Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Monologue Mania Day # 1413 Then and Now by Janet S. Tiger (c) Dec. 27 , 2017

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Monologue Mania Day # 1413 Then and Now by Janet S. Tiger (c) Dec. 27 , 2017    

        This is a rough draft for a presentation for JFS - which- in 1918- will be celebrating 100 years of helping people!  If you want more info, to volunteer or donate, please click here
                                 Then and Now     
                                          (Not) a monologue by Janet S. Tiger (c) all rights reserved 2017
Photographs suggested for projection onto screen or wall-  Photos will be seen throughout the presentation – ranging from the original Jolly 16, telegraphs, immigrants, original JFS locations, email, current location, staff and volunteers now.

At open – Photos of San Diego circa 1915-18

ANNOUNCER - Ladies and gentlemen, we have a special treat this evening - lights  down please....

          (Lights will go down, first photos seen)

With the magic of theater, we can go back 100 years and …….introduce you to one of the founders of JFS - Mrs. Rose Neumann.......                                                    

                                                                                                                                    Photo- Rose

Please close your eyes for a moment.....let your imagination fill in the spaces.....

                                                                                                                        Photos -San Diego

it is 1918, San Diego has ....74,000 people....not a tiny port anymore... the railroad comes here! ...   there is the beginning of what will be one day be......Miramar Air Base ...we even have a chapter of the NAACP...
                                                                                                                        Photo –Rose and Al

and we have Rose Neumann and her husband Al have been here in San Diego for 6 years....- .and it is not night anymore, but the end of the night, with the dawn breaking on the docks of San Diego - the fisherman are bringing in their hauls and Rose is there - trying to convince them to share in their bounty......I introduce you to the amazing.......Rose Neumann.....

(Rose is in her 30s-40s, because it is 1918-1928.  Slight German accent.)
 - very active, she comes through the audience greeting people)

 -Hello....hello, good to see you!.......beautiful morning isn't it?  Look at these wonderful
fish!  What a lovely smell!  And so fresh!   But what about tomorrow? If you don't sell them today......you know what that means!

But I can help you with that....I want to help you with that-  ...it's very simple, with less fish, less smell, right?

I mean, if you help me, I help you!  I have some families, and some men, they just came to this beautiful city of ours, and they don't have jobs, or enough money for food, so if you give me the fish, you help these people, and you help yourself!  No extra fish to worry about!  No mess!  I'm saving you time and energy......


ROSE - Yes, I have heard the expression - give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man
to fish, and you feed him for his life.

I agree!  But there's another part to that saying - 'you can't feed a person who has starved to death!'

        (She smiles and nods)

ROSE - Thank you!  I knew you would help!  You have a nice face.......and some beautiful fish! 
You are going to make some hungry people very happy!

        (She looks to the side, nods)

So, I am going to give you another chance to help .......and it will help you and someone else - we do have some strong young men, maybe if I have them come with me.....you could give some of them jobs?  (Listens)  Okay, maybe just one man ...to start...... and I would like you to meet him.....he's going to help me carry the fish!

         (She indicates a youngish man coming onstage)

ROSE - This is Reuben, he may be new to San Diego, but he is not new to work!  And you will
be happy that you gave him a chance!  
            (Man in his 20s approaches, waves his hat)
REUBEN -  Thank you, Mrs. Neumann!  I appreciate all your kindness! 
        (As Reuben approaches, Rose turns to the audience and waves)

ROSE -  And all of you -  remember, my name is Rose....just like the flower...... start thinking
about what YOU can do to help!.....

            (She exits, and the young man looks around)

REUBEN - I came here to San Diego in 1920... (waves arms in a wide circle).... land of opportunity!  (laughs) 
An opportunity all right, an opportunity to starve!  Of course, my family was used to starving – we came from Russia!

In New York it was crowded, but at least, you knew people. And New York was cold.  I had enough of cold in Russia to last me a life!   Here, in San Diego, beautiful weather!  But in some ways, it was like a desert....really, a desert.  And no jobs for people like me.  I didn't come with much, but then, Mrs. Neumann there, she made sure I didn't starve.  I helped her out, carrying fish back to her kitchen.  There was always plenty of food there....and a lotta people, all needing help....and her kids.....it was crazy!

But everybody knew Rose.....she was.... amazing!  And then she got me this job, on a fishing boat.  The only other Jewish fisherman in San Diego!  (cont)

There's something about being new....being new, and yet....when you don't eat enough, when you're not sure where your next meal is coming from....where you're gonna sleep......it makes you feel a lot older.......fast......

         (Turns to leave, stops, looks back)

REUBEN -  If something happens to you, will anyone care?  Will someone tell your mother?  Will there be a
telegraph like this one…..

                                                                                               (Photos – telegraphs from the 1920s-30s)

(A woman comes onstage, dressed from that era, holding the telegram in her hand)

VOLUNTEER -  Mr. Samuel Weinstein left Chicago Jan. 22, 1934.  Age 27.  Stop.  Believe arrived    
San Diego Jan. 24, 1934.  Please confirm address and whereabouts of Mr. Weinstein.

            (She holds up a stack of telegrams tied with string)

VOLUNTEER - Every week we get these.  Someone looking for a relative that has....how do I
say it?  Disappeared.

Some of the people have moved, others have ...changed their name.....from marriage or because many people are looking for them and they don't want to be found....but most of them who are missing, well, no one knows what happened to them, and that's where JFS comes in.....we are like detectives!  Only instead of Dick Tracy.....we have the Jolly Sixteen!  Led by our own Rose Neumann, they can find anyone, anywhere!

Faster than a steaming kishke, able to leap not so tall buildings with a leather bound prayer book! these amazing women will help you find your loved one....downtown, on the edges of San Diego....even in Tijuana!  And when we do, we will help them get on their feet, and let you know where they are.....because we are the Jolly Sixteen!

         (She looks at the telegram, folds it carefully)

But sometimes, what we find is not so happy.  The person has gotten sick, maybe even died.  And even though we're not related, we all know what it feels like to lose a family member.....and even though we are just ordinary people, volunteering our time to help others.....well, sometimes we spell volunteers....with an emphasis on the....tears.....

      (Lights down on this volunteer)

              (Rose enters)  

ROSE - People ask me how I do it.  I was an immigrant myself, from Austria to New York....
 There is the first Jewish newspaper in San Diego, I helped found it.  The Junior Charity League, the Hebrew Sisterhood, the Jolly Sewing Circle and the Ladies Hebrew Aid Society - all leading to the Federated Jewish Charities....and I had children and a family and helped with my husband's business and some people have asked- how do I do this?

The answer is simple -  Modern Technology!

                                                                                                Photo – Old typewriter

ROSE -  You heard me, modern technology.....streetlights- so I can go anywhere in the city to
look for missing people – even after dark!  And there are telegraphs!  And…..(very happy) I have a typewriter, what an incredible invention!.....and I can type 50 words a minute...... And I have a …..telephone, right in my own home!   Not down the street, or down the hall, but attached to my own wall! And without this modern technology, I could never accomplish all that I do......

        (Looks at the audience, moves finger throughout the crowd)

ROSE - But most of all......I could never have done this.....without all my volunteers
.......volunteers of time ….of money......of support in all the ways possible.......thank you all!

They say one day, perhaps, there will be no one who needs help with a job, or with food, or with a place to live......who knows?  I hope that will come true.......and maybe with your help....it will!

 They also say someday...... a typewriter could be attached....to a telephone......now that is......meshugah!

        (Turns to leave, stops, looks back)

ROSE -  But our volunteers – that is one thing we know will never change – here’s one now –
            Her name…….

                                                                                                               Photo – Jolly 16

VOLUNTEER-  My name is……

            (Indicates the photo)

VOLUNTEER -  Every woman who volunteered – Rose was our first volunteer coordinator –
thank you Rose!

ROSE -  It was my pleasure!

VOLUNTEER -  But…although the help is the same, some of the people we helped…well, it
was different after World War II………………………………

                                                                                                Photos – WW II camps, refugees

VOLUNTEER -  Not immigrants anymore, these were refugees.  We were asked to help more
people…..it was a major task, but we did it, because these people often had no one else to help them…….welcome, Mr. ….

            (A refugee enters, he is in his 40s, nods to the volunteer)

REFUGEE  –(Slight European accent) Thank you…..the place you have for me is very
nice…..and there is room for more……perhaps, if some of my family is still alive (sighs) they will find me……

VOLUNTEER -  If you need anything, please, call…..

            (The volunteer exits, as the refugee looks around)

REFUGEE -  Refugee.  Immigrant…….What's the difference?  Big.  Big difference.
It may be a tough road, a difficult choice, but.......An immigrant chooses to come.   A refugee......is forced to make a choice.

After World War II, there was not a lot of choice for us survivors.

Israel - some of the people I knew in the camps, they went to Israel.  Me -I wanted to get as far away from Germany and Poland as I could.  I looked at a map - San Diego.  On the ocean -the Pacific, for peace.  Maybe a change that large could help me bring peace to my heart.

My story?  (Sighs)  You have heard my story many times.  My life between 1939 and 1945 was…..not easy.  You can fill in the blanks……

                                                                        Photos –fast montage of refugees

REFUGEE - When I came, the community was wonderful, JFS helped me with many things…. 
As an engineer, I could get work here in San Diego, a big military town, and with a place to stay and food to help my family until the paychecks came......but for my heart, it was the counseling that made the difference......how do you go through the pain of losing everything?  A body needs nourishment, a roof, but a soul.....a broken soul needs more........someone to talk to, it made a big difference.....just another person who you knew would be there tomorrow......

                                                                                                Photos – counseling

And ……over the years…..I was able to ..volunteer to help others who came…..by the 1970s, …..it was like the ocean brought in new waves! from Russia!  Through the JFS, I sponsored a family escaping from a country that would not allow religious freedom…..

                                                                                                Photos – Russian refugees

and together we shared a common thread – we were strangers in a strange land….this continues today, as we have refugees from countries all over the world!

                                                                                                Photos – Russian refugees

And I just realized….here’s a way to separate the refugees from the immigrants – the refugees….never volunteer to be refugees!

            (The volunteer comes forward again, this time dressed in modern clothing, she smiles at
the refugee)                                                    

                                                                                                Photo – Emails, computers

VOLUNTEER -  Thank you for becoming a volunteer, Mr. Rubin….In my family, well, my
family always volunteered to help!

My mother, my grandmother, I am just one of a long line of volunteers.  I would go with my grandmother when she took food to new immigrants....and she told me HER grandmother was a volunteer with Moses!  And when he brought down the 10 Commandments, she typed them up........

Me, I loved computers from when my children first got them, JFS came into the modern era….. I wanted to use computers to help  - especially email!  

We get thousands of emails a year - for assistance in so many ways....from so many different types of people...here's one.....

            (Holds up her phone)

                                                                                                Photos – emails asking for help

VOLUNTEER - ....Our family needs a place to stay, can you help us?

or....  'we are having trouble with my uncle who lives with us, he forgets to
take his medication, and we are worried......'

or....this is my favorite....

What can I do to help?  ,  I'm only 15......I'm only one person…..One……

That’s my favorite because - our whole organization started with one person......at a time......the jolly 16 was 16 women, added one at a time...

Each person, each volunteer, each donor, each recipient of our help - is one person.  And when you help one person…….it's like saving the whole world.  Rose – you’re a good example!

            (Rose is seen again)

ROSE -  Here I am again - do you remember me?  I'm the same Rose Neumann, but
with more theater magic, it’s 1981, I am 97 and I lived at Seacrest Village - one of my last major accomplishments.

                                                                                      Photos- San Diego 1981.. Seacrest Village

ROSE - A lot has changed - San Diego County has almost 2 million residents in 1981 –

                                                                                                            Photos- San Diego now

VOLUNTEER  -  and in 2018 – almost 4 million!  but as you can see, some things are the
same… some people need help – we help over 35,000 people a year, babies, seniors –
every age in between……with much the same help as one hundred years ago - jobs, food, a safe place to stay.....

                                                                                                            Photos- parking lot

REFUGEE-……outside our doors today in 2018, we have our fellow residents who live in their
vehicles – our (name of)   program gives them a place that is safe to park, food, and a chance to get help to break the cycle and return to a home that is not on four wheels.

ROSE  -  And we still do not ask whether a person is Jewish ……..

REFUGEE -   or Catholic ……

VOLUNTEER -  or Buddhist or Muslim ……..

ROSE/REFUGEE/VOLUNTEER  (Together) - ….because hunger has no religion.

VOLUNTEER  - In the next 100 years  - JFS will continue to help refugees, immigrants, seniors,
those with problems that make life difficult - and we thank you again for your help in helping us do this!

ROSE -  I may be part of the past, but you are part of the present - and...the future is now! 


            (Applause- and hopefully people donating more to help JFS)

Note: A few words about 'free' -  all these monologues are protected under copyright law and are free to read, free to perform and video as long as no money is charged. Once you charge admission or a donation, or include my work in an anthology, you need to contact me for royalty 

Janet S. Tiger    858-736-6315                CaregiversAnon.org
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983

Swedenborg Hall 2006-8

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