Debra Metelits

  • O Auschwitz Dead,  What’s In A Name?

    O Auschwitz Dead, What’s In A Name?

    To know changes nothing. And yet I have an aching desire to know. As I believe is true of most Jews, I have always had a visceral intense, rocking back-and-forth, mute horror about the Holocaust. But only a few years ago did I learn that three of my mother’s family members were detained at Auschwitz,…

  • Oh, Oprah, Am I Wrong to Expect More?

    Oh, Oprah, Am I Wrong to Expect More?

         The brilliant, inspirational, and powerful achievements and philanthropic acts of Oprah Winfrey would seem to me to make her immune to false societal messages about females, body size, and age. So I could not help gasping in shock when I first saw her Weight Watchers commercial while watching the Golden Globes. I was unaware…

  • 64 Secrets to a Happy 64th Birthday

    64 Secrets to a Happy 64th Birthday

        Remember that old Peggy Lee standard of “If That’s All There Is”?  In my adolescent angst, I listened to that song repeatedly, wondering if “that’s all there is”, then why not keep on dancing, drinking, chasing intense sensations?  (I was trying so hard to be a “good girl” that I actually didn’t dance, drink,…

  • Jenny Craig, Max the Dog, and the Divine

    Jenny Craig, Max the Dog, and the Divine I report sadly that the food sucks.  Although I look at myself as an inferior, less creative cook than most of my friends, Jenny Craig’s food led me to the epiphany that what my family has been telling me is true: I must actually be an incredibly…

  • Woman Chained to Armoire in Protest

    Woman Chained to Armoire in Protest

    I always admired the environmentalists who chained themselves to a tree to prevent it from being cut down, and fancied myself a free spirit who would be stifled by living in the same place too long. But now it has come time to downsize from our beautiful home of twenty-nine years — where we raised…

  • Re-Minding, not Teaching

    Re-Minding, not Teaching

         I suddenly worried that perhaps the women – some elders, some baby-elders (middle-agers like me)—thought I might have been condescending to them, might have thought that I believed I had good stuff to teach them.  The women at Temple Solel’s Rosh Chodesh group (a Rosh Chodesh group is a gathering of women who celebrate…

  • The Kindness of Strangers

    The Kindness of Strangers

    When Tennessee Williams’ famous character Blanche du Bois repeatedly and coyly says in her Southern lilt,  “ I have always depended on the kindness of strangers,” I think we are meant to see Blanche as both manipulative and overly dependent.  But,  whether it is weak of me or not, I do often depend on the…

  • Une Grande Dame

         As I turned to say good-bye, the words came, taking me by surprise :  She is “une grande dame.”   I hadn’t thought of that phrase since high school French (a class I barely passed), but I fuzzily recalled it meant “a great lady.”   When I was young, I had an image of a “grande…

  • Shh…Don’t Tell Her She’s Growing Older

    Shh…Don’t Tell Her She’s Growing Older

    When I was a teenager, my father would sometimes point out to me, in what he thought was a helpful way –  patting the skin above his own mouth and squinching his nose as if he smelled something  foul — that I had hair showing  on my upper lip and that I should use cream…

  • The Downsizing Process or “Goodnight House”

    The Downsizing Process or “Goodnight House”

         Do you hear that sad low-down jazz? It was starting to intrude as the background music of my life. “I feel like a motherless child”  circled through my head. I know that this sentiment of being unloved and lost  is grossly inaccurate and  melodramatic and full of self-pity, but I couldn’t stop it. Our…