Is Three Just a Number?
OpinionClosing Thoughts

Is Three Just a Number?

Shaindle discusses the importance of the number three through her own stories.

Shaindle Schmuckler spreads her energy and humor as a regular contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Shaindle Schmuckler
Shaindle Schmuckler

I was an only child. I rather enjoyed being an only child. Those of you who used to be, or still are only children know to what I am referring. Showered with attention and gifts, life must have been joyous.

Given I was a fairly active little girl, I wonder if I was smiling and happy when I earned a potch (slap) in tushie (buttocks)?

I enjoyed all the beautiful clothes my older cousin gave me. The lovely bonnets with big bows at the neck or on the bonnet itself must have made me feel like a princess. OK, I probably did not enjoy wearing those ridiculously hideous brown high-top shoes. The white high-tops weren’t any lovelier. It seemed to me the white ones kept getting heavier and heavier with each layer of shoe polish.

Another advantage of being the only child, the amount of energy spent on cleanliness, eating habits, photographs, and statements like: tell the nice man how old you are; show Tante (aunt) how you dance.

I could write a book on the number of times “tell” and “show” were the first words to escape from either of my parent’s mouths when there was an audience for their only child to show off her skills.

Truth be told, I totally do not remember my early years, however photographs would indicate I was a blissfully happy child, always smiling.

Then I turned three.

Suddenly, not only am I not the center of my parents’ world, I no longer slumber in my beloved crib. I am now old enough for a junior bed, with bed rails. I have photos showing the disbelieving look on my face while holding what I believed was a squirming, breathing, poopy-making baby doll. Of course, the shell-shocked look on my sister’s face shall forever be frozen in time in that very same photo. Five years after this adorable photo of my parent’s precious girls, our sister number three was born.

Yes, we are three girls. My mom was one of three girls (oh yes, and a baby brother).

My husband Gene was accepted into three graduate programs. We were married less than a year. We had just purchased Black Beauty, the name of our first car – a tricked out Studebaker. Three serious dilemmas faced us during that first year of married bliss and would require fairly immediate resolution. Do we really want to stay in New York for the graduate program at NYU? Easy decision, no!

The decision to leave New York was made very early in our relationship, so NYU was out before it was in. Hawaii University was out as well. Do we really want to pay for Black Beauty to be flown out to Hawaii? Good grief who could afford such a luxury; certainly not us. Black Beauty was our number one priority, forget stuff happens in threes! L.S.U became our destination. Do we really want to travel down South, a place very scary to us, given our whole world revolved around New York? Seriously, where else was there? Our decision made, we packed up Black Beauty with our meager belongings and headed to Baton Rouge, La., and Louisiana State University. Go Tigers!

Our third move after graduate school, along with our three girls, was to Tampa, Fla.

Our fourth girl waited for the completion of our third move to be born. I imagine she knew one day I would be writing this Shaindle’s Shpeil and did not want to spoil it for me. In year three of our life in Tampa, I accepted the position of director of the camp at the Jewish Community Center on Horatio Drive.

Have you been keeping up with this? Take a breath; count to three.

While we were living the life of sunshine and beaches, my parents (z”l) came to appreciate the Florida weather, eventually making the enormously difficult decision to leave everything they held dear and move to Delray Beach, Fla. They would leave their siblings, nieces, nephews, lifelong friendships, and their entire way of life. Mom would have to find new Maj players, Dad new pinochle players and the most difficult challenge was leaving their beloved Bronx.

Three years after their move, mom was crowned queen of her Hadassah chapter’s annual dance.

Three years after moving ‘closer’ to us, we moved to Atlanta. Three years later our youngest beauty became a bat mitzvah.

Last but definitely not least, three is the essential number to be used in a grouping of decorative items.

And so it goes.

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