Blanca Berger Sollod!
Or, in Jewish: Beyle Nekhome bas Kale Khane!
Today, Sunday (24 Teves in the Jewish calendar), we gave her a name and had a party. She is named after two folks, olevasholem, worthy of esteem. Blanca (or Beyle) Seifter was a elderly Czech-Jewish woman who lived with her husband Dalek next to my wife Celeste while she was growing up in San Francisco. Celeste and the Seifters adopted each other: they were her surrogate grandparents, and since they had no children, she became their surrogate grandchild. It seems they had lived a hard life, and did not find the world a congenial place to bring new people into.
Celeste would flee to them when the burden of parental rule -- homework, for example, or being made to eat foods she didn't like -- became too much. The Seifters would ply her with pound cake, bananas, and tea, this last served in a little orange mug-and-saucer. The mug and saucer now have pride of place in our kitchen. We save used tea bags in it so that Blanca can go to college. (This is Celeste's theory of waste-not-want-not. You didn't hear it from me.)
My grandfather, Nathan (Nachum) Nemirow, was a hard worker of practical intelligence who made his living in different ways. Among other things, he was a navigator in a bomber during the Second World War (competing with other crews to see who could calculate the fastest), and owned a bar in Denver for some decades after the war. He liked a joke and a Scotch. He used to complain, "How can you be so good at school and so awful at chess?" It should be only days before Beylke will be able to beat my pants off.
As they say in Yiddish, I hope that they will be good intercessors for our child, and I hope she distinguishes their names as much as they did in their lifetimes.
You can skip the following if you don't need more details about the people in the photos. Incidentally, pictures of the party are thanks to my friend from Caltech, Andrew Grangaard. Thanks, Andrew! (Though NB: Berger Sollod is her last name.)
Pictures 1, 2, and 3: various views of the social hall downstairs at our shul. Picture 4: me 'n' her. (More pictures of her passim.) Picture 9: your host and his wife.
Thanks, readers, for indulging me. Hope to see you by her wedding canopy.