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Memorable First Date

Life Story Club Contributor

I wish it were a pleasant story. I was on a first date, I was on the train. We were getting ready to get out. And what happened was, I vomited, I regurgitated all over the train! So that was the end of my story with this gentleman, because I had to get off the train. And I couldn’t believe this is how I was having a date with him. God! Those stories you never forget.

We weren’t at a party before, but he was a young man with an early diabetic. I don’t know if it had anything to do with that. I really don’t remember, all I can tell you is that, the last thing I expected in the world was to puke on the train and have to get off.

We had a subsequent date after that. But that one really got to me.

Teaching

Life Story Club Contributor

Well I started teaching in a city university, and when I began to do that, I knew that that would be the place for me, but I had become a speech pathologist.

I had a funny incident with an old-fashioned professor-type, who said to me, “What do you plan to do with your life?” I said, “Well I don’t know, I’m thinking about being a speech therapist.” He says, “Don’t you think you ought to think about getting married?” That was the last thing I was thinking about, was being bogged by marriage. That was the end of that professor. Then I never tried another one, you know they assign you someone to be an advisor, you didn’t pick them. That was the end of that.

Where I started teaching, I did teach but I didn’t have a doctorate so they didn’t keep me past several years. But what’s become very popular, even with middle and upper-class families, is interest in some sort of occupation, here they want to become an electrician or something like that. As a matter of fact, I had a conversation wtih someone today who said, “My kid is academically oriented, but I’d like him to make a living, and the only way I think he can do it is if he studied in a particular field, like plumbing or something like that.” So more middle class parents are thinking that if their kids aren’t really heavily academic, they’re thinking about some occupation that would carry them through, get them into a good union. PEople, regardless of their backgrounds, are thinking differently than they used to. Because not everyone is Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. It’s different kind of looking at things, and more and more people are becoming interested in it than there ever were years ago. It’s kind of exciting to see what kids want to do and how they begin to think their lives evolve over an interest they picked up.

When my daughter, Janet, decided to choose a career, she was open to doing anything. Because she was a very bright kid, she’s still a bright kid, but I felt she raised herself. She came home, you remember those study books, where you read in a particular area? She for some reason found that interesting. Whatever she decided to do…she decided to become a clinical psychologist. she worked at the VA for her training. But then had her two kids, and that became kind of heavy, so I think that was it for a while. I don’t know if that would be your thought today, Janet. You kind of evolve over a period of time, one time you want to be a fireman, then a year later you say you want to be a policeman. So I don’t know if you would still pick the psychiatric field today…there’s certainly a need for it.

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An Extraordinary Day at Work

Life Story Club Contributor

This is related to New York City Technical College before it became a four-year school. It’s in Brooklyn on J-Street. I warned the students, as they were public speaking, that shouldn’t give us a story about how to make a gun and things like that. And this guy started to talk about something very trivial. All these students were planning on going to four-year schools, so we were trying to prepare them on that kind of level. This young man started to tell us about how he wanted to shave himself.

I gave him a C, and he was so mad at me, but that’s all he deserved because he didn’t meet the criteria. He was so angry. I got a package, during Christmas week. I came home and saw the kids with the Aide and all that, but little did I know that there was going to be an alligator who could barely survive. I said to the kids, “Oh, we better get some water on it or something.” He kind of hobbled along and then he died. We brought him over to the incinerator and that was the end of him. If a student gets mad at you, you never know what you’re going to get in the mail.

They sell them in Florida very cheaply. People wanted to take a little alligator home, so they wrapped them up, packaged them in a little box. The student really wanted a better grade and that was the only thing he could send to me. Many of these kids from that time who went to community college many times did it because they were preparing for a four year school and they didn’t have the prerequisites.

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Greatest Spectacle

Life Story Club Contributor

There’s no spectacle greater than the Grand Canyon, but most particular is Bryce National Park, which is quite a joyful scene. It’s a very unusual use of the stone and whatever God invented it. Bryce is quite unusual. If you take a donkey ride on it, you’d be very brave. No fencing or anything like that.

Maybe I was in my 20s and 30s. I don’t think it has changed since then. It’s there. It’ll be there forever and day. I don’t think they’d be putting in tables. There were plenty of tourists. It is what it is and it’ll always be. Same as any other National Park. I took loads of photos.

I traveled with my husband and with my children. We went to California quite a bit. My son lived there. We made use of it. We were all travel-minded.

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Life Story Club Contributor

My parents worked in Harlem. I had a business that was not there’s. They had no opportunities and didn’t have the money to travel. Very different.

In the summer I’d go to school elsewhere, like Athens, Ohio. A little tiny town. Very different. When I had dinner with some of the people they’d say, “We’ve never met anyone who was Jewish. We’ve never met one person who was Jewish.” I said, “Well, I don’t know if I have any importance, that’s just how I am.” It was a very interesting experience to take classes in such a small place. I made a travel trip across the country with a friend who recently called and surprised me. It was such a long time ago.

When I lived in Athens, Ohio, I already had a master’s degree. I’m going on 93 now. It was a long, long time ago. So there I was traveling again, cross country. This guy, he called me the other day, looking for Joyce Falstein. That was my maiden name. And we caught up with each other. He had married, but his wife had died. We chatted away. Now I have his telephone number. But we did a lot of travel together. But I can’t complain as an only child, I managed to escape.

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Traveling

Life Story Club Contributor

My favorite personal tradition is traveling. I wouldn’t say I counted by the years, but when I was about 26, I began to travel. Give up a job or do something like that. It was mine tradition. It was my own personal tradition. I sometimes traveled in a group, sometimes with a road scholar, and some of it was by myself. In India, I traveled by myself, although I was picked up at several stops in Northern India. It’s very different from Southern India. Everything is very different there. A very different kind of experience.

In Jumpar, the cows are holy. They’re allowed to go on the streets and the cars had to stop for them. But not in the other cities. We went as far as Nepal, which was so poor, but if you sat up on the rooftops you had company. You had chimps. And they just loved to sit up on your head. And you got familiar with them. That was another experience.

I think when I was on the plane, and I’d have a car picking me up to bring me to the hotel, if there was another woman, I might ask her to come with me. Usually an older woman. I was younger then. It was just a thing to do. Older British women traveled a great deal. They didn’t have the money to do very much, so they’d be in hostels and all that. This was a very different experience. I didn’t go to the most expensive hotels, the more business-like. We went to the same place with different backgrounds. It was very interesting.

When you’re traveling in India, you’re afraid to try new things sometimes because you’re afraid to get sick. You don’t have time to get sick. It was the same thing in China, in Shanghai, we had to be very careful. We were eating tourist-style, but you could get sick on that too. It was kind of embarrassing to leave the table every three minutes. My husband had no idea why I was leaving and I was just leaving to go to the kitchen which was closed off.

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The Evolution of Penn South

Life Story Club Contributor

April 7, 2020

I lived in Penn South since I was 61. In 2000 I was 61. And when I came in there were very few children. According to the other founders of this place, affordable housing was for older adults. And some of us still weren’t living in here yet. It took a while. After a while we all got to know each other, and we discovered we had 500 kids. And at that point they decided that between buildings two and three they were going to build, have a tree and a sitting area around it. And some of us had not been in yet. We had planned to move in. We went and talked to some of the other big cheeses. And we said, “We need a playground here.” I knew nothing about playgrounds at that time, although I had two small kids. I think they were two and four.

And so we looked around and we found something really cheap, like little tunnels. And the kids could go under the tunnels and play up there in that area. And then when we got a little more money, the whole picture of play areas for children evolved so that it’s now developed the way it is. When you see the old pattern of all the play areas from building 3B all the way up to building 10 with a variety of play areas. One of them has a swimming pond. We have water in our play area.

So the significance of children really emerged over a period of years where parents now were looking for a change in their little nursery area. And it’s made a big difference for people who are living here. So Penn South has offered as affordable housing some terrific things. Unfortunately, it’s getting a little more expensive. And so what the middle class could do before. It’s harder for them to buy in here, except if they get into the lottery. I don’t have much more else to say about my life. That’ll be another story.

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