November 13th, 2005


Old Grudges Never Die

My old diary has a few more entries we'll be getting to, but I will also mine another source of nostalgia: a big green scrapbook with crumbling brownish pages. Here is an episode that was painful at the time:

I always loved doing clerical work. I'm an excellent worker bee! On the Kuder Preference Test in 9th grade, I scored highest in the Clerical and Computational categories (not surprisingly, jobs involving the outdoors or mechanical skills came in very low). I loved working in the junior high library, putting books in order, filing cards, making lists and that sort of thing.

So when I entered senior high I was eager to be a member of Girls' Service Club North. This group, and its brother organization Key Club, ran the school - working in the offices, selling refreshments, arranging the letters in the announcements board, etc. To join this selective club, you had to apply and be recommended by current members. As a lowly sophomore, I knew few upperclassmen. I got senior members Kathie and Cathy from my biology class to put in a good word for me (I was really smart in biology), but that wasn't enough.

My scrapbook contains the following mimeographed form letter, folded and addressed to me in Homeroom 9:

"We regret that your application to Girls' Service Club has not been accepted at this time. There was an unusual number of applicants, and our membership is limited. Our conclusions were based on:

1. Evaluation by present club members
2. Evaluation by the faculty
3. Evaluation by the executive board
4. Qualifications which seem most suitable to a service organization

We thank you for your interest.

Freddi Gingold

Sigh. Kathie and Cathy were very apologetic when they heard, and I went on with my life. I was able to work in the library 2 periods a week even though I was not in GSCN, excelled in school, helped edit the newspaper, was on the Math team (though not first string), twirled in the Majorettes, and was in several school clubs.

Apparently word of this seeped through to the powers that be at GSCN, for my scrapbook contains another folded slip of paper addressed to me in Homeroom 9 (we kept the same homeroom through all of senior high) dated February 6, 1968 (junior year), written in beautiful calligraphy: "Because of the interest you had in Girls' Service Club North last year, the present officers would appreciate your attending a short meeting this afternoon at 2:50 in room 219. Joyce Jaffe, Secretary."

There was only one problem. I had a math meet that afternoon and had to be on a bus heading out to another Long Island school at the time of the meeting. (I remember the team sitting on the bus and yelling to another bus carrying a sports team, "Brain over brawn! Brain over brawn!") I don't remember how or if I got word to them that I couldn't make it, but I think (or hope!) I did. I heard later they were astonished that anyone would not show up when summoned.

The scrapbook next contains a Student Hall Permit from 2 days later, filled out for me with a time of 2:38, with "Report to Room 219 IMMEDIATELY after school for Girls' Service Club business" written on back in the same beautiful handwriting. I went, and was interviewed by officers Debbie Rubin and Risa Rosenthal. I don't remember the session exactly, but I think it was cordial as I tried to impress them with my dedication to work and service, and apologized for having to be at the math meet previously.

Whatever I did wasn't enough. The scrapbook has no further written evidence (though it might be around somewhere), but I was rejected from GSCN yet a second time. Humph, their loss! Looking at the club's picture in my senior year yearbook, by then I knew plenty of members (including my college roommate J). But I wasn't among them.

I worked in the library all through school. Shortly before graduation, I was given a rare privilege. The old school building had a distinctive tower, but access was locked. I had no idea what was up there. One day the librarians asked me to help them bring books up to... the tower. Wow! It was a storeroom. As we worked in the musty room with the midday sun streaming in through old, clouded windows, I felt truly part of the school and its traditions. Even though Girls' Service Club didn't want me.

From the school's web page, it appears that GSCN is no more and has been absorbed into the presumably co-ed Key Service Club.

(illustrations now at

Back to the Present

Sometimes this blog makes it seem like I'm living in the past, but current life has been busy, too.

Shoe update: sandals still missing. Socklike slippers were found in a pile of clothes. (And a pen I'd misplaced was found on a table next to the pencil sharpener.)

Health and insurance update: Cigna fixed their provider records and paid the ear infection claim (though according to the online records, they may have paid it twice)! They also paid for the Labor Day weekend ER visit for roofing disease. I still have faint scars.

Yesterday was the NJ Puzzles and Games party at Wrybosh's gorgeous townhouse. I would buy one immediately if I could plunk it down in the middle of Manhattan, only then it would cost way more than I could afford.

Jeffurry and I took the bus out early so we could work on the Puzzle Boat (Treacle had to work, and the rest of our team couldn't make it). In between admiring the premises and shmoozing with Wrybosh and Elisa (somehow I don't think of Wrybosh as Martin and don't think of Elisa as Emanon), we finally cracked Billie Sings the Blues, which Treacle had laid the groundwork on. Definite teamwork all around. I printed some puzzles I didn't have. We worked on Hollywood Squares, but still don't have the endgame. G Natural later gave us a clue that may or may not help.

People began arriving, and we put the Boat away. I enjoy the NJ gathering, since it's a different crowd than the usual NPL events (not that I don't like NPL events, but it's good to mix it up sometimes). Mostly "regular people" (as in, they have lives and families) from NJ, friends of Wrybosh and his friend Murray who also hosts on occasion. The regular people brought regular food (as opposed to my feeble offering of store-bought diet meringues for dessert), and there was a varied selection of interesting homemade dishes. Since I tend to forget people from one year to the next, it's a good thing we have nametags. There was a sense of fun and camaraderie, nothing high-powered, lots of laughs. Nice group.

The first game was "Dream Jeopardy" where people suggested their ideal categories and then were asked questions by others. I couldn't believe that people couldn't think of a satisfactory question for my '60s Music category ("Who had the best-selling album of the '60s?" would have been impossible to accurately research - according to what criteria? - let alone answer), but I nailed the Reality TV category by asking expert Jeffurry who the finalists were in Apprentice 2, which luckily he watched and no others knew (the scoring was complicated, but the idea was to ask something the expert knew but no one else did). NPLer Groucho scored by knowing not only the 5 well-known Marx Brothers, but another one who died as an infant. We heard raucous laughter and stomping above (we were divided into 3 separate groups), and wondered what was so hilarious upstairs. But our game was OK, save a few strange categories like Textbook Selling and Retirement Communities.

Everyone reunited for a group game of true-or-false urban legends. There is a lot of weird stuff out there, some of which is even true, and some of which moderator Murray totally made up. Wrybosh reprised his "find a word with these letters in it game" from Stamford, where Scrabble tiles are drawn to add one letter at a time. I had no memory of it because I was busy being nervous about my twirling performance at the time. It was not easy, and some of the attempts at words were ingenious if nonexistent.

After a dessert break (for which I was thankful I had diet meringues to eat - there was also homemade fruit salad), G did an acronym game. He mixed in the real answer for various acronyms with teams' suggestions. By now it was late and we were punchy, especially a raucous group at the dining room table. Some of the suggestions were this side of X-rated, but hopefully didn't corrupt Xemu's young daughter for life. Xemu's whole family was there at one point, and I had to warn "Little girl underfoot!" when his adorable youngest moved among the crowd in the kitchen.

Jeffurry and I got a ride back to Manhattan with G and his girlfriend, saving Treacle a trip into the city. It went quickly, and it was nice to get to know Jessica. I hadn't realized G subbed recently at my ex-job when one of the researchers left temporarily to write sports trivia; I'm glad they didn't forget about him. Things are reportedly fine there (what? the place didn't completely collapse without me?), and they even have pizza Fridays and soda (but no daily bagels like in the good old days). I still don't miss the work and I still love the concept of retirement (though I can't seem to stop taking on assignments), but the people there were good. I will be in touch.

After that wild party last night, I haven't done a thing today other than getting groceries and talking to Florida. Oh well, there are a few hours left to make a dent in the large print puzzle book I finally got last week (due December 2).