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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 5/5/20

Good morning,

We’ve all been struggling to find things that are positive about sheltering-in-place. One thing is the chance to spend time with a couple of pretty extraordinary people…



We empty nester boomers with children temporarily back at home have been given a gift in this time of crisis. We have been afforded the opportunity to get to know our grown children as adults in a way not seen in many of our families for some time. I’m not saying it’s always a piece of cake to have multiple adults, with independent lives, forced together in relatively close quarters, but it’s really been a blessing. We have been able to peek into their lives and see our grown kids “in action,” watching them navigate their careers, pursue civic and charitable causes, and indulge in their hobbies. Plus, they seem to like to cook...



I think back at my own 20s. Once I moved away from home I never returned for anything longer than a weekend. That said, I was very close to my parents (it’s part of the reason I went to USC, rather than roaming far afield). We saw each other regularly. Like most families, many of our get-togethers centered around events—birthdays, holidays, and life-cycle events. We also had a “standing date” with the LA Philharmonic on Sunday afternoons. I would slide into my seat moments before curtain, greet my father, mother and sister, and settle in for 90 minutes of escape. My father used to say it was the best nap of the week (he used to complain about the occasional atonal modern piece that would interrupt his sleep). The symphony was always followed by either Chinese or Hungarian food (don’t ask…). At dinner, my parents would pepper my sister and me with questions to uncover what was going on in our lives. We would dutifully respond, sometimes irritated, to my mother’s endless line of questioning. We used to call her at various times “Perry Mason” or “the grand inquisitor” and suggest she consider a career in interrogation. As I look back, I realize that parents crave being able to share some of their children’s adult lives—before grandchildren occupy the stage.



With the changing times, many of our children went to school or jobs a long distance from us. Getting together is not as frequent. One benefit of this crisis (there have to be a few…) is that it has brought families together under one roof that previously were strewn about the continent. As a result, our adult children are insinuated into our lives and us in theirs. While it must seem like forever for them right now, it will seem a blink of an eye in retrospect. This is a small gift of this isolation, in the midst of chaos and stress—a chance to know each other better and on different terms. Of note, our kids deserve special recognition for putting up with their father!



The Met has a great feature called the Heilbrun Timeline of Art History. It’s an interactive map of regions of the world. You can click on an area and then click on a time period. Then you will be transported the Met’s vast collections of art (with pictures and descriptions) and essays on art history and the cultures that created the art. I could spend another month of quarantine just paging through this:!?time=all&geo=all



This is a wonderful essay on the beginnings and development of baseball cards and related collectibles from the Met. It’s an enjoyable read, not only for the baseball discussion, but the quirky collecting of Jefferson R. Burdick, an electrician from Syracuse who has left this legacy of his collecting during the 1940s and 1950s.

Who knew baseball cards were a 19th century invention? Who knew they were an art form? Seriously, this is a great essay and a great way to enjoy baseball history—when baseball present isn’t around.



Enjoy this great cover of “Stand by Me:” This is a fun, melodic and moving version, particularly given it is a “living room” production starring our Senior Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback (and featuring our Cantors and others from the Temple). He’s the guy in the 70s era shirt—you’ll think he’s a rock star. I’m proud to say I led the committee that hired Yoshi five years ago to lead our community. Enjoy!

Have a great day,


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