Ten Jewish Baltimore Experiences
The top 10 funniest Jewish “Balmer, Murlan” experiences
Rona Sue London
Chicago has piled-high hot dogs and soaring architecture; Boston has Fenway Park and the Freedom Trail. Then there’s Charm City, with its unique sense of style, which prides itself on “hons” and their huge hairdos, Preakness and Poe, painted screens and purple Fridays. (How many cities would name their football team after an animal in a POEM! Tough? Yes, we are, but with a soft literary side.)
Combine these eccentricities with the quirkiness of our own Jewish culture, and we get things like the Chanukah House on Greenspring Avenue and the unusual shopping experience at Seven Mile Market. So gather the whole mishpucha (family) together and let’s kvell over the top 10 mishegoss that sets us apart, hon!
1 Don’cha know it’s time for your class reunion. No surprises though, since you see them all the time. Hug and air kiss so you don’t mess up your new hairdo and get ready to schmooze, sharing all the news since you last chatted, which was just last week.
2 Meet someone new with the question, “Where did you go to high school?” instead of “Where did you go to college?” If it’s your parent’s generation the answer might be Forest Park, Poly or City. If you and your cohorts are comparing notes, it could be Pikesville, Franklin or Owings Mills, the Park School or McDonogh. Be prepared for follow-up question beginning with the words, “What year did you graduate? Oh, really, do you know ... ?”
3. Hang ‘round with all the other “Balmer” Jews. Schedule as follows: Monday evening basketball at Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Pikesville High School or the JCC, Tuesday morning at Target, Wednesday lunch at Stone Mill Bakery, Thursday nightcap at Tark’s Grill, Friday afternoon at Panera Bread, Shabbat ice cream at The Cow, Sunday morn at Courtney’s Bagels and end the week decked in purple, cheering for the Ravens.
4. Get gussied-up with makeup, fancy clothes, your nicest “pockeybook” and jewelry for grocery shopping at Gucci Giant or Wegmans because you know you will see all your friends there. Get sidetracked with long, involved conversation sharing all your family’s business. Drive home, pull into the garage and suddenly realize that you left the store without the items you came for.
5. Swim at the Owings Mills JCC with the northwest crowd, then head to Reter’s Crab House, all the time taking pictures of the kids and playing matchmaker so another generation can carry on the legacy. Oy! Such nachas!
6. “Fuget-da-bout goin downy oshun.” Everyone is going to Florida at holiday time to visit Bubbie and Pop Pop in the land of sun and retirement. Take a morning walk, swim some laps, grab lunch by the pool, play some tennis and hit a golf ball or two at the driving range. Same crowd, different state.
7. If you are feeling cosmopolitan, catch the bus and head to NYC for the day. See a show and do some shopping. Just remember to be at Rockefeller Center at the right time with your portable dinner. Who knows who you might run into on the ride home?
8. Whatta’ deal. Shopping at Loeh-mann’s cattle call dressing room where there’s no privacy but lots of unsolicited opinions from your closest friends ... old and new. Wear clothes immediately and when asked, “Where did you get that great outfit?” proudly and in excruciating detail relate how you searched racks and racks of clothes and then turned your head and found the one and only Bruno Magli handbag left for half-off and on top of it you had a coupon.
9. Stop for a quick nosh at Baugher’s or Cozy’s Restaurant on the way home from dropping off or picking up your children from Capital Camps, Camp Airy or Camp Louise. Look around and see the kids of the camp friends with whom you spent hot and hazy summers in the hills of Cascade.
10. Pray on the high holidays in shul by hanging in the lobby talking with the friend whose parents were roommates at University of Murlan and whose Zadie dated your Bubbie. You and your buddies have spent a lifetime meandering these halls. Years ago you were the ones being shushed and now you are the ones shushing. Oy, those family ties.