T uesday, Aug. 29

Zeesy hummed as she ironed yet another uniform shirt. The final week of summer vacation! Feeling an urge to share her bliss, she picked up her phone and dialed Faigy.

“Six more days,” she crowed, as soon as her friend picked up.


“Faigy? Hello? Speechless from excitement?” Zeesy giggled. “So what’re we going to do the first day back? Definitely go out for lunch, and….”

The silence was unnerving.

“Hey, you okay?”

At last, Faigy spoke. “You didn’t hear the news?” She sounded as if she had a bad cold.

Dread clutched at Zeesy’s heart. “No.”

“Check your e-mail,” Faigy whispered.

From: admin@BYBSMR.org

To: ‘Parents’

Subject: Start of School Year

Dear Parents,

We hope this e-mail finds you well.

Unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control have necessitated a delayed opening to our school year. Be assured that as soon as circumstances arrange themselves, we will open without delay.

Our sincerest apologies and best wishes for continued nachas.

Naomi Steinman


Zeesy read the e-mail three times before calling Faigy back.

“Tell me I’m having a nightmare,” she demanded.

“You’re having a nightmare.”

“Good, because for a moment I thought I’d actually read that our daughters will not be starting school on time.”

“Oh, you did read that.”

Zeesy gave a little shriek. “What circumstances? The letter didn’t give any information at all! Not even a hint of when school will open.”

“Sure, they did. ‘As soon as circumstances arrange themselves.’ ”

“But what does that mean?” Zeesy sobbed.

Faigy sighed. “Why don’t you call up the school?”

“Hello, this is Zeesy Ziskin, I’m calling to find out why school opening is being delayed.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Ziskin, but that’s classified information.”

“Classified!” Zissi spluttered. “I’m a parent! I have a right to know! Give me Mrs. Steinman, please.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Ziskin, but our principal is on vacation.”

“On vacation! While the school’s in crisis! When’s she coming back?”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t say.”

This was getting ridiculous. “What’s the big secret?”

“No secret.” The lady didn’t elaborate.

“Well, you’re the secretary, for goodness’ sake. Shouldn’t you know what’s going on?”

A pause. ‘Oh, no, I’m not the secretary. The secretary quit last week.”

“Then, who are you?”

But the line had gone dead.

From: slevenstein@BYBSMR.org

To: nsteinman@BYBSMR.org

Subject: Please come back!

Hello Mrs. Steinman,

I hear you’re enjoying Costa Rica so much that you’ve extended your ticket yet again. While far be it from me to ask you to curtail a vacation, I’m going to. Please, please, please—

Mrs. Levenstein, long-time assistant principal of BYBSMR, jumped as the door to her office opened. In walked a woman she recognized as a school mother. But — she squinted, registering that something looked off — what was she doing in a curly blonde sheitel?

“Uh, hello,” Zeesy said nervously. Would Mrs. Levenstein recognize her? Impossible, she told herself; there were hundreds of families in the school. Besides, she was now blonde. “I — um — heard there was an opening for a secretarial position and wanted to — um — apply.” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 557)