About Lime Jell-O by Sandi Sonnenfeld ’85

Sandi Sonnenfeld is Founder and Managing Editor of The Lyon Review. Her short stories and personal essays have appeared in more than 30 literary magazines and anthologies, including Sojourner, The Story Teller, ACM, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and The Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review among others. She is also the author of the 2002 memoir, This is How I Speak (Impassio Press), for which she was named a Celebration Author by the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. “About Lime Jello” originally appeared in Volume 9, #1-2 issue of The Raven Chronicles: A Journal of Art, Literature & The Spoken Word.

Last Saturday, my husband Warren and I attended his aunt and uncle’s golden wedding anniversary party on Whidbey Island, an island located about ninety miles from Seattle. Though the happy couple, Dot and Wes, are close to Warren’s mother, I have spoken with them only a half-dozen times, and nearly always at some gathering similar to this one.

Married less than three years, I’m impressed by anyone who has managed to stay together for so long. As we pull into the driveway to the Catholic Church where the reception is to be held, I look at my husband’s profile as he negotiates the parking lot. I look at him for reassurance, hoping for a brief smile or a mild squeeze of my hand that tells me everything will be all right, to ignore the tightening in my stomach that I always get when I have to face a crowd of strangers. He does not return my look; his eyes are fixed on finding the right parking space, one that is reasonably close to the lot’s exit so that we don’t have to wait in a long line of cars when we leave.

Still this is why I married him. Ten years my senior, I thought that surely a man who carries a compass with him wherever he goes would be useful for a person like me who tends to get lost inside her head. I who cannot stop wandering around those messy crevices of the brain’s limbic region, ducking in unexplored caves, picking at half-buried wounds with a prospector’s axe, only to re-emerge moments later, blinking in the sunlight as I readjust to the external world.

Photo of green gelatin

Photo of green gelatin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Short Story: That American Thing

Sandi Sonnenfeld ’85 is a fiction writer and essayist and Managing Editor of The Lyon Review. Her stories and creative nonfiction pieces have appeared in more than 30 literary magazines and anthologies, including Hayden’s Ferry Review, Sojourner, Voices West, ACM: Another Chicago Magazine, Raven Chronicles and others.  In 2002, she was named a Celebration Author by the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association for her memoir, This is How I Speak (Impassio Press), which recounts Sandi’s first year enrolled at the MFA program in fiction writing at the University of Washington.  “That American Thing,” republished here, won The David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Award for Young Writers (1998) sponsored by the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education.

Miklos Sandor first saw his future wife Elissia when she was a contestant in the Miss Liberty beauty pageant held at the Hungarian Jewish Social Club of Detroit.  Miklos had forgotten about the beauty contest when he stopped in at the Club after work.  It was Thursday and he was thinking about the car.

Miklos Sandor didn’t want just any car; he wanted one that he had helped build at Mr. Ford’s Motor Car Company.  Miklos Sandor wanted a 2.9 liter, monoble sv, four‑cylinder Tin Lizzie with a capacity cruising speed of forty‑five miles per hour and a detachable hood.  The list price for the new 1925 edition was eight hundred and sixty dollars.  Miklos had sat down with a pencil and paper and figured out that if he saved five dollars weekly, one quarter of his salary, he could own the car in eight years, seven months, and twenty‑one days.  So every Thursday when he got paid, Miklos stuffed five dollars into his right sock and played chess with Morty Feldman at the Club.

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