I couldn’t avoid the emotional bends.

Photo by Martin Splitt on Unsplash

Six weeks after being fully vaccinated, my husband and I flew to New Jersey from Chicago for a family wedding — our first foray into a larger world we used to know.

I welcomed luggage back into my life, grateful that travel, unimaginable only a few months ago, was now possible. And confident the anxiety of leaving my COVID cocoon would easily dissipate. I expected the familiarity of pre-pandemic experiences to banish any lingering fear, as it had during our first outdoor dinners with vaccinated friends.

I was wrong. Entering O’Hare was a shock — like being plunged without warning…


My mother never allowed herself to fully enjoy fresh flowers. She did not encourage them as gifts. But smiled and thanked my father for his holiday offerings before Rosh Hashanah or the Passover Seder — the only times he brought flowers home.

He usually chose long gladiola stems with only the lower buds beginning to bloom. I learned it was a way to pace their beauty. A wise strategy when something was not long for this world.

She made a pleasant fuss arranging them in a large, water-filled crystal vase. And placed them center stage, on the credenza in the…


My mother typically greeted my teenage angst with impatience and incredulity. Her response to any sulkiness, “What do you have to be unhappy about? When I was your age, my parents, my family had been killed. There was no food and I was hiding from the Nazis.” Not verbatim. But close enough to capture its spirit and truth.

I didn’t argue. Guilty as charged. Nothing in my life could compete with such pain and loss. I resolved to never to share what ailed me. Partly to spare them them needless worry. I had only my happiness to offer in exchange…


Incredibly, we are entering the sixth month of the pandemic. Spring and summer have come and gone. I long for simple things that promise comfort and pleasure and a sense of normal. Potato kugel beckons.

My mother’s potato kugel is one of my favorite things. At first glance, it most resembles a giant potato pancake. But a few bites in, it is unmistakably something else.

It emerges from the oven crisp on the outside with an almost molten middle. Generously seasoned with salt and pepper, it’s the unexpected pinch of cinnamon that lends a mysteriously addictive depth of flavor.

My…


The Empowerment of Bed Making During the Pandemic

Creating Order in A World Turned Upside Down

I am usually up before my husband — almost done with coffee and the newspaper before he emerges. But when he does, I make the bed. Almost before I do anything else. With a duvet, just a quick fluff leaves the blanket neat and the pillows plump and upright against the headboard.

I’ve always had this bed-making thing. No matter when or where I had to go, I hated leaving with the bed unmade. …


As the lockdown continues, there is a relentless sameness to the days and weeks. The flowers and trees have bloomed. But little else changes. It’s encouraging that some scarce goods are finding their back. That toilet paper procurement no longer occupies brain cells best deployed for more critical tasks.

But it’s feeling a little like “Groundhog Day’. The movie where Bill Murray finds himself waking up to the same day over and over again. A numbing sameness has set in. And with it, a visceral longing for the world to move forward once more.

At least the earth’s orbit around…

Yona Eichenbaum

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