On New Year's Eve
For the first time in memory and maybe the first time ever,
the second-generation Breibart siblings -- Solly, George, Mickey, Sidney
and Jack -- were together to greet a New Year. Four of the five made it
to midnight and 2002.
It was an evening of drifting back, of remembering, of life
above the store on Meeting St.
Four of The Breibart Five (Solly and Sara arrived later)
along with spouses Bertha, Itchy and Bernice started the cold New Year's
Eve with dinner at the West Ashley Crab House, joined by Barry and Flo,
first cousin Benny Goldberg and his wife, Claire, and a long-time and dear
family friend, Max Kirshstein.
Flounder, a Charleston favorite, was the popular dining choice
of the evening. After dinner, Barry and Flo slipped away -- apparently to
a gathering where you didn't need to be 65 or older to get in..
The rest of the group convened at Mickey's and Itchy's house
for nuts, fruit, cheese and crackers, pastries, mandelbread, champagne and
memories. The champagne didn't exactly flow. The group of 10 barely managed
to finish one bottle.
It happened about 75 years ago but George still hasn't forgiven
Solly for squealing on him for cutting Hebrew school one day. "Why did you
do that," George wanted to know. "I guess it was the right thing to do,"
Everybody remembered Mama's ultimate threat -- the atom bomb
of disipline. If you don't do so and so, "I'll send you to reform school."
Papa's weather analysis was recalled. "I'd ask him why it
didn't snow in Charleston," Sidney said. "Papa answered it was too cold."
Mickey said Papa would say if there was frost in the morning, it would be
Solly told of asking Papa what he thought of his beard. "Shave
it off," Papa said.
Solly and George went back to the days before 743 (later
753) Meeting St. when Papa rented a store and living quarters two doors
up the street and when they slept in a cold attic and deliveries were made
by horse and wagon.
Uncle Harry (Benny's father and Mama's brother) was remembered
for his way of greeting people -- all females were "Girlie" and all males
were ("Sonny Boy.") "When I graduated from law school," Benny said, "I was
going to introduce Papa (Harry) to the dean of the law school, but before
I could say anything, Papa already had his arms around the dean and was
saying, 'Hello, Sonny Boy.'"
And so it went until the big ball fell on Times Square bringing
in the New Year. Then it was time for kisses and hugs -- and bedtime.