Betty Kaplan, US



Haibun 2

Wall Street

Managing a store on Wall Street in New York City was an interesting experience.

Business there was done on an exact schedule: 8—9 AM, 12—2 PM, and 5—6 PM.

At these times, we were very busy. In between, everyone just disappeared. Since most of the business was done at the noon hour, the registers were cleared after the noon hour rush.

One afternoon at 2.30, I was on the main floor. In walked a man who held me up at gunpoint: "give me all the money in the three registers."

Much to his chagrin, the registers were EMPTY! Timing is everything. He was one-half hour too late.

We would see the same secretaries every day. The store detective called me up to my office. There was one of my customers trying to steal over $500 worth of merchandise.

"Just charge it to my account."

"I am sorry, but I have to take your card away and you are going to jail."

She looked up at me with her beautiful big blue eyes: "is that anyway to treat a good customer?"

I loved working in that store. Every day was a joy.

bright morning
the cocoon turns
into a butterfly


The Rainbow

The city in front of my balcony is a large semicircle. During the day, I see the buildings and roads and a beautiful lake. At night, there is a forest of twinkling lights.

But I have never been caught as breathless as this early morning.

I went out on my balcony to the most wonderful surprise. There in the sky, a rainbow covering the entire semicircle. It was the largest rainbow I have ever seen.

Deep in colors. And I counted them saying red, orange, yellow, green. blue, violet. And at the end, there truly was gold.

Therein lies the myth we have said since childhood, "A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."

kindergarten class—
standing in a row
her new crayons


An Ordinary Day

Sometimes an ordinary day can become an extraordinary day. . .

I do not see my daughter as often as I wish. She is a busy lawyer in Los Angeles and I am retired and living in Florida.

On one visit there, we decided to go shopping. Such great fun! She helped me in the dressing room and on her turn, I helped her.

We were walking through the crowded mall when Jayne turned to me, "Mom, I have a surprise for you."

In the tea shop, the shelves were stocked with tins of tea, unusual tea pots and such. But when we walked through to the back, we were transported into another era. An old fashioned English Tea Room. The walls were mauve and pink. The waitresses wore long black dresses, small white aprons, a cap with frills and even white gloves.

While sipping tea with finger sandwiches, we sat and reminisced.

Time stood still.

A day to cherish.

my future
in the bottom of a cup
green tea leaves


The Hat

The Renée Shop was one of three millinery stores my husband and I owned when we were first married. It was the time when hats had little veils that had to pined into the exact place over the face, and women wore hats every place.

I had a favorite hat that I loved. On this day, I wore it to the store and put it on a table in the back room.

A good customer came into the store. She tried on at least a dozen hats. None pleased her. But I knew what she was looking for. I went into the back room and brought out my favorite hat. She was delighted. Just what she wanted. What could I do?

So, alas, I sold her MY hat.

Easter Sunday
a parade of flower hats
down 5th Avenue


What's in A Name?

April Fool! Could that be me? My life has been April 1.

I needed my birth certificate to get a passport. So I sent away to Westfield, Mass where I was born. Imagine my surprise to find I am not Betty April 1 but Lieba March 31

Lieba, a variant Yiddish form of the German Liebe, meaning Loved One. How pretty! How nice!. But I am still Betty.

family nite—
shuffling cards
the joker is wild


The Cherry Tree

Bing cherries on sale, $2.99 a pound. I am standing in the super market looking at a mound of plastic bags filled with cherries.

My mind flashes back to "the cherry tree." It stood in the yard of a house on the corner.

Every year when the cherries were ripe, the neighborhood children would gather for the picking. Climbing the tree, lips red from the juices, hands all sticky. Our pay, all we could eat!

I can almost smell the aroma coming from the open kitchen door as the ladies made cherry jam and pies. The jars all in a neat row ready to be put in the basement.

The pies for the next charity sale.

morning breakfast
bagels and cream cheese
and . . .


To Touch The Shore

It is unusual weather for Florida, cold with high winds. I am comfortably curled up on the couch. A TV alert breaks into the program. Three Cuban rafters in old inner tubes tied together have been spotted in the rough sea. Wave after wave brings them closer to shore.

With the "foot policy", they must touch the shore to stay in the US. A Coast Guard helicopter hovers overhead just watching, just watching. They will help if there is danger but the rafters must make it on their own. Wave after wave slowly brings them closer. A crowd has gathered on the beach. They can only stand and watch.

climbing over the wall
the bougainvillea drops
a blanket of petals


Change is good?

My local super market has just been renovated. They have now changed all the isles.

Before, when you went to shop it was quick and easy knowing where everything was.

Now, everyone is walking around with a bewildered look. Of course this is just marketing.

I find myself buying things I never did before.

hi neighbor
did you find it?
where are the peas?


 Negative Vibrations

A nice Russian fellow
gave me ride home from the gym.
Vitale is into Kabbalah
and is always telling me
his thoughts.
I am tired and hungry and
eager to get into the house.
But, suddenly it starts to rain.
This is a Florida rain
Very, very intense.
So, Vitale starts to tell me
about a woman in the gym
who is giving off
negative vibrations to the class.
So much so
he is thinking
of asking her to leave.
(he owns the gym).
I keep nodding. I have heard all this
about negativity before.
As we sit there in the rain,
my mind is going back to
Springfield, Mass.
Where the rain was so gentle.
It was an all day rain,
unlike the short storms
we have in Florida.
(And) I am sitting on a window sill
the rain bubbles on the sloping roof.

All the while,
Vitale is going on and on.
Suddenly, just the way it started,
the rain stops.
"Thank you Vitale. I so
enjoyed the company."
And I am back into the sun again.

on a live wire
a line of crows



Rapunzel, Rapunzel

I lean on the rail of my balcony on the 15th floor. The view is spectacular, the weather picture perfect.

Anchored in the sparkling blue water of the lake, a schooner. And I wonder where has it been and what have they seen. Off in the distance, the rumble of a train. Overhead, the roar of a plane.

The trees and the flora spread out before me. Always beautiful and always the same.

I could take the elevator down and sit by the pool but...

...I wait for my prince to take me away. There is so much more waiting for me.

Sunday afternoon
After The New York Times
What else?

Read Haibun 1



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