
Rabbi was one too. "Who's your Rabbi?" I laughed and told her that I was from a small town in Southern Oregon, and that my Rabbi, David Zaslow was from Brooklyn. He had his Bar Mitzvah at Sea Gate Community Center in 1960. Ready for this: "I'm from Sea Gate. I know David Zaslow! We went to PS 188 together!!" David's response: "Wow, what a small world. Probably half my old friends from Brooklyn live in the Miami area now so who knows ... you might run into more." For me, being in Miami Beach is the closest thing to the feelings I had when I was in Israel.
As I was leaving CVS, I heard: "Hi Shelly &
How are you today?" I looked up and saw a handsome man wearing a yarmulke. I said: "Hello. I must know you."
He replied: "I met you when you came to my store last week." Hello Yakov! He owns Torah Treasures, a fabulous Judaica store that Rabbi Packouz told me about. I've been in South Florida for three weeks and I'm already being recognized at my Drug Store. It's probably my Phillies hat. Thanks Doris - You're the Best. You and Tina. I don't have the words to tell you how wonderful it feels to be Home ... Since I'm working almost 24/7, (not on Shabbat) I think I've earned an ocean front view. Yes I Have! Starting Tuesday, July 8 I get to fall asleep and wake up to the sounds of the Atlantic Ocean. And bury my toes in the warm white sand. ... Probably after November 4th. Yes We Can!
At home in South Florida