Friday, February 24, 2012

Now Accepting New Members

Laurie Colton-Cohen and the SJG
The six of us, Elena, Kyle, Val, Liz, Laurie and the SJG, friends since Emerson and Uni, got together in Westwood yesterday to laugh our tushies off and reminisce.  Laurie schlepped all the way up from San Diego just to spend a few hours with her old pals.  We hadn't seen her in so long, we spent part of lunch debating how much time had passed since our last visit.  We settled on 12 or 13 years.  The next part of lunch, we spent reviewing the documentation Laurie had brought to prove to us that, guess what, she was, in fact, Jewish -- something my mother suspected all along.  "Welcome to the club," we said.  "We knew it!"  A friend of Laurie's had gone on one of those ancestral-family tree websites and traced things back to Russia.  On Laurie's mother's side, they were Kaplan.  (My mother's maiden name!)  On her father's side, they were Cohen.  But somehow, Cohen became Colton, and over time, everyone forgot they were Jewish.  Listen, these things happen.  So Laurie wasn't raised Jewish or Christian, but no one ever made a kugel in her house, no one ever put a cup of wine out for Elijah, and the family always had a nice tree during the holidays.  We drew our own conclusions.  With or without documentation, in our house, she was always an honorary Jew.  My mom would watch Laurie tear into an onion bagel with cream cheese and lox and say, "You're Jewish."   And now, it's official.  The rest of lunch, we taught her various Yiddish words that would come in handy, now that she was one of us.  Kyle said, "It must bring you such nachas that your daughter's pregnant."  Laurie turned to me.  "Nachas," I told her, "as opposed to nachos.  It means great joy."  "Knock-ass?" she repeated.  "Close enough."  We also taught her how to say tsouris.  She had a little trouble with the "ts" sound.  We'll have to work on that.  "Can you send me a list of Yiddish words and pronunciations?" "Nothing would make me kvell more!" I said.  Before we all hugged goodbye, out came the iPhones.  It was picture time.  Try getting a decent photo that six middle-aged women can agree on.  "That's bad.  Delete." "Don't delete.  That was a good one of me." "Not of me.  It's gone."  "Let's move.  There's too much glare from the window.  Okay.  Take it."  "Hey, not bad.  Oh wait, Carol's eyes are closed."  "Carol's eyes are always closed."  "Not always."  "You ruined half my wedding photos."  "But the other half were great!"  "Take another shot.  I look tired.  Delete."  "Take one with my camera."  "Take one with mine."  "How's it look?"  "Carol's eyes are closed again."  "They are not!  Oh, @#$%, yes they are.  Let's take another one."  "Wait, let me put on lipstick."  "Hang on, I need to comb my hair."  "We should've hired a makeup artist."  "No one's going to see these, anyway."  "Are you kidding?  I'm posting them on Facebook the minute I get home."  "Don't you dare!"  "You better not!"  "I always knew you had a mean streak."  "I'm just kidding," I said.  "Except I'm not."  Nothing like six gals having lunch together.  Six Jewish gals.  Next time Laurie comes to town, we're taking her to Nate n' Als. And then to temple.


  1. Comments from a brother who saw all these gals at various sleep-overs in the 1970s:

    1) Both Laurie & you look great!
    2) You all looked cute in PJs, as I recall.
    3) No comment regarding someone closing their eyes in many many many photos throughout the years with documented proof if anyone asks.

  2. You are my brother. Thankie. I blink, therefore, I am.

  3. Reach back a little further and we were all Jewish! Let me know the date: Nate n' Als with the six of you? But definitely!