Old Memories Distorted My Perception of the Present!

This is another “Who wouldda thunk it!” happening.   A week or so ago I took the M Train to a street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I don’t think I’d ever been on that street before. It was in the north end of South Williamsburg.  I was going to rehearse with an accordionist for my son’s birthday show of “Le Squeezebox Cabaret”.  While on the train, crossing the Williamsburg Bridge, I called a friend, who lives not far from the 59th St. Bridge in Queens.  For some reason, while I was speaking with her, my brain turned the Williamsburg Bridge into the 59th St. Bridge.  When I got off the train my mind was still in Queens.

As I walked toward Hewes Street, the street on which the musician told me he lived, I kept thinking about my childhood and how we never really went to Queens. It was walking on a work street and, for some reason, I didn’t think of the fact that there were many Chasidic men clearing packages from stores and putting them into a truck. It was only two days before Passover and, I’m sure there was lots of work to be done by the Kosher food storeowners. I think I, also, passed by a temple. Many Chassidic Jews live in Williamsburg. I kept walking and continued thinking about how interesting it was that I’d never spent much time in Queens when I was a kid and that I was so lucky to have grown up in Brooklyn.  (My family didn’t think too much of Queens.) You had to go there to get to the airport and it was the way to Jones Beach, which, while beautiful, wasn’t like Coney Island that had the Cyclone!  I could feel my body tense and feel like it didn’t belong in this less than lovely place. For the first time in years I felt there might be danger on the street – and it was daylight! Then my mind went to my son’s North Williamsburg neighborhood and how fabulous that had become with its gorgeous waterfront promenade and the great restaurants and clubs that had opened there in recent years, etc.

As I walked a bit further, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Hello! I was in Brooklyn!  I’d gone to Williamsburg – not to Long Island City.  My body suddenly felt warm and caressed and the architecture of the old buildings looked interesting and I felt them lovingly surrounding me.  I turned the corner and easily figured out where the building I’d be rehearsing in had to be. The street looked tree-lined and lovely. I got a kick out of seeing school busses with Hebrew writing on them.  My eyes were opened and felt the joy I get from walking through fabulous places – or what I deem to be fabulous.

I then realized that when I was thinking “Brooklyn” I felt love, warmth, history, excitement and ownership!  I feel that in London, Firenze, Sorrento, Napoli, San Diego, Tucson and Nashville – i.e. places in which I had great experiences in the past.  Manhattan and Brooklyn top any ioplace in terms of the joyful feelings I experience!  But, when I thought “Queens”, it was my dad’s thoughts about Queens that affected the very way my skin felt.

Once again, I realized there’s so much joy to be gotten from unlearning the judgments we were taught to make before we even realized we were choosing to make judgments.

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Published in: on April 15, 2012 at 2:46 am  Leave a Comment  

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