Where Was Freud When She Needed Him??

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Some people don’t remember their dreams. Mine are so vivid that they have become at times their own reality, creating some very embarrassing moments.

When Larry and I first moved to Clifton Park in 1976, we didn’t know anyone. At the urging of Larry’s mom, a lifetime member of Hadassah, I joined the fairly new but very active Clifton Park chapter. The very first meeting I attended, I sat with a group of women who were also newcomers to the community. We became friends, and several of us became pregnant the same year. We attended Lamaze classes together, went to each other’s son’s bris, and attended La Leche League meetings together. Yes, 1978 was a bumper year for Clifton Park Hadassah babies.

When my son Adam was around eighteen months old, that core of Hadassah mothers, along with a few other friends, formed a playgroup for our children. Each week, we would take turns dropping off our child with the designated mother at ten o’clock in the morning. Seven of us would go off on our merry way, free from toddler responsibilities for two blissful hours. The assigned mother would organize activities for the day’s playgroup. During the winter months, the children played with toys, participated in an arts and crafts project, or enjoyed a story time. In the summer, the children went outside and played on the swing sets or in sandboxes. The mom-in-charge fed the children lunch—usually peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit juice and cookies. By twelve noon, the playgroup mom was more than ready to hand the visiting children back to their own mothers.

The group went well, and the children, for the most part, played well together. Yes, there were the expected outbursts and tantrums and fights.But this arrangement worked well for both the children and the mothers.

The eight of us became good friends, so I was saddened to hear that Fern, her husband Steve, and their son Marshall were moving to Chicago. I shared the news with my friend Diane during a phone call on a non-playgroup day.

Diane immediately questioned my information. “Are you sure?” she said. “I spoke to Fern yesterday, and she didn’t mention a thing about a move.”

“No,” I insisted. “Steve got a promotion with his company. Fern feels bad about leaving all her friends here, but she said this is an excellent opportunity for Steve. They are moving in two months.”

Diane was still doubtful. “Look, I have three-way calling on my phone. Let me get hold of Fern right now and the three of us can talk.”

I agreed and heard a few clicks and buzzes as Diane set up the conference call. We soon heard Fern’s hello.

“Hi Fern!” said Diane. “Marilyn was telling me that you are moving to Chicago!”

“I’m not moving to Chicago,” Fern immediately responded. “Where did you hear that, Marilyn?”

“We talked yesterday, I responded. “You told me all about Steve’s promotion and his transfer.”

“What promotion?” Fern said. “As far as I know, we are staying put in Clifton Park.”

It was just at that moment that the circumstances of my “conversation” with Fern fell into place. Horrified, I realized that this entire episode had taken place in a dream I had experienced the night before. Every moment of that dream came rushing back to me.

“Oh my G-d!”I exclaimed. “I am so very sorry! This whole conversation took place in my sleep!”

I was totally embarrassed. I stuttered my way through apologies to both Fern and Diane. They understood—as much as they could understand that this crazy lady couldn’t distinguish dreams from reality. And what if Fern thought it was ‘wishful thinking’?

All of the mothers in that playgroup remained friends through our children’s nursery school years that followed. Three years later, some of us mothers, who all delivered younger siblings in 1981, formed another playgroup with the same positive results.

Many of us joined the same synagogue. Even after some moved out of the area, we continued to stay in touch. We attended each other’s children’s bar and bat mitzvahs, rejoiced in their successes in high school and college, comforted each other during the sad times, and shared each other’s joy in our former toddlers’ marriages and the births of each other’s grandchildren. Obviously, Fern and her family didn’t move to Chicago. She and Steve still live in the same house that housed our sons’ playgroup over thirty-five years ago. She is currently president of Sisterhood and is stepping up to the plate to become the next president of Congregation Beth Shalom.

I still clearly remember the “conversation” I had with Fern. After that incident, I was a little more careful after waking up from a vivid dream. I have checked myself several times over the years, realizing that I was about to pull another “Fern Moment.” But I also remember our playgroup and the friendships that grew from those once-a-week get-togethers.

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