¡Olé!

Reading Time: 5 minutes After some thought, I decided I need to insert a small disclaimer about the bullfight. But what to say? I’m not a spokesman for anything. This is a memoir story. If you know me, you are aware that I care for and respect virtually all living things, including spiders, snakes, and scorpions. (I’m not particularly […]

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Wedding Band Leader: Part Two

Reading Time: 6 minutes From the late 1980s through the middle of the Great Recession—a period of approximately 20 years—I was active as a professional bandleader. One simple definition of “professional” means you get paid. Period. But in many ways, I’d been a professional bandleader since my teenage years, when our going rate was $15 each. Once I started […]

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The Duke and I

Reading Time: 5 minutes “Listen up, you guys. Maynard’s in town.” It was 1963 and the three of us, each 16 years old—well, one of us was only 15—were sitting in Mr. Masciarelli’s tiny office off the band room at Wantagh High School. We would often go there instead of study hall. Some of us called him Mr. Masciarelli. The rest just […]

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I Shall Return as a Dog

Reading Time: 7 minutes No one who knows me well would ever think of me as a dog person. Yet… My first dog-recollection is from early childhood. I was just a toddler, but recall that my mother had a black cocker spaniel. The only thing that I remember about this dog is that Mom would feed it scrambled eggs. […]

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La Quinceañera and the Gringos

Reading Time: 7 minutes Although I lived, worked, and attended college in California for seven years in the 1970s, I’d never had an opportunity to visit Mexico. It wasn’t until 1983 when I returned to California with Sharon that a trip to Mexico became viable.  For some stupid reason we chose to go to Cabo San Lucas. It wasn’t the […]

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Tarzan vs. Gutstein

Reading Time: 5 minutes Aunt Gladys was ten years older than my mother. Mom looked up to her, idolized her, and at times tried to emulate her. This was not always easy. My mother was just a girl when Gladys was already out of the house and living the exciting and envious life of a flapper. That’s how my […]

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Wedding Bandleader: Part One

Reading Time: 5 minutes There’s a place in heaven for wedding musicians. You just have to go through the kitchen to get there. An old saying. (I may have made it up.) I remember the first wedding I played. It all started innocently enough when one of my patients, Susan, discovered during our after-exam chat that I was a […]

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The Kid Who Dropped the Ball

Reading Time: 9 minutes For better or worse, there is only one person in the world who thinks of me as a baseball player. And it is not I.  Joe Stephan was the ace winning pitcher on our little league team, the Wantagh Panthers. I was on that team for three years, but it was during the second year […]

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As Long as You’re in South America…

Reading Time: 5 minutes One of the advantages of practicing optometry in downtown Berkeley, California was the opportunity to meet people from every conceivable place on the spectrum of humanity. One moment I could be chatting with a Pulitzer Prize winner and an hour later I’d be airing out the exam room after working with a homeless street person. […]

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A Book Event in Berkeley

Reading Time: < 1 minute Catherine deCuir and I will be reading excerpts from our book, “The Rabbi Finds Her Way,” this SUNDAY, July 21 at 3 p.m. at Afikomen Judaica, 3042 Claremont Ave., Berkeley. Hope to see you there! #therabbifindsherway #afikomenjudaica

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