By Linda Wisch Davidsohn
It has been almost two decades since I had the pleasure of writing “Dallas Doings.” My journey as a columnist began in 1971, when I moved to Dallas with my adorable daughter, Amy, a precocious 6-month-old.
Previously, the column had been entitled “Dallas Doings” by Clare, (aka Mildred Moore) who nurtured the column through the ’50s and ’60s. My late uncle, Chester Wisch, manned the TJP’s Dallas office, and upon Clare’s retirement, thought that the venue might be a wonderful opportunity for me to meet new friends and satisfy my writing “itch.”
Everything he wished for me — as far as writing the column was concerned — came to fruition. I met and made amazing friends, who supplied me with a steady stream of news, and joined organizations. I soon learned that my nose for news was alive and working well.
Throughout the ’70s, my family increased with the birth of Reuben (1973), Jordana (1974) and Ethan (1978). Those were my “Wonder Bread” years. I was a mom with a busy schedule, chauffeuring the children to activities following their days at Akiba Academy and later to Solomon Schechter Academy (now Ann and Nate Levine Academy).
My nose for news was getting stronger, and I seldom lacked topics for my column. My beloved Mom, Rene, coached me throughout the years stating that “names make news.”
When I wasn’t writing the column, or exploring the methodology of cooking chicken 365 different ways, I tried my hand at selling advertising. Dad’s mantra was “tell ’em and sell ’em.” My siblings and I became part of the Texas Jewish Post at a very early age. As a matter of fact, I’ve been told that I “cut” my baby teeth on the previous week’s issue, and that the hum of the Addressograph was my bedtime music.
Part of our responsibility was to work alongside our parents, uncle and Nana. Dad (who ran the linotype and wrote remarkable columns, sold advertising, directed plays and possessed a plethora of other talents); Mom (who wrote remarkable columns, sold advertising, ran the Addressograph, was an outstanding hostess and had a sunny disposition — an outstanding role model for all of us ), Uncle Chester (ran the folder on paper day, managed the Dallas office on all the other days and sold advertising); and our indomitable Nana, known to many customers as “Miss Betty” (sold advertising as well as being one of the most amazing cooks I ever knew).
In 1992, I made a conscious decision to return to nursing. The “kids” were growing up and going away to school. I was growing up as well. Over the years, I had several opportunities to fill in as guest columnist for Mom — but not too often. She was strict about her deadlines — rarely missing a column — and I recall her writing “Around the Town with Rene” prior to leaving for the hospital while in labor with my sister, Susan.
Much has happened since the ’90s — I am now the “Mimi” to nine — Rosie, Zachary, Shea, Tessa, Jessie, Micah, Josephine “Joey,” Shaya and Isabella Renee, the progeny of Amy, Reuben and Jordana.
Several days ago, while visiting one of my favorite places, Central Market, Deborah Jacobs Linksman serendipitously stopped to chat. Debbie and her husband, Wayne, had been cleaning their attic. They decided to bring down their old trunks from their camp days to see what treasures lay inside. When Debbie opened her trunk she found the Nov. 9, 1978 edition of the TJP, which featured a two page-plus article about her father, Mike Jacobs. The article was written by my late father. I began to think about memories — and the treasures that they hold.
In 1980, I had the pleasure of going to Israel on a Jewish National Fund trip with the entire Jacobs family — Mike, Ginger, Mark, Reuben, Andy and Debbie. Mom watched my four children — ages 9, 7, 6 and 2. Ethan was still in diapers and Dad was at a meeting in Washington. Mom developed pneumonia while I was away, and with Sharon’s help, Ethan was no longer in diapers when I returned.
Mike and Ginger made certain that the trip exceeded all of the participants’ expectations. Mike took our group through Yad Vashem. I am a “reader” and had read multiple books about the Holocaust. I thought that I “understood.”
Nothing that I had read or watched on television prepared me for the solemn and emotionally charged moments of viewing the detritus of the Holocaust through Mike’s eyes. He is one of my heroes. I will never forget that trip and having the opportunity to be there with Mike and Ginger. I hoped that I would one day visit Israel and Yad Vashem again with my parents and children.
I did not return to Israel with my parents or children. However, in 1991, while visiting Miami and Boca Raton with my parents and children, I had the opportunity to visit the Miami Holocaust Museum. I will never forget that either — that trip may have been one of my last columns of my previous tenure.
For those of you who have not seen the museum and the sculpture rising from the surrounding waters, the clenched fist and outstretched arm that has bodies hanging on so majestically, tenuously holding on for dear life. If you find yourself in Miami, I urge you to go. It is a powerfully charged emotional moment — and one I will never forget, having shared that with my parents, children and siblings. To me, it is a metaphor for the tenacity and strength of our Jewish legacy.
So, thank you, Debbie (and Wayne) for opening your trunk of memories and allowing me to share my own. How fitting that this conversation took place shortly after Yom HaShoah. By the way, Debbie mentioned that Mike and Ginger are still actively involved in sharing his experience, strength and hope to multiple audiences (you can read more about Mike’s participation in the Legacy Holocaust Series on page 19 of this week’s issue).
I hope that all of you will share your own memories, simchas, events, accolades, treasures and/or thoughts with your TJP family. We can cover a great deal of ground together.
It feels good to put my writer’s cap back on. When Sharon asked me to “pick up the torch,” I was flattered and touched. I hope that all of you will dig through your “treasure chests” and share your “finds” with us.
In the meantime, feel free to contact me via email at email@example.com.
Have a great week. I look forward to hearing from you.