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Sadie Comes For Succos

Gila Arnold

“Hello, everybody! Whew, am I glad I made it on time!” Leah gaped. Standing in the doorway was a short, plump woman, wearing a matronly pink evening dress, a short salt-and-pepper wig, and carrying two stuffed suitcases and a bird cage.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

illustration Dear Miriam,

I need your help with a problem I have. I’m twelve years old, and I have one older brother and two younger brothers. My family is basically all right, I guess. But my problem is–

Yael tapped her pen against her bedpost. How could she explain the issue so that the famous advice columnist would understand?

My problem is that my family doesn’t see me as a regular person. My older brother treats me like a baby, my younger brothers treat me like a babysitter, and my parents treat me like the only girl. But no one understands me for who I am.

Yael read what she’d written. Self-doubt gnawed, compounding her ever-present existential anxieties. Would Miriam grasp the nature of her problem from this letter? She couldn’t bear to be misunderstood by the woman who dispensed such wise, insightful advice week after week, who understood everybody. She was sure that if only she could get an answer from Miriam — or, better yet, speak to her in person! — all her problems would be solved.

With a sudden flash of inspiration, she started writing again.

It’s hard to explain what I’m talking about without seeing my family. Maybe you’d like to come one day to visit. My parents love having guests, especially on Succos.


Yael Mayerfeld.

Yael hesitated, then crossed out her name and signed it “Misunderstood Middle Child.” Then, she carefully addressed and stamped an envelope.


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