At Play In The Archive
Hello, People. I’m back. No, I didn’t drown in a vat of gravy, but I did suffer a wee touch of overcommitment-itis that prevented me from immediately leaping on the surprise I will describe shortly. Last weekend was wonderfully bonkers, and it went like this:
First, Thanksgiving on Thursday, where we warmed the lovely new home of our dear friends the Nelsons. Charles is my husband’s best friend, best man at our wedding, and best host this side of the Mississippi. It was a delicious Thanksgiving, even if I did forget to bring the gin and juniper cranberry sauce I had so carefully prepared. Not to worry. It found another venue.
Thanksgiving was followed by the opening of Miracle on 34th Street at Coastal Rep on Saturday, for which I produced the opening night post-show gala: champagne and heavy hors d’oeuvres for 250 people in the decorated lobby (cue the cranberry sauce). Sounds glamorous, but no. It was a ton of decorating (which occupied several weeks leading up to the show), a ton of cooking (which I spent all of Friday doing), an hour or so of post-show gnoshing and gabbing, and then dishes and vacuuming until two in the morning. Did I mention that I’m the girl who is usually in bed asleep by 10pm? Without my dear husband and younger daughter’s help, I think I would still be over at the theater cleaning up.
Do I have a single photo of the event? Of course not. But here are a few shots of the prep work.
Sunday morning after the gala, our elder daughter Anna turned 21, so we hosted a birthday brunch for the girls who helped her to begin celebrating at midnight, and then slept over. She enjoyed beautiful flowers and balloons from Grandma Sue and Papa Lew in Panama.
And, some delicious bacon prepared by moi. I may have been a tiny bit off my game at this point.
Actually, the rest of brunch turned out just fine (and luckily there was an entire ham left over from gala, so the bacon incident was not a disaster). Anna was amply fêted, and we all had a wonderful time.
Monday, I went to work to rest.
So, what about the surprise? Remember this post awhile back? Way back in early September, I submitted paperwork for a copy of the actual marriage record. The day before Thanksgiving, just before the aforementioned insane flurry of activity began, I received an email from the very kind Ms. Irma Wurz, archivist for the Jewish Community in Vienna, containing a scan of the record itself. So much information is contained in this beautifully handwritten record, including the names of the parents of my great-great-grandparents Fanny and Hermann Spielmann, the towns from which they came, and their residences in Vienna prior to emigration. With some help from the Jewish genealogy group on Facebook, as well as the German genealogy group, I’ve begun the painstaking process of translating the document and unlocking its secrets. More to come on this in future posts. Suffice to say, I’m delighted that a brick wall appears to be tumbling down.
It seems rather funny to be unlocking the secrets of my Jewish roots admist this explosion of Santa and ham and whatnot, but such is the way my life works. I am thankful for it in all its messy glory, and thankful for all of you too, People.