A New Year’s newsletter from the Fenster Brown family


The Browns. Photo courtesy of Video Gate Studio

Amy Fenster Brown, Special To The Jewish Light

We just kicked off the Jewish year 5783. Shana Tova! 

When you get your winter holiday cards in December, some include a newsletter, letting you know what’s going on in the lives of friends and family from near and far. For the Jewish High Holy Days, I decided to craft a newsletter of my own to share what the Fenster Brown family is up to. Here goes:

Happy New Year!

5782 was very good to us. Allow me to go into detail.

Our family is doing very well, and luckily the kids are still cute. The boys are doing outstanding in school even though they are 50% biologically mine. 

Jeff, as always, proved his dedication as a hardworking, very involved father. He is also a supportive and loving husband, except for when he leaves the seat up. Jeff is a brilliant man. Not only does he flex his impressive mathematician skills on the job, he can transfer them to home use. For example, he is effortlessly able to tell me I’ve overspent money just by glancing at our credit card bill.  It’s a gift to be able to crunch numbers in your head at lightning speed like that. 

Leo, age 15, is so advanced he’s already started looking at medical schools. Truth be told, he really just went to urgent care for potential strep throat, but I think it really sparked his interest in becoming a doctor. Well, it didn’t really spark his interest. He wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. But that shows his desire for optimal health, which is practically the same as wanting to help others improve their health. 

He’s always been a really good hand washer, so I’m thinking general surgery is likely the specialty he will choose. His passion is baseball, and baseballs have stitches, so it really does add up when you think about it. Surgery it is!

Davis, age 16, seems to have an interest in media. He likes writing so much that he is always on his phone crafting words into various group text chains with his friends. This shows his strength of keeping the public well-informed, so I’m thinking TV news might be where he lands. Now that he has his license, I notice he drives really fast, which will come in handy when he has to rush to the scene of breaking news. Imagine the stellar coverage he could provide of a high-speed police chase. 

The grandparents are all doing well. They are a constant source of love and sugary treats. If every ice cream shop in the greater St. Louis area were to close, you could find just as big a selection in the freezers at the grandparents’ homes. 

Their sweets go beyond their street addresses. Grandma Marge keeps a buffet of candy and cookies in her car at all times, like a vending machine on wheels, in case anyone needs a snack between her house and the grocery store. Grammy Zelda carries a purse with a special name: Grammy’s Magic Purse. This treasure trove contains no keys, no money, no ID, just a candy variety wide enough to cure anyone’s sweet tooth no matter the season, their taste buds or their food allergies. 

My friends are all doing well.  Except for the ones who aren’t. A couple of them need to stop their yearslong habit of starting every voicemail like this: “Hi, it’s me …”  Several of them do this, so I never really know who it is leaving the message. I know what you’re thinking: “Check the caller ID.” Like I even know how to do that. This year I was actually able to almost correctly identify up to two of them based on their voices. In 5783 I hope to improve on that by actually identifying two of them correctly based on their voices. 

I made several key self-discoveries in 5782.

Parenting is not for the faint of heart.

Parenting teenagers is not for the faint of heart.

Shopping with the teenagers you parent is also not for the faint of heart. 

I always prayed for dimples. I finally got them. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to choose where they showed up.

I learned the horrifying lesson that elastic has its limits.

I would be in great shape if it weren’t for food. And exercise. And society.

I have many half-written columns for the Jewish Light. I get stuck or realize the piece isn’t going anywhere. Some topics seem like a good idea, and it turns out they aren’t. I have pledged again this year to never write a column about writer’s block. That’s the journalistic equivalent of giving up. 

If I ever enter a pageant that has a talent portion, I’m just going to do laundry, because I’m really good at it. 

Peace out, 5782. You were a good one. Welcome, 5783. I loved the ’80s my first time around and, so far, this decade on the Jewish calendar is good, too.