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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Odds and ends not in my book, part 7

The Bar Mitzvah Story

Most of you know that a Bar Mitzvah is a Jewish coming-of-age ritual for 13-year-old boys. A similar ritual for girls is the Bat Mitzvah, but when I was growing up, they were far less common. I'd been to several in my formative years -- my brother, a couple of cousins, some friends. To be blunt, in general, they are all a crashing bore. They go on and on, and the only reason you endure them is you get to go to a fun party afterward with dancing and catering at some posh ballroom.

Anyone who has read me for a while knows I have a cousin famous in the TV industry. Because he married a younger woman late in life, he has young kids. About 10 years ago, his son was Bar Mitzvah'd. John and I went, along with my mom and stepdad.

The ceremony itself was the usual protracted yawnfest. Celebrity's child or no celebrity's child, the ritual was the same, with endless readings, getting up and down (for whatever reason, they keep having you stand up for certain readings -- perhaps it's so your legs won't go to sleep), singing, Hebrew passages, yada yada yada. John and I were squirming in our seats.

Of course, there were Hollywood touches. At one point, the boy read a poem that had been written for him. OK, that's nice; any kid can have a poem written for him, I guess. But this particular poem was written by renowned author Maya Angelou. And signed, "Auntie Maya."

Whatever. By the time it was over, we fairly ran out of that shul (temple). Once outside, a few feet from the doors, John grabbed me, pulled me to him and laid a huge kiss on me.

"I saw that!"

We turned to see who'd called that out -- it was Carl Reiner.

OK, for those who don't know the name, Carl Reiner is one of the few people from vintage TV who is still with us (he'll be 90 in March). He is an actor, writer and director, and his TV career spans from Your Show of Shows (with Sid Caesar) in the 1950s, to the Dick Van Dyke show in the 60s (he played Rob Petrie's boss Alan Brady) all the way to the present, playing Betty White's love interest on Hot in Cleveland. He did The 2,000 Year Old Man with Mel Brooks. He's won nine Emmys and one Grammy (for comedy album). His son is Rob Reiner, who played Mike on All in the Family. Oh, and his wife Estelle delivered one of the most well-known lines in movie history -- "I'll have what she's having" from When Harry met Sally. You can read more about him here.

Anyway, so here we are with this TV icon mock-glaring at us. I laughed and said, "Wanna see it again?" "Sure!" he said.

So John and I went at it again. Carl then shot his hands up in the air dramatically and blurted, "No tongue! You're in front of a shul!!"

Later, when he came over to say hello to my mother, he nodded toward us and asked who the "kissing fools" were. Too funny.

The long-awaited reception was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, or was it the Beverly Hills Hotel? One of those Beverlys. Once there, we mingled among throngs of people and enjoyed huge shrimp and baby lamb chops (and those were just the appetizers). There was also a full sit-down dinner, with entertainment.

Often at a Bar Mitzvah, "entertainment" consists of a cheesy band playing old standards for the adults and elevator versions of rock tunes for the kiddies. Not this time. This Bar Mitzvah had a stand-up comedian.

Was it Uncle Morty, fortified with a couple of belts of Manischewitz, telling the old chestnuts about how a Jew, a Catholic and a Protestant meet in a bar?

Nah. It was Lewis Black.

I don't remember whether or not he downplayed his usual angry, epithet-laced style of delivery. I'm thinking not. What a night.

I've been thinking about Hollywood stuff this week, after seeing an obituary in the news on Monday. Another one of my father's peers, a director of comedy TV shows. I'd met him several times when I was a kid. He and my dad had an extra connection besides show biz, though. My dad's second wife, S? (not Vampira; this was the nice, pretty one, the dancer). She was this director's first wife, before she met my dad. It's a small world.

I dropped her a note to express my condolences (she did have a child with him, after all). I haven't seen her in over a year, but we're having lunch next Tuesday. I look forward to that; I just adore that woman. She's 80 now; I hope she'll stick around for a while.

She knows nothing about Erica Scott. Sometimes, I wish I could tell her, share my deepest secret with her. She's known me since I was eight. But I can't, and I won't. I doubt anything would faze her, as she's seen and heard it all. But it's still TMI.

Hope everyone's having a good week so far. :-)


  1. You have such an interesting life, Erica. I'm a fan of both Carl and Rob Reiner. The first I was aware of Carl was watching the "Dick Van Dyke Show" when I was a kid and then later his son as the "meathead" in "All in the Family". Of course Rob turned out to be a great director as well. "When Harry Met Sally" is one of my favorite movies ever.

    I can certainly understand the conflict of wishing you could share parts of your life that you're proud of with certain people, but knowing it just wouldn't work out... wouldn't be the best thing. "TMI" is the best way to describe it. I've often thought that "we" need a vocabulary to come out, that doesn't call forth any unwanted images for anyone. I have yet to think of anything that doesn't require it's own explanation that can border on the image-inspiring side...

    -Quai Franklin

  2. Terrific post Erica. The only tongue I ever got at a Bar Mitzvah was the stuff you eat. Yuk.

    Great story. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Carl and Rob were both very funny men. I can remember Carl wore a rug for a while but it never looked real.

    It reminded me of the time Muhammed Ali lifted Howard Cosell's toupee and asked him what he fed it.

  4. WOW Erica, your life is VERY interesting and fun :-)sound's like you had an AWESOME time, it is so COOL to know famous people WAY TO GO ERICA :-)I Love you big hugs xoxo from your naughty girl Jade

  5. Quai -- that's right; I forgot to mention that Rob became a director as well. Talented family!

    joey -- oh gawd. I do NOT like that kind of tongue! :-)

    John -- he made a joke of that toupee long ago, on the Dick Van Dyke show. They had an episode where Laura revealed in an on-air interview that Alan Brady wore a rug.

    Jade -- it's had its moments, definitely. :-)

  6. I love reading about the hollywood stuff thanks for sharing it. I just watched and old episode of the Dick Van Dyke show had seen one of those in decades I enjoyed it

  7. Glen -- it's such a classic show, so funny. So much talent, too. Oh, and my stepmother S guest-starred on one of the episodes. ;-)

  8. Great story. Lewis Black edited down enough to be appropriate humor for 13 year olds? That's pretty hard to imagine! Lol.

  9. Lea -- can you believe that? Perhaps they figured Hollywood 13-year-olds are more sophisticated. Or maybe it was meant to be entertainment for the adults. :-)

  10. Thanks for sharing Erica. I do love your Hollywood stuff. I remember the Dick Van Dkye shows, showing my age.

    We've been invited to a Bar Mitzvah, haven't been to one before. Maybe we'll skip the ceremony and just attend the party:)


  11. Hi Erica,

    Was S in the "How to Spank a Star" episode, by any chance? That would give you the perfect opening for telling her.

    I can fully understand not wanting to reveal Erica Scott to her, as long as you won't have regrets later on. If you think you really want to, then go for it, before it's too late.


  12. Hi Erica,

    I really like hearing your stories from Hollywood. You have a way of making them, the celebrities, should I say it? Human! I have seen many entertainers up at Lake Tahoe and Reno at Harrah's Club. Dad knew him and Harrah would book them for at least a week, sometimes two. Those days are long gone. They were fun, though. A good dinner and a good show.

    I remember one time Sammy Davis, Jr. was there and one night he did not feel good so the went out on stage and explained to the people there that he was sick and was not able to put on the kind of show he would have wanted to. So he picked up the tab for everybody. I wasn't there, but I heard about it.

    Tottie Fields once picked up the tab for a young couple who were on their honeymoon. I thought that was really nice of her to do. I was there for that one.

    I will be looking forward the next story you post. Thanks for doing it.

  13. Gawd, I love it when you tell these stories. So interesting and told so perfectly. Wistful, funny, pinch of snark.

    I think when we are able to be our true selves,without having to censor, that our voices are really bright and unique. So many things I wish I could tell those closest around me. But it would alter our connection. I get you wish.

    I am selfishly, very glad however...
    That you tell all of us.

    Hugs, Newt

  14. Ronnie -- well, considering how the Van Dyke shows ran in repeats and on TVLand for many years after the fact, you're not showing your age at all! :-)

    Hermione -- Oh, that's priceless! :-D I remember that episode. But no, that was Lola Albright.

    There really isn't any good reason to tell her. I guess I just want to share something that means so much to me with someone whom I admire deeply. But it's probably better if I don't.

    Bobbie Jo -- I really do like the "stars are human" stories. One of my all-time favorites was something I read about Elvis Presley, but it's too long to write out here.

    Newt -- you are so right. I am at my most real when I can talk about the spanking stuff. But a lot of people can't handle real, I'm afraid.

  15. Hi Erica,

    Like so many others, I really enjoy reading your blog. Current events, past stories, they are all interesting and told with a flair. And despite the occasional flame war on FL or sad day here and there, life seems to be treating you so well. I love reading about the interaction between you and ST fka NG.

    Enjoy your time with S, whether you share everything with her or not. And just today I inadvertently, unceremoniously, and totally outed myself to a man I have been corresponding with for quite some time regarding our shared interest in horticulture, who knew nothing of my passion for spanking. Oops. It didn't go well. Of course I didn't ease into it, meaning to send that email to someone else. Such is life.


  16. Pam -- oh noooo! Why doesn't life come with an "Undo" button?

  17. One thing I don't like about this kink: you have to hide it from those who are not into it and likely wouldn't take it too well if they knew. It's like my therapist said once about the time she was invited to speak at some kind of convention. She wanted to talk about consentual adult spanking and they didn't go for that. It was, however, just fine to talk about BDSM. Crazy.

    Anyway, I like to come here because you are real, Erica, and I get a lot out of it. More than you can know.

  18. Erica, good story on the Bar Mitzvah boy. Yes, Carl Reiner, and Bob Reiner of TV fame were legends in their days, But Erica, you should be spanked on your voluptous bare bottom, for down playing your worthwhile career as a 'spanking model', when friends ask you what you do it life. 'YOU', Erica, represent all of us 'spanko's, and we are good people, proud people, and most of us intelligant people, you really love what we are and do. So please give us some worthwhile credit. XXX I love you.

  19. Six -- I love my friends, and I love what I do. But it does need to be downplayed in some circles. Do you tell all your family and friends about your fetish proclivities? :-)

  20. Erica, you are absolutely correct in your reply to me. XXX Luv you.

  21. I love that story, Erica; it's one of my favorites! It did give pause-- amusement mixed with alarm?-- to realize that there are some Youngsters who don't yet know Carl Reiner!

    But, hey, any book you haven't read before is a new one, and think of the great discoveries they'll make! In fact, they can see Carl and Mel doing one of their "Two Thousand Year Old Man" bits by clicking THESE COLORFUL LETTERS!

    My granddaughters, by the way, love listening to "Fibber McGee and Molly," "Jack Benny," and more in the car with their parents! (Just thought I'd take the opportunity to brag about the fine parental skills of my kids, who make sure their offspring enjoy all the riches of our culture, newer and older!)

    And you are right and loving to put your stepmom's comfort ahead of your desire. It would be splendid to be able to open up, though-- I know exactly how you feel in that regard.

  22. Dave -- seriously, about your grandkids and Jack Benny? How cool is that! I recently discovered a cable station that plays old TV shows, and Jack Benny is on every night, two episodes. What fun!