Monday, December 14, 2009

My First Intro to Zelda


I was recently thinking about the first time I met my husband’s Aunt Zelda.  She must have been around 65, just a little older than I am now.  It was my first introduction to “the family” and she took the train from Chicago to Detroit to see if she approved of her favorite nephew’s intended.

I hadn’t yet converted to Judaism, residing somewhere in limbo between religions.  For some reason Jews assume that if you are not Jewish, you must be Catholic.  They seemed somewhat relieved to know that was not the case with me, probably because Catholics are often more attached to their religion and less willing to convert.

My parents-in-law lived in a 2-bedroom apartment at that time.  As I recall Zelda and I shared the second bedroom, sleeping on the ancient twin beds once used by my husband and his brother.  My husband slept somewhere else -- living room couch, his parents’ floor, I don’t know.

At that point in her life, Zelda was still quite attractive.  Long upswept blond (bottle I’m sure by then), stylish clothes, heels, and a sharp tongue.  She didn’t miss a trick.

She was still working.  She was an executive secretary for Heineken, living in an efficiency apartment, eating tuna fish, and squirreling away all her earnings.  Or I should probably say investing them with my her brother’s (my father-n-law’s) advice.

So as we’re sitting around the living room getting used to each other, Zelda announces that she wants to sing at our wedding.  She loved to sing, knew a lot of songs, but didn’t have exactly the kind of voice I had envisioned at our wedding. 

I suddenly panicked that this new family of mine was taking over my wedding.  I ended up in tears in my shared bedroom, with my husband consoling me and telling me we could still do whatever we wanted.

I was treated like some sort of alien for most of the weekend.  But we must have parted on decent terms because they all came to the wedding.  By then I was Jewish, one step closer to belonging.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It takes a while to "grow" family! And yours seems strong to me.

So did Zelda in fact sing at your wedding, and if so, what tune?

F.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

You don't marry a person, do you? You get the whole kit and kaboodle, Zeldas and all.

6:37 PM  

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