This is poignant, as the En 1969 diary chronicles a visit by some Montreal relatives. Sadly, Jack and Miriam's daughter Doreen died in her 40s, leaving a husband and 3 kids.
Saturday, August 23, 1969
[Aunt Riva's family was in town for a wedding and Deena would stay on all week, cousin Doreen was also coming to visit, and cousin Michael, son of Aunt Yettive, unexpectedly came by after going to Woodstock] Daddy and Doreen got here from the airport at noon. Aunt Riva called and said everyone immediately peeled off his clothes to go swimming upon arrival at the motel. We talked to Doreen about dieting. Uncle Jack was on a diet and lost 30 lbs. Then the back door opened to admit the Soichers, and Micky in back. Lunch was announced. It was cold cuts we ordered yesterday. Micky [the oldest cousin] said to Mommy that we cousins weren't so bad after all.
J called during lunch and said the Johnson Hall head would be in for about an hour on Tuesday morning, and could give us a definite decision then. She wouldn't be back again until after Labor Day.
All the girls but me changed into shorts and they jogged around the block while I tagged along pathetically, too ashamed to jog, toting my pocketbook. Everyone was in the driveway, and they laughed as I passed. [I still carry this image of myself trudging along in a dress, carrying a pocketbook.] We ended up in the park [across the street], and then went walking. It got hotter and more awful as we strode on. We decided we must rest, and went to the Kensington Deli and ordered water and iced tea.
At home, I invited C to come to an "Exercise-In" later. We had been taking turns at the rotocycle. After dinner, she came with her sister. We all talked about camp experiences. "Parsley, Sage" album was on, and after it finished, impulsively C and I performed our great piano duet repertoire.
We later went to Howard Johnson's. Service was slow, and we were immature. C and I had hamburgers, her sister a big sundae, Doreen ordered a straw for her water and Linda iced tea. Deena had a hard time getting out to go to the bathroom when Doreen blocked her way. We wrote notes to the waitress telling why we weren't leaving a tip, in jest.
Sunday, August 24, 1969
I heard everyone mumbling if they should wake me, if I'd be mad. Linda was chosen and sat on my bed. I was surprised that they were dressed and that it was around noon. They were going to walk into town, to the drugstore, but they would have to wait too long for me so I told them to go on ahead. When they got back, they said they were walking in the street when a lady in a car screamed at them while her kids yelled epithets.
Everyone wanted to swim at the motel. I didn't want to, but Deena cornered me and begged me to go, even if just to sit around and read. I grudgingly consented. We all squashed into Nana's car and went to the motel. Deena's family wasn't at the pool, so we went around the back to their room. The beds were still unmade, and they changed. I decided not to stay - I couldn't read in the room and it was hot outside and would be icky sitting on wet, suntan lotiony chairs. So when Mommy knocked on the door to say she was going home, I came along. [Cousin] Leonard thought I was dumb not to want to wear a bathing suit.
All the kids came back to our house when Aunt Riva and Uncle Percy left for the wedding. Leonard wanted to play chess, but I didn't really remember. Dinner was barbecued franks and hamburgers. After dinner, we went to the kiddie playground of the park. [Cousin] Judy got dizzy as Leonard pushed her on the merry-go-round. Murray carried Judy to the top of the geodesic dome, where she proceeded to hang and swing agilely [she later became quite a good figure skater].
We thought of playing badminton, but lacked enough rackets. The 4 of us girls went over to the P's next door, and borrowed some. We started badminton in the P's yard, where it was hard to see and mosquitoes bit up my legs. The rest (boys and Judy) joined us. Mommy soon wanted us home, so we went inside to return the rackets and thank the P's, and told A's bridge-playing friends that Doreen played bridge and would be here all week.
Back home, we played a twister sort of game where people are tied together and have to climb out. Then Old Maid. Eventually all the kids, except Judy, gathered in the kitchen. We had been doing the can can when Leonard came in. We reminisced about family. It had a good atmosphere. Aunt Riva and Uncle Percy got home past 12.
Monday, August 25, 1969
The Soichers came to say goodbye, in a hurry because another relative who was at the wedding wanted to come back with them and had to be picked up. Deena got money from her father. The other 3 wanted to go shopping, so they left on foot for town. I didn't feel like going, so I stayed home. While they were gone, I ate the whole apple cake, and claimed I threw it away but in reality only discarded the box.
J called. [general gabbing] She urged me to call her if anything came up about the room, and said she'd be sitting tight tomorrow morning. So will I, needless to say.
While Linda watched "Dark Shadows" the rest of us cousins sat in the kitchen with Mommy and talked of school, sewing, dieting. They decided to go into town, Linda too, to get gum and walk, but I was too hot. Linda reminded me I was forever a party pooper, but I really had no desire to go. They came home, tired and hot, and I became contagiously tired, too. For dinner, we went to the Steak Pub in Green Acres in Valley Stream. The place was huge, and reminded me of the Concord.
We got home at 9 and I rushed to the bathroom. The phone rang. I heard Daddy asking what number the person wanted, and then heard his call, "Ellen!" [whenever a boy called asking to speak to me, my father would think it a wrong number or go, "Who?" in apparent disbelief that any boy would call me] I picked up the phone to hear M's voice as he invited me to a party J was having Thursday. "Is J home from camp?" I asked. M replied that he was and what's more, would talk to me in a minute. J finally got on. He turned off a radio and complained that M always blasts it. He noted his parents wouldn't be home. I hope there won't be any smoking or drinking at the party. Mommy does not want to let me go. She said I must get Deena and Doreen invited or not go at all.
Tuesday, August 26, 1969
I was determined to participate and joined the excursion to the school and Daitch. We had a pleasant walk in the not TOO hot weather. It started drizzling and we called to arrange for a lift. Mommy got Nana to come. Papa was in the car, too. Once home, we sat in the kitchen. Deena tried a home remedy for hair straightening on me, pulling my hair back into a clipped down ponytail. It sort of worked.
Oh yes, J called while I slept and she called the Johnson Hall head who said we may not get the exact suite we specified but chances are good for SOMETHING. Relief!
We went into the city and got tickets to "Cabaret" which I scorned as "family entertainment." We ate at the steak restaurant in the Hilton. The meal was much more expensive and elegant than yesterday's but not all that much better. The show was showy and I thought of the parody in "The Producers" of lavish Broadway shows. There were chorus girls, forgettable songs, predictable plot. It certainly wasn't "family entertainment," though, with whores and sex and risque jokes. We stopped to pick up hot bagels on the way home.
At home, Deena called her parents and then Eastern Airlines to cancel because Daddy will drive them up. We might go too for the day.
Wednesday, August 27, 1969
This might be the final entry in this book [it was, but there's another book!]. This morning we walked to Frederick's [newsstand, soda fountain]. I bought the new 17 and Deena some gum. F [a year ahead of me] was waiting near the door. I greeted him and he said, "Hi, Ellen. How are you?" "Fine" I answered, to complete the scintillating interchange as he left. He looked good.
[long day of shopping] Beauty parlor began when we brushed Linda's hair to straighten it before it dried. She looked sort of like Goldie on the old Smothers Brothers show. When discussing plans for tomorrow night, I timidly mentioned my desire to attend the party, and Doreen said she'd like to meet my friends. The cousins might feel strange at a gathering where there will most likely be address collecting, reminiscing and farewells. We did some Mad Libs before bed, which turned out hilarious. I forgot how funny that was.