hava nagilah, on repeat

At the Golda Meir House Senior Prom (this year’s theme: Hawaiian luau), Janine sat by herself, eating a piece of Costco cake. Tired from the Chicken Dance and armed with the instruction to let no resident sit alone, I joined her, awkwardly asking her if the cake was any good. “Too sweet,” she said. She had a picture of herself and a few friends standing against the “Aloha” backdrop — a photographer was snapping photos, printing them instantly and placing them in 4×6 lucite frames. Janine told me she liked to read, but couldn’t as much anymore because her eyesight was starting to fail. She pulled out a pocket magnifying glass. “It helps,” she said, but she gave me the sense that peering through the tiny lens was no way to enjoy a good book. She does watch TV, and was all caught up on the Anna Nicole Smith story. We agreed it was sad how she was so overexposed in the media.
Janine is from Vilna, Poland. She moved to the United States in 1951 and lived in the same house in Netwon for 44 years. She waited three years for a spot as a resident at Golda Meir, and when it came time to move, she sold her house and made a nice profit.
As the prom ended, we wished each other well and said we’d see each other next year. “I hope so,” she said.

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