Village Life/Mentality

February 16, 2017 at 4:23 pm (Uncategorized)

Agi read with more than a bit of disdain my blog post that called the town in which she spent her formative years and where her mom lives now a village. I stand by it. Turns out, she’s decided she does now, too.

I woke up the morning after my (revealing) massage to learn (thanks to Agi translating the conversation) that the masseuse had called Elvira to offer her opinion about me and my lifestyle. Turns out, jogging is very bad for me and/or I engage in it too often; my knee caps were “too loose.” Walking would be so much better for me, easier on the knees. Also, I am too tired and need lots more rest.

I wonder if the conspiratorial pair also expressed my rather small chest? Likely.

I learned, too, that my walking out of doors with slightly damp hair would result in my unfortunate and untimely death. So that’s why, one very cold morning, Elvira lent me her hat. She was so pleased when she observed it on me; it covered my head very thoroughly, as well as wide circumference around it; it surely saved my life (but not my fashion sense).


Further, one morning, a friend of Elvira’s of 62 years (!), paid a brief visit. She wanted to see Elvira and also meet The American. Agi, Kati (pronounced KAH-tee), Elvira, and I had a brief conversation, with Agi translating all the while.

A portly Kati, age 82, and dressed (indoors) in a heavy forest-green wool coat and snug-fitting white knit hat, loved that I was enjoying her village and Budapest, too, the gem of her country. She talked a bit about people from her and Elvira’s past (most of whom had become “fat”) and, despite solely feeling pride in Budapest, she and Elvira agreed the cosmopolitan city’s inhabitants are “sad.” While Agi translated, Kati and Elvira both looked at me with doe eyes; the village brings happiness while the big city is a den of depression.

Unfair or not, I just couldn’t help but draw parallels between what I imagined my great-grandparents’ societal outlook had been before they escaped Eastern Europe’s pogroms and those of the village folks with whom I had the privilege to meet and interact.


At the end of her socially inspiring visit, Kati clutched my arms, looked up into my eyes, and – with Agi translating into my ear – wished me and all my family the best in health and happiness. From the pictures I’ve seen of my great-grandparents (from Poland and Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia), she could have been them. I nearly cried.

And I could never live in a village. My breasts are far too small…and my kneecaps too wonky.


1 Comment

  1. Bev Greenberg said,

    I love your writing. I feel I am right there with you but truly in a far more enriched way given your thoughtful,empathic and far reaching lens through which you embrace life. Thank you for allowing me to share your experience.

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