Café Rendezvous - a review by D. K. Christi, author and journalist
Tap Dancing All the Way to ‘Omaha Beach’
By Max Jacobson & Ron Jacobson
Publisher: Tree Fort Productions LLC
Published: March 28, 2012
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink: Black & white
Dimensions (inches): 8.5 x 11
Illustrations: Black & white photographs
Web site: www.sirtony.info
What was it like growing up in the 1920’s in New York? Ron Jacobson took his father’s memories of a life well-lived and recorded them in a book that holds the reader’s attention like an extra-long magazine article without ads – or a father and son sharing the past over a tall cup of coffee. Told in his father’s words that began with “This is my life as I remember...,” the story begins with a tiny, premature infant and continues through life’s highlights for 89 years of living reality.
Humorous anecdotes entertain the reader: “my father came home from work, opened the door and my mother said, ’Oh, Louis, I just got finished baking and cooking…’ My father froze at the door and yelled at my mother, ‘I hid my (father’s) gold watch and chain in the oven;’ the treasured gold watch melted into a pretzel in its hiding place in the back of the oven...a family story that carried years of emotion until his mother stopped baking!
Tap dancing was a youthful obsession, fed with lessons and successful contests. He danced in professional shows through the Crash of ’29 into the 30’s and was known as the dance team of Samuel Brothers and Edith Fleming, dancing with the top names in the industry, including film shorts with titles like, “Café Rendevous.”
His stories of WWII, that great interruption to youthful dreams, included the incidents among the soldiers in their own little personal wars, as much a part of life as the anguish associated with the insanity of all War from London to Omaha Beach in Normandy.
Themes of hardship and downright luck thread through the extraordinary experiences of this ordinary man who loved his family most of all and left his tap dancing dreams behind to support them after WWII spared his life. Heart-warming insights about the value of that blessing filter through the stories.
The heart of the memoire comes full circle with the advent of television when an old clip of an old tap dancing film short, “Café Rendevous,” was shown on the Joe Franklin Show – the catalyst for a live television interview arranged by the oldest son, Stewart, to share memories of “Tap Dancing All the Way to ‘Omaha Beach’.” Children will realize their parents had lives before them; contemporaries will say, “ah, yes, I remember,” and all readers will appreciate a son’s promise to record his father’s memories, in his father’s own words, in his honor.
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