The East Village Mamele

Nature Calls: Lessons of the Loo

By Marjorie Ingall

I believe I last wrote about poop back in July. So it’s high time to talk about it again. (Just be thankful my children are aging out of the Effluvium Years. Honestly, I have no idea what I’ll write about anymore.)Read More

Vaccine Nation

By Marjorie Ingall

When my father was 7, he contracted polio. In a few days he lost all feeling in his legs. He was confined to bed for six months. His second grade teacher came to visit, bringing a record of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and a hardcover of “Alice in Wonderland.” (Thus began a love of great music and psychedelic literature that would last the rest of his life.) He took apart radios and clocks and put them back together. He underwent agonizing physical therapy. He fantasized about hanging out with FDR, taking the therapeutic waters and getting massages in Warm Springs, Ga. Eventually he learned to walk again, lurching around in metal braces and on old-school crutches. One foot remained gnarled, lumpy and uneven; one leg was withered. Despite repeat surgeries, he walked with a pronounced limp for the rest of his life.Read More

Remembering The Triangle Fire

By Marjorie Ingall

For years, I’ve been obsessed with the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. I don’t remember when I first heard about this event, which was New York City’s worst workplace disaster before 9/11. On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the factory’s eighth floor; 146 workers, most of them young Jewish and Italian girls, died. The fire department’s tallest ladders only reached the sixth floor; girls clung to the window ledges while the flames licked at them; some jumped in desperation, shattering the sidewalks. Can any New Yorker not visualize what that looked and sounded like?Read More

Playing a New Role

By Marjorie Ingall

I have a confession. I really, really love leading the Seder. I was initially resistant to taking on the role. It meant that Zayde was gone; it meant that I was a grownup, an authority figure, instead of a metaphorical kid throwing spitballs from the back row. It meant, to me, that I was usurping mom’s matriarchal place, even though she was the one urging me to grab that Hebraic helm, to take that karpas and run with it.Read More

I’m Sorry, So Sorry

By Marjorie Ingall

The news is full of non-apology apologies lately. For serving as rotten role models for the children of our fair nation, so many weasels deserve a time out.Read More

The Chelsea Butterfly Effect

By Marjorie Ingall

When I was wide-eyed and dewy, I lived in a ramshackle apartment building on West 22nd Street. Chelsea was just becoming Chelsea. There was Big Cup, the psychedelically painted coffee shop full of tasty gay boys and Rice Krispies Treats. There was the fabulous Salvation Army thrift store on Eighth Avenue. There was the scary, transient-filled, rundown Hotel Allerton. There were the elderly people staring into space from their park benches and wheelchairs around the Penn South Houses, and the wind whistling along shuttered, nearly deserted Ninth Avenue at night. There was the closet-sized clothing store run by enthusiastic drag queens, where I bought a silver minidress so I could be the 6 Train for Halloween. (I attached a 6 logo, bits of garbage and rubber rats to the dress, an indication that this was a lifetime ago; today, the subways are an order of magnitude cleaner, and the silver miniskirt might fit only if I wore it on my head.)Read More

The Coat Conundrum

By Marjorie Ingall

I made a parenting mistake the other day. (Just one, you say?) (Shut up, I say, before realizing that those voices in my head are not real.) There was a teachable moment dangling right in front of me and I missed it. Just totally whiffed.Read More

My Niece Has Two Daddies

By Marjorie Ingall

This column will once again be devoted to the gays. If you’re really sick of me (or hey, Conservative Jews in general) talking about the gays… well, too bad. Next month I promise to write about Nascar, Girls Gone Wild DVDs, Mickey Spillane novels and those hard hats with drainage systems you can attach beer cans to. But I just couldn’t wait to share this: After years of heartbreak and travail, my brother Andy and his partner Neal have just adopted a baby. I’m an auntie! We’re all giddy. She is the cutest baby ever in the history of babies who are not mine.Read More

The Drama of the Second Child

By Marjorie Ingall

Poor Maxine. Somehow she makes it into newsprint and pixels so much less often than Josie does. I’m nuts about her, I swear, but because I’ve already been through all her developmental stages once, I think they make less interesting copy. (For instance, I was entranced when baby Josie pretended to pluck and eat little bits of fur off the cat. But when Max did it, zzz. Now I believe that infantile feline-mock-pluckage is a common baby grooming behavior, probably an evolutionarily significant throwback to nutritive lice-noshing.) Anyway, to be brutal: Maxine’s growth is not news, whereas Josie is perpetually finding novel and fascinating ways to annoy me.Read More

All Through the Night

By Marjorie Ingall

Here’s how parenting works: Something is the biggest problem in the world. It will never pass, and time stops (exactly as if you’re the Japanese guy in “Heroes”) and then suddenly the problem passes (exactly as if you’re the Japanese guy in “Heroes” when time starts again) and then you totally forget that there was ever a problem (as if the Haitian guy in “Heroes” just wiped your memory — hey, when does the new season of “Heroes” start? I love that show!).Read More

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