Here’s another memory.
Once or twice every summer when I was very young, an elderly man whom we called the Troubadour came to the hotel to spend an evening entertaining the guests with story and song. He was short in stature, wore a kippah, and dressed all in black. His face as I remember was wizened but kindly, with twinkly eyes and a long, curly gray beard.
The Troubadour performed in our “casino” , a small building with a raised stage, an upright piano, and a stack of folding chairs, where the hotel’s festivities were held. Our parents allowed us to stay up past our bedtime to see him, and we kids would sit cross-legged on the floor, all vying to get as close to the stage as we could.
And although he spoke and sang in Yiddish and Hebrew which neither I nor surely any of the other kids understood, the Troubadour had us all mesmerized.
And as we watched we’d hear our parents and the other adults call out to him, and sing along, and laugh, and to our puzzlement we’d sometimes even hear them cry.
I don’t know if our Troubadour lived in one of the religious Catskill communities, or came up from the city every summer to tour the Jewish hotels in the Borscht Belt. And I don’t know if my grandmother paid him or if he passed a hat.
And I was too young then and too blissfully colorblind to realize there was something a bit different about our wonderful Jewish Troubadour – he was Black!
Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!