web analytics
May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


NEW BLOGGER

Mr. Perlman and the Ice Cream Cone

I recall the shock and pain of seeing my ruined ice cream on the street.
ice-cream

Stored forever in my long term memory is the episode of Mr. Perlman and the ice cream cone. I was four and had just come out of Baskin Robbins with an ice cream cone. Just two doors away was Perlman Optical. As my mother and I passed the eyeglass store, two things happened concurrently: Mr. Perlman came out of his store and my scoop of ice cream fell off my cone onto the pavement with a splat.

As a child, my world was comfortingly small. I lived in a tight-knit Jewish neighborhood called Squirrel Hill, in Pittsburgh. Everything I knew and wanted was within walking distance from my home, on the block of Forbes St. between Murray and Shady avenues, which included Baskin Robbins and Mr. Perlman’s shop. I’d known Mr. Perlman since forever.

Most of the members of my family were his myopic customers and I myself had been fitted for my first pair of eyeglasses at the age of one and a half years. There was only one pair of glasses in the store small enough to fit me at that age. They were hideous cat-eye glasses in sparkly beige. My mother was always yanking them off my face when cameras were in view. As a result, I have not a single photo of me wearing them. Yet I remember them clear as day.

SHOCK AND PAIN

I recall the shock and pain of seeing my ruined ice cream on the street and how my throat choked up as the tears began to gather. But before the waterworks could begin, Mr. Perlman whipped out his wallet and gave a quarter to buy another cone. He said, “That’s too bad, but here, you can buy a brand new one, okay?” and he chucked me under the chin.

My mother said to me, “Isn’t that nice of Mr. Perlman? What do you say?”

But I needed no prompting for this one. I was sincerely touched by his kindness—his generous response to my pain. “Thank you!” I said. Mr. Perlman patted me on the head and continued on his way while my mother took me back to Baskins for a new cone.

LITTLE GIRL’S TEARS

The author, at age four, with her mother. Photo credit: Varda Meyers Epstein.

The author, at age four, with her mother. Photo credit: Varda Meyers Epstein.

Such a small moment in my fifty-two years, but one with so much impact I remember these events as if they occurred only yesterday. It was just so nice of Mr. Perlman to forestall a little girl’s tears. He didn’t have to do that. It wouldn’t have affected his business. We still would have purchased our eyeglasses from him.

Why did this memory stand out so clearly from the flotsam and jetsam of half a century’s memories? Was it the kindness of an adult toward a child, the pain of losing my ice cream followed by the joy of having it restored?

I don’t think so. I don’t think it was any of that. I think it was about becoming important to an adult outside the family in that moment. My pain made me important because it was legitimate and deserved to be addressed. And as a Jew and a mensch, Mr. Perlman did the right thing and opened his heart to me.

He cared.

A CHILD’S PAIN In so doing, he not only salved my pain but demonstrated the right way to act. He showed me that a child’s pain over as small a thing as a scoop of ice cream is as important as the monumental difficulties that beset man throughout a lifetime. Mr. Perlman was able to be with me in that moment, as one human being to another, despite my age and the relative unimportance of the issue causing my distress.

I learned how to listen in that split second—the one that fell between losing my ice cream and getting a reprieve in a chance encounter—the one that might just as well have been lost forever, a lost opportunity. I learned that pain is pain, no matter the cause or who feels it. And in realizing that someone cared about me to that extent, well, I blossomed. My character had a growth spurt.

About the Author: Blogger and mother of 12 Varda Meyers Epstein is a third-generation Pittsburgher who made aliyah at age 18 and never looked back. A proud settler who lives in the biblical Judean heartland, Varda serves as the communications writer for the nonprofit car donation program, Kars for Kids.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Mr. Perlman and the Ice Cream Cone”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Home of the Internal Revenue Service.
IRS Hacked, Info on 100,000 Taxpayers Stolen
Latest Blogs Stories
Doug Goldstein

Are natural sources of energy, such as thorium and molten salt, effective alternatives to oil?

34th Government of Israel

HaModia’s list of the new government’s ministers omitted the women ministers’ first names: WHY?

President Obama speaking at Congregation Adas Israel. May 22, 2015.

Introducing Obama’s latest 2-state solution…

A Soldier's Mother

To friends in America: Wishing someone “Happy Memorial Day” means you don’t understand the holiday.

President Obama believes anti-Semites limit their anti-Semitism to discrimination and organizing, but will always put their survival first!

What motivates a successful leader? Who are the best kinds of people to use as your role model?

The warnings came true: Among the 1000 released terrorists, many returned to terror activity

Torah is to be lived. Rabbi Moshe Levinger was a completely living Torah, the Torah of Eretz Yisrael

“Said Rabbi Yochanan: Happy are those who see the fall of Tadmor…” (Talmud Yerushalmi)

Why has Prime Minister Netanyahu given Erdan & Hanegbi insultingly low-level cabinet appointments?

Without Israel, the Jewish People are scattered nomads lacking Torah’s true national grandeur&power

Will it get better/worse for Bibi or does the wily Bibi know/plan something that will shock us all?

Dr. Vernon Smith, 2002 Economics Nobel Prize winner, on predicting housing markets & economic issues

100% of the ‘First Responders’ helping those Arab school girls were Jewish and they didn’t hesitate!

Women equalizing with men in all areas of Judaism is anathema to the very idea of male/female roles.

Bibi endorsing the “2 State Solution” endangers Israel, moving the policy Center-Right from far Left

More Articles from Varda Meyers Epstein
faith leaps

For coexistence, Jews (& everyone) must draw a line in the sand showing “This is where we part ways”

American-Jews-100413

How do you put a love of Judaism into a middle-aged man when it was never there in the first place?

Only Bibi has the sort of leadership qualities we need to get us through this perilous time.

Come live in Israel-make us stronger and live unashamedly JEWISH in our God-given land. We need you.

“I don’t think my kids have any difficulties that are specific to the Israeli school system.”

The universities and the local progressive culture make Pacific Northwest a hotbed of Israel hatred.

Finding Tekhelet is about fulfilling an ancient mitzvah that was there the whole time.

While tekhelet is a biblical commandment, it’s one full of “buts” that bring me up short.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/ear-to-the-ground/mr-perlman-and-the-ice-cream-cone/2013/09/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: