Chopped Liver

There were two 3 1/2″ square Kodak instamatic snap shots floating in and out of view for 40 years. Long fallen from their crappy magnetic page , they moved from one random homeless picture pile to another. Now they’re in California and I’m already forgetting some details.

#1 A very cute boy with long brown hair named Jacey.  He is leaning forward with elbows on knees, sitting on a lounge chair at the hotel swimming pool.  Sitting next to him is my mother. She is wearing a Dorothy Lamore-esque one strap bathing suit top. Her white scarf is a crown of flowery shapes on her head.  Was she trying to protect her bleach blond hair from the sun?  She is staring forward, lost in thought and unaware.

#2  A tall young woman in bikini also sitting on a lounge chair. Like a magician with arms extended and hands in pre death metal stance, she is casting the spell “Chopped Liver”. I don’t remember what that means but back then, it made me laugh a lot!

Laurel and Jacey were a sister and brother I met on family vacation when I was 12. I never saw them again but could not bring myself to part with those photos. In a new years cosmic fit of inspiration, I scoured the internet and found a possible Laurel, wrote a letter and mailed it with those pictures. The following is what I wrote:

January 2, 2012

“Dear Laurel,

My name is Felice and if you are the woman in the picture, fluttering fingers while casting the chopped liver spell then I met you 40 years ago at the Marseilles ( why a french name for a Kosher hotel?) in Miami. Yah, I know this is really random and unexpected  but I have held on to those pictures for a long time! I am very attached to personal history and fascinated with the idea of time travel and that’s what we’re doing now…reaching back to a frozen moment in our history.

This is what I looked like:

I was 12 years old and carrying a recorder that I did not actually know how to play. It was a gift from my sister and it made me feel cool to pretend like I knew how. Back home I had not yet discovered my cool potential. I was unique but had not found my groove. Clearly, I must have met you at the pool and I don’t remember how but I was thrilled that these amazing older kids were interested in me! I didn’t feel awkward around you or Jacey. You invited me to go out with you and your friends for the evening and I remember sitting in a restaurant. We got back kind of late and my dad who could be scary was pissed and may have yelled at you 😦 ! That is all I can remember and I don’t know if we hung out all week or just one day and night.

I will say that the encounter was pivotal for me and I returned home a more confident girl:

I figured out how to work my differentness to my advantage and started to make friends. I mean, what the fuck? If I could impress three supremely interesting older kids,  how hard could it be to become a grammar school icon?

Now it’s 2012 and I was weeding out pictures of the forgotten but I looked at yours for the hundredth time and thought “Google”. There is one Laurel that is the same age, an artist which seems right with a picture that says “This could be my girl!” If I have found you I wonder if you will remember me? If not, that okay. It doesn’t change that you were important in my growth. I would love it if you will write me back.

Peace, love and happiness, Felice”

Some time passed and just when I was starting to think I had the wrong person, I got a message and it was HER and she did remember me!!! Laurel had grown up to be a talented and successful illustrator and I will attach a link to her website as soon as she gives me a thumbs up. Jacey became an Orthodox Rabbi, moved to Israel and had 10 kids. Not in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that path from the photo 🙂

So far we have just exchanged a few emails but I have high hopes that we will have ourselves a little reunion one day. The moral of this story for me is it really does pay to reach out and follow through. Every connection has some meaning and you never know where it will take you or maybe the whole point is letting someone know that they were important and remembered.

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