Memory Lane

My Apologies To Barbra Streisand

Entertainment Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo

It happened again. I’m talking to someone, and out of the blue, they say, “Wow, you look just like Barbra Streisand!” It used to annoy me because although I loved Barbra’s voice, I wasn’t such a fan of her nose. Which, I knew, was the main reason I looked like her. Or at least I did once I started straightening my hair. But before then, there was the time that my sister (long before I started calling her “Black”) first made the connection, albeit it in a very unexpected – and public – way.

You see, it all started with an innocent visit to Saks Fifth Avenue in the Houston Galleria. She was about to get married (not for the first time, I might add, and I probably shouldn’t mention how many engagements she had but called off), and it was only days away from the wedding. I was in from overseas, and we were doing some last-minute shopping (she liked to call it “retail therapy”) for her as I’m definitely not a “shopper” and Saks Fifth Avenue has never been my price point, although Black has often tried to explain the concept of calculating cost per wearing.

So, you may be wondering, what has any of this to do with my looking like Barbra Streisand?

I can’t remember if we started at the shoe department and were heading to cosmetics or vice versa, but we cut through an accessories area that included hats. Before I knew it, my sister tossed one at me that seemed like half hat/half wig as it had straight hair attached to it. And then said, in that older sister way that’s somewhere between a dare and a command, which leaves you no option but to “obey”,

Put it on! [Slight pause followed by uncontrollable laughter and then trying to speak while still laughing …] Look in the mirror. You are the spitting image of Barbra Streisand.

I suppose my theater degree didn’t help matters, as once I glanced into a mirror and saw she was right, I went into a really bad impersonation by singing (off-key, no less), the first few words of “People,” complete with crossing my eyes (not to make fun of people with strabismus) to achieve just the right Barbra “effect”.

Over the years, we’ve laughed at how we probably should have bought that hat, but maybe it’s better that we didn’t. At least for me as, in the years to come, my sister would put my life in a book, so heaven knows what she would have done if she could have had a photo of me in that hat. Better to leave it to your imagination.

‘Tis the season for joyous celebrations – of whatever holiday you may celebrate. And fond memories. Even though Red wasn’t born when this happened, it’s still one of her holiday favorites (yes, she initially thought Black must have been on the “naughty list”) and a reminder of what the holidays are truly all about.

BLACK: I do not know at what age my Christmas memories began, but I do remember being very young and in awe of a very large – and very well decorated – Christmas tree in our family room. I even remember peeking down the stairs late one evening and seeing my mother standing extremely close to Santa Claus. OK, you might not find that an unusual memory, except my family is Jewish.

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