Elliot's Essays

Her Baby's Baby

Many of us are lucky enough to have felt fully loved by our parents. But, let’s face it, when it comes to being absolutely, unconditionally ADORED, please step aside, Mom and Dad, and do come right in, Grandma and Grandpa — wait, is that super toy you’re carrying for ME?? And of my four grandparents, all of whom I was lucky enough to know at least as a young child, it was my Grandma Zivien (ZIVV-vee-yen) who held the title of World’s Greatest Kveller. Now “kvell” is a Yiddish verb meaning “to brag”— but not just any kind of brag. It’s the kind...

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A Tonsillectomy -- With Fudge On Top

Anniversaries are funny. On the one hand, they remind us to celebrate or commemorate important events in our lives: birthdays, weddings, deaths. And yet every year, hundreds of personal anniversaries pass by on our calendars for totally unremembered events: the day we started kindergarten, getting our drivers license, our first kiss. Here’s one of my own incredibly insignificant anniversaries that I should not remember but do: today, March 28, 2022, is the 67th anniversary of the day I had my tonsils removed in 1955, age 6. Why do I always remember it? I’m guessing it’s because it was the first time I...

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When The Road Rose Up To Meet Us

Are there any of you reading this who traveled with me between 1982 and 2008? This was an exciting time when I would lead travel-learning trips abroad under the supervision first of Carol McMillan (1982-1996) and then Dr. LeRoy King (1997-2008). We called ourselves “Dickens Disciples” and then later “Dickens Destinations.” I would lecture on site at least five times during our ten-day sojourns, and a grand time was had by all.  Because Dickens was front and center in our travel name — and, let’s face it, in my life — I came up with the gimmick of publicizing that...

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My Friends Call Me Weisenheimer

This last day of February brings to mind my Great Third Grade Comeuppance. I was certainly the most over-eager student in Mrs. Goode’s classroom. Somehow, I had single-handedly captured the title of “Class Smarty-pants, Know-it-all Weisenheimer.” Granted, I was of the “If You Know It, Flaunt It” school of knowledge (graduating summa cum loudly, of course). Small wonder, huh, that at age eight I was already on my way to a career as a university professor? My class nemesis was a girl as demure as I was obtrusive, as unassuming as I was always assuming that I was Teacher’s Pet. But was she...

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Will You Be My French Shoemaker?

Has there ever been a holiday more misnamed than Valentine’s Day? That is not a legitimate question, of course. It is a Rhetorical Question. I asked it only for dramatic effect and expect you, dear readers, to reply with an emphatic “NO!”   Actually, yes, Saint Valentine was a Roman priest martyred on February 14, 270 AD. And yes, he might have defied the Roman emperor by secretly marrying couples to spare the husbands from dying in Roman foreign wars. But, NO, his name had absolutely no connection with romantic love until 1,112 years later in 1382, during the Middle Ages, when...

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