by Naomi Rayman

Posts by Naomi Rayman

Working It Out

Posted on September 1, 2017

Albert Einstein was once asked how he would spend his time if he were given a problem upon which his life depended and he had only one hour to solve it. He responded by saying he would spend 30 minutes analyzing the problem, 20 minutes planning the solution, and 10 minutes executing the solution. I operate in a completely different way. This is one of a myriad of ways in which I am nothing like Albert Einstein. Except for my hair, which can resemble his, when I wake up. In other words, I jump to conclusions and operate at about a 75%-success rate. This gives me the confidence to think that, in most circumstances, I have a better than 50/50 chance of figuring out…

M (OM) A

Posted on August 11, 2017

When I travel to New York City, which is quite often for someone living in California, I pack the usual necessities along with a few luxuries and a lot of cute clothes for my young grandchildren who live there. Also, it’s critical to bring the most stylish but comfortable shoes I have in my closet. This last item being a nearly impossible feat, if you will excuse the pun. Comfort can be diametrically opposed to style especially where footwear is concerned. Boot season is, therefore, my favorite time of year to hit the streets of Manhattan. It’s hard to go wrong with galoshes. Regardless of the weather, the most important item on my packing list is a New-York state of mind. From the minute…

Face Off

Posted on April 21, 2017

I recently visited New York and was so busy there with my super-sized days, I didn’t have a chance to see the recently opened Broadway show, “War Paint.” The production tells the story of the rivalry between the cosmetic magnates, Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden. It’s on my ever-growing to-do list for the next visit. Nevertheless, reading about the musical triggered memories of my own connection to the world of makeup or lack thereof. As I rode the train from Brooklyn to Manhattan one soggy morning last week, there to my left and across the pole-pierced corridor that separates the bench-style seats on the subway sat a young woman deftly applying her mascara. Recalling my own makeup application that very morning, complete with magnifying…

Landline

Posted on February 24, 2017

I had a funny feeling. Friday, February 22, 1966 didn’t start out right. For one thing, this wasn’t the plan. My mom and I had strategized the after-school itinerary before I left for school in the morning. I had a lot on my mind: my eyeliner, for example, hadn’t gone on smoothly. The hem on my mod, mini pleated black-and-grey wool skirt was falling out, and to make matters worse, I was not all that prepared for my oral book report on “Kon Tiki.” So, the plan we had formulated over my morning pop tarts was not, at this moment, so relevant to me. On the other hand, and from my perspective as a high-school freshman, our plan was all that my mother had…

Posthaste

Posted on January 13, 2017

This might surprise you: I have a Master’s Degree in communicative disorders. That translated on a paystub to speech-and-language therapist, and the disorders I expertly remedied were maladies like lisps in the young, stuttering among the adolescent, and aphasia with stroke patients. Now, however, in my retirement from that field, I’m ironically colliding with more and more communicative roadblocks—which I find disorienting. I have become my own disordered client. I miss my days of fluency; I long for the time when I could retrieve a word the nanosecond I needed to use it. I am trying hard not to blame my chronological age. I prefer to blame the age in which I live. As for communicative elegance, I miss the old tried-and-true forms of…

In Left Field

Posted on October 28, 2016

It was a great day for women, I suppose. The news came in 1972 that institutions of higher learning were now legally bound to provide equal athletic opportunities for women as they had been doing for male students since Ben Hur drove his chariot around the track at his homecoming game back in the 1st century. Before the federal law was passed, athletically enthusiastic girls had two sports to choose from: cheerleading and, in my high school, hula dancing. As the new law took effect, brand new women’s locker rooms, many of them with running water, were built in schools across the U.S.; female coaching staffs were hired and given shiny new whistles to wear around their thick necks; and scholarships, long the only…

Boxed In

Posted on September 16, 2016

“Those damn Shapiro girls,” my father said as he drove my mother and me to one of his sibling’s Oakland homes on a Sunday afternoon. “Why don’t those pushy women let my brothers drive through the tunnel to come see us for a goddamn change?” he asked no one in particular. Sitting side by side by side on the front bench seat of my dad’s brand new 1960 powder-blue Cadillac, with the champagne-colored leather interior, my mother indicated to me with an elbow to my ribs to turn up the volume on the car’s radio. I could see why these old people I called my aunts and uncles would fear any excursion through an ominous bore drilled into a mountainside just to get to…

Code Blue

Posted on August 19, 2016

I spent most of third grade in the hospital and the rest of my life, up until now, trying to avoid going back to one. Of course, anyone who has given birth in modern America or sat vigil next to a dying parent or a premature baby or explored the stark and sharply lighted and often overcrowded halls of an emergency room waiting for stitches on an arm, a forehead or shin has been in one. And, everyone probably feels the same way as I do–harboring the same repulsion for the place and forever grateful to have a first-rate one nearby. But about that third-grade year… It was a hot October afternoon and in a futile attempt to drum up some wind currents to…

To My Granddaughter

Posted on July 29, 2016

There are a few differences between us: age, of course, is one. You are adorable; I’m presentable. You are short but average for your 3 years; I’m just a runt. You speak two languages, and I can manage only one. You could be a kindergartner when a woman is president of the United States; I was born when Truman was in office. By the time I was in kindergarten, Eisenhower was in the White House. At two years of age, I kissed Ike as he stood waving to the press before boarding a plane. So, that’s another thing: I could get very close to a U.S. president back then, and ANYONE could board a plane without going through security. The trade off, though, was…

A 1967 Rose By Any Other…

Posted on July 15, 2016

Name. He just asked me for mine. He’s so cute and I’m so not worthy. But here we stand, me pulling on my long red hair with one hand, tugging at my mini skirt’s hem with the other. He is shifting his weight from side to side, hands clasped behind his back, in a futile stab at coolness. He doesn’t know his fly is down; I’m not sure how big the sweat marks are under my armpits. The cavernous room’s lights have been dimmed, but not so much as to prevent me and my fellow teenagers from employing our pinpoint laser night-vision assessment capabilities. And it’s certainly light enough for the adult chaperones to be on the lookout for premarital sex. Wait! Is that…