News & Views

Doris Ex Machina, Part the First

Jeff assigned me the responsibility to blog for him while he’s busy dealing with chapter business. He assured me that people would be interested in my experience as a contestant on Romania’s Got Talent, and perhaps he is correct, but so far it seems that he is not. Don’t tell him I said this, but Jeff is not correct about many things. Still, he trusted me with this blog and I feel some responsibility, in his absence, to build for him the audience. You may be wondering who I am. I am Adelina, Jeff’s dead Romanian ancestor.

Anyway, Jeff says I am supposed to tell you about how I discovered my cousin Vlad’s body, in Doris’s dressing room, on the set of Romania’s Got Talent. As if I could begin the story at such a point. I do not understand how Jeff can find a publisher who will pay him any money at all for his stories when he does not seem to understand that a story must have a proper beginning, middle and ending.

And, of course, a title. A story must have a proper title.

So today I can only begin to tell you the story.


My name is Adelina. I am the pretty one. The others in the photograph are my cousins, Andreea, Iulia, Doris, Tunde and Vlad. (I do not understand how a boy with such a tiny putz can gain the nickname The Impaler. I asked my cousin Tunde. She smiled, but would not say).

We did not start out to become contestants on Romania’s Got Talent. We did not start out to be anything. We did our chores and studied the Talmud and daydreamed about our future husbands. (I do not know what Vlad dreamed about.)

Also, I did not know what Iulia dreamed about until one day, she gathered us all in the kitchen and told us of her plans. And that, I think, is as much as I can tell you today.



Adelina is the pretty one. She was born in Bucharest in 1887.

She died of tuberculosis in Brooklyn in 1936.

Being dead, Adelina has time to blog.

5 Responses

  1. Triss Stein says:

    OK, I’m hooked. Looking forward to the next installment.

  2. So am I. I never know what Adelina will say next. Being dead, she doesn’t always think before she speaks (or writes).

  3. Walt Giersbach says:

    Oh, Jeff, this is a grabber and I haven’t thought about Romania since…well, a long time.

  4. Jeff,

    Your family history is interesting. As it happens, we have that in common aside from writing. My parents are from Romania, but they met here in New York. My sister and I are first generation Americans.

  5. Cassy Pickard says:

    I had to laugh. I too am of a Romanian father. My husband and I have been many times to visit friends. It’s not a simple country and certainly doesn’t have a simple history. On one of our trips a number of years ago I couldn’t sleep for the howling dogs all through the night- abandoned pups during the dictatorship. The changes for good are amazing. I’ll watch for the next installments to this tale!