Monday, May 9, 2011
A ROLE JUDD HIRSCH NEVER KNEW HE PLAYED
Our son Robert and his wife Stacey came to visit yesterday to celebrate mother's day as well as Robert's 36th birthday. Bill and Margo were in Rhode Island since Bill is finishing up his last semester of grad school and they weren't able to come down,but they made dinner for me last week in Connecticut which was so nice.
We all have funny and poignant stories from our childrens' childhoods and Stacey helped me remember this one recently. (Thank you, Stacey!)
Thirty years ago when Robert was in first grade, we lived in Roselle Park, New Jersey. He was a happy-go-lucky and precocious child who could read the newspaper when he was just two years old. It was amazing!
Robert usually accompanied me on trips to the supermarket and each trip was fairly routine. After one trip for groceries, he was very quiet on the way home and at dinner he angrily told his father and me that he was never going back to the A&P in Union again. When we asked him why, he insisted that he "didn't like that man" at the supermarket, but he wouldn't tell us why. His actual words were, "I hate that man"! As alarming as it sounded, I knew that Robert had definitely, positively been at my side during our entire shopping trip, so it just didn't make sense.
Determined to find out who the man was, my husband convinced Robert to go back to the supermarket with him to see if the man was still there, possibly an employee of A&P. Off they went and I wish I had a real photo instead of just a mental image of their trip; six year old Robert clutching the hand of his 6'4" father as they marched up to the store, George ready to take this threatening man apart limb by limb. They actually didn't even have to go inside before Robert spotted the man who had upset him so much.
Supermarkets had just begun to place the framed advertising placards on the fronts of the shopping carts. George brought Robert home and when they explained to me what had happened, we couldn't stop laughing. There, on the very front of one of the shopping carts was an advertisement that featured Judd Hirsch extolling the delights of Yoplait Yogurt........in FRENCH! We discovered that Robert was so upset and angry because he couldn't understand why he couldn't read the words, "YOPLAIT YOGURT EST DELICIEUX".
Robert's love of language has never wavered and we began to buy him the French books featuring Tin Tin and Snowy, in both English and French. Robert started French classes in middle school and continued through college. He spent a year in college in France before obtaining his first master's degree in French from Yale University. This past Christmas Stacey gave Robert an original print ad featuring Judd Hirsch in the Yoplait Yogurt ad, which she's going to have framed for their new home.
Thank you, Judd Hirsch, for being the catalyst for Robert's bilingual education, a role you never knew you played.