My Tale of Two Cities, kinda sorta
If you knew me at all during high school, or even before (in grade school & junior high, that is) you knew I was somewhat shy and reserved and pretty naive, too. I pretty much kept to myself, not because I wanted to, but mostly because of my upbringing.
My folks expected me home after school; I didn't do much in the after-school activities, other than when I was in after-school track (ran the fifty-yard dash pretty good back then), or when I took speed-reading, or was in some other such club. I didn't even go to Wigwam, or other social activities, tho' I think I might have gone to folk dancing one time or two. I did go to the WAA dances (you ask the boy-type dances), but only every once in awhile.
Not that I didn't want to, but once again, because my folks wouldn't let me. I didn't drive til much, much later - beyond high school - not til I was closer to age 21 (sigh), but we won't go there.
I pretty much was a go-home-after-school type kid and that's just how it was. Being an only child had its negative side - as did having strict parents.
After high school graduation (1966), I went off (surprisingly my parents did allow this) to NE MO State (which is now Truman) - I think my parents were deciding that teaching me to be independent was working against them now. I wasn't quite as dependent upon them as they had hoped I would remain, but I only was away from home for two years, as it didn't turn out that NE MO State was for me... or maybe it just was college wasn't for me, or I just don't know, but home I came!
It is now 1968.
And back home again, too - I was told that until I was married, I would be living at home (smile). Back to losing my independent ways. Back to coming home after work, as back then, I still did not have my own car, and if the bus didn't get me to where I was going, or if it wasn't where my parents said it was okay to go, then I wasn't going there.
In the summer of '68, I signed up to take some evening classes, and was accepted at the Washington University University College, but still w/o a car, my dad would reluctantly have to take me to my class, and back home again, until one evening I met a fellow worker (I was working at the U. City City Hall then) and so he would take me home. We'd usually stop for coffee after class, but then he would drop me off at my parent's before he went on home. My mom was reluctant to have this guy take me home, but my dad was happy, cuz it saved him from having to come pick me up after my classes were over. I went for a year and then got a job at Brown Shoe Co.
It is now 1969.
I'm still not where I want to be in life, or so I think and tho' it's not really so bad at home, still I wasn't where I really wanted to be, and at that point, I wasn't really sure where I wanted to be, until one day in the spring of 1972...... (Oh, btw, I worked at Brown Shoe Co from 1969-1972.)
I was at the JCCA in a young-adult single's group - my parents kept asking me (I'm now 23, still living at home, but have my driver's license now and even a car, for which I'm paying for w/my own money.) when was I going to settle down, get married, raise a family and thus give them grandchildren!
I wasn't dating much, which was another reason my parents were happy I was in this young-adult single's group. One of the kids in the group was telling us that she was taking a class in beginning Hebrew (at the J) w/the Shaliach (representative of Israel) who was preparing people who wanted to go to Israel and live there - to ultimately leave the USA & live in Israel!!!!
What an idea!
I had approached a similar plan to my folks when the Six Day War broke out - not that I really wanted to be there during a war, but I wanted to go to Israel - actually around that time, I wanted to go into the Peace Corps, but my parents would NOT sign the papers, and being that I was still under 21 (then), w/o their permission, I couldn't go!
But now I might have the chance to go..... so I decided to join the class (I didn't need their permission to do so, as it was also a free class) and explained to the Shaliach (forgot his name) that I was interested, but hadn't yet told my parents, but could I still join the class, if only to learn Hebrew, which I hadn't learned in Sunday school (which is a totally different topic and we won't go there!).
He told me YES I could join, whether I planned on making aliyah or not was up to me. And so I joined the group, and still went to the young-adult single's group but w/no intention of meeting anyone, as it was now in my head that I was going to make aliyah soon..... I would have to wait til my car was paid in full, so I could then sell it, and have the money to pay for my own plane ticket, etc., cuz I knew my parents weren't going to help - they weren't going to be happy that I was leaving, but they really wouldn't be able to stop me either!
I guess you can tell I'm not good at making a long story short, so please bear w/me! (smile) Go get a drink while I continue on... (smile)
In August 1972, I give my parents a party with a double reason - their 25th anniversary party and a going away party for me - so on the one hand, they were happily surprised and on the other hand, they were not.
But in mid-August 1972, I boarded a plane for Tel Aviv, which would ultimately get me to ULPAN BOROCHOV in Givatyim, Israel, which is outside of Tel Aviv. It was a five-month extensive study in Hebrew - Sunday thru Thursday, 9am til 5pm and then Friday from 9am til 3pm, so we could get ready for Shabbat. Friday evenings and all day Saturday was an off-day, but classes resumed on Sunday! After the course was over, then I could decide where in Israel I wanted to go - work in the city or a kibbutz or a moshav, which could be decided later.
And so, I went... w/o my parent's blessing, but still, I think they understood and they didn't stop me! I would be gone a year, then could decide if I wanted to go back, or come home.
What was funny was that after classes started at the Ulpan, I was the FIRST to end up w/a boyfriend (not an Israeli boy but another American boy) - which was the last thing on my mind, but my parents were ecstatic when I told them. I'm sure they were thinking wedding bells and grandchildren were on the way, but it didn't quite happen that way, and not with him.
Anywayz, we remained boy friend/girl friend throughout the entire time at the Ulpan and then when the course was finished, he decided to go to a religious kibbutz and I went to a secular one. We continued to see each other until I met someone else - another kibbutznik from the one I was at and therein lies the rest of my story.
In January 1973, I left the Ulpan and went to Kibbutz Einat, near Petach Tikva (which is next to Tel Aviv). My second weekend there, I had invited a female friend from the Ulpan to come visit - she arrived on Friday afternoon and would stay til late Saturday, when the buses would start back up again (after Shabbat was over) (Tho' we were a secular kibbutz, the whole area shuts down because it is Shabbat.).
That Saturday afternoon we walked over to the football (soccer to me) field. All the young men (in their early-to-mid 20's) would be playing - there were a few woman, but it was the men I would be looking at and interested in getting to know better, as I had planned on living here. I was already in the process of my aliyah and it was a three year process to get aliyah automatically w/o giving up my US citizenship (Yes, you can have dual citizenship w/Israel.).
There was a playground nearby, so we sat on the swing set watching the guys playing. It was a hot afternoon and the guys had taken off their T-shirts (smile). I think they knew that we were sitting there watching them, tho' none of them came over to talk to me (They had only seen me around for a week and not ever seen my friend.) .
And so in the middle of our talking about all the guys and me telling her who each one is, from what little I already knew about them, a young Israeli guy (in his mid-twenties) comes over to the swing set and sits on one of the swings - about 3 swings away from us.
I had never seen him before, so didn't know if he was a visitor, or was someone who was only there on the weekends (perhaps a student), so we just continued talking, paying him no heed. We were talking in English and most of the young kibbutzniks didn't speak very good English, so we thought we were safe (smile).
As I'm telling her that this one guy is really hot (smile), we glance over to the guy and see that he's smiling - which would be an indication that he might understand what we're talking about.
And so, I ask him in English, "Do you understand what we're talking about?" and he replies, in Hebrew, "Lo," which is NO in English!
Well, if he didn't understand my English question, then why would he answer NO in Hebrew?? Soooo obviously he did understand English and so we just stopped talking altogether.
We had been caught and were quite embarrassed.
Shortly thereafter we left the football field and headed back to my room. It was almost dinner and she would be leaving soon to go back to the city, because she had to work the next day.
After she left, I went to the dining room for dinner. I sat w/some of the other volunteers (of which I was one, as well) and then I told them about my afternoon at the playground.
After dinner that same young man came over to my table, introduced himself, and said the reason I hadn't seen him before is because he goes to the University (of Jerusalem) during the week and only comes home every other weekend (on Friday) and then goes back early Sunday morning before his Sunday afternoon classes resume.
He asked me if I wanted to go listen to some music that evening and well (like I said earlier in my story - way way back up there - that I was still somewhat naive & shy), I told him that I had plans that evening! (Plain and simple, tho' I didn't tell him, they were to just relax, watch TV in the main auditorium (Ironsides would be on that evening and I was hooked on watching it and looking at the Hebrew subtitles) and I wanted to wash my hair before having to go into work early Sunday morning. - what an exciting evening I had planned for myself, heh.))
Anywayz, he walked off and met up w/the other guys (guys who earlier had been playing football (soccer). I figured I would see him again, in another two weeks or so.
So that evening, after dinner and washing my hair, I walked over to the main auditorium, a few minutes before Ironsides would start and lo' and behold in the second row was this guy - the same one who had asked me to listen to music earlier. I wondered why he was there instead of where he had planned on being that evening.
He didn't see me until later, when Ironsides was over and we walked out of the auditorium, not quite together, but at the same time. I waved goodnight to him, as I walked toward the volunteer cabins and he walked in the opposite direction.
Later would I come to realize that when he said he wanted me to join him listening to some music, it was to go back to his room, he would turn the stereo on and we would listen to some music. (smile)
Little did I know that months and months down the road, this guy would become my boy friend, the guy I had met on the Ulpan would go back to the USA and I would stay to marry the kibbutznik, have a child (in Israel), and then less than a year after that, come to the USA and then later divorce this guy (after having had another child, but this one born in St. Louis, MO) and that ultimately we are both living here, but have separate lives, except for when it comes to our children!
So there's my tale of two cities - kinda sorta....
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