A letter from the Monte

January 23, 2015 by  
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Serafima Lapteva joined her busband Moissei Fidler at a special dinner at the Montefiore Home in Hunter’s Hill…she tells J-Wire how it went.

From: Serafima Lapteva:

Moissei Fidler and wife Serafima Lapteva

Moissei Fidler and wife Serafima Lapteva

When the invitation, ‘You are cordially invited to attend a Couple’s Dinner’ came unexpectedly, my husband and I had no idea of what was awaiting us.

Here we found ourselves, sitting opposite each other at a stylish table set with two wine glasses. The waiter approached us and offered us wine – a red for my husband and a white for me. We gave the waiter a nod of complicity as if to say we are in this together, and raised our glasses, without saying a word, exchanging glances. One could possibly think that these glances might well have been worn out after so many years, but no, they aren’t. There is no need for words as the feelings are contained in the memories they recall.

We looked around us and saw the other couples sitting at about twenty tables in this large hall draped by blue curtains. Each couple was involved in the same ritual – raising their glasses. The hall was filled with the many years of our combined ages.

We are so fortunate that the Montefiore Home has provided us with this wonderfully romantic evening accompanied by Nicholas Dyumin, playing Russian, Jewish and Latin American music on his violin. Nicholas knows his clientele well and knows what to play to draw out their memories. For two hours we had a wonderful evening full of music that enabled us to tap into so many memories transporting us into the past. I saw a husband and wife holding hands whilst listening to the music.

A grey haired man embraced his wife’s shoulders and admired her new hairdo and colour which she had done especially for this evening.

While listening to the music taking us back in time – waltz, foxtrot, tango, I conversed with a lady from the Hostel. She was very good-looking, slim and elegantly dressed. Her precious Star of David necklace shone around her neck standing out against her beautiful dress. She told me that this music brings her back to the days when she was so fond of dancing. She and her husband used to take part in dancing competitions in England – she still has medals for winning prizes in these competitions – especially for ballroom and Latin American dancing. She recalled how as time went on the dresses she wore got shorter and shorter. Her dresses used to be decorated with sparkles, beads and embroidery. Dress making eventually became her profession.

In the hall I saw another couple from Russia whom I used to know and I recalled life in our younger times. Both the music and seeing them led me to take an enjoyable skip down memory lane – recalling memories from shared experiences in our lives – so many interesting meetings and fateful events!

I was brought back to reality gently when our waiter enticed us with a delicious salmon dish and we continued to take sips from our wine glasses.

In vino veritas! – ‘in wine there is truth.’ What truth will be uncovered tonight by the time we get to the bottom of our wine glasses? How did we see ourselves through the light of the wine glasses?

During the evening many thoughts flitted through my mind, but happily my reminiscing took a break and I returned to the present as we concluded the meal with cheese-cake decorated with pink berry ice cream balls sitting prettily on large white plates.

I felt the excitement of the guests permeating the entire room, having shared a common meal and friendly conversation.

I noticed a thoughtful young man, a nurse, feeding a woman whose hands trembled. In fact all the staff worked harmoniously together to provide us with an opportunity to wrap ourselves in the romantic haze of years past. May I take this opportunity to express my appreciation for having experienced this wonderful evening.

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