the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Century Village

Like “Jersey Boys”

My mother called up from her winter rental in Century Village, Boca Raton, Florida.

“Hey, Mom.  How you doing?”

“Good.  I saw a fabulous show last night.”

“Oh yeah?  What?”

“I forgot the name.   A singing group.  There is a show about them on Broadway.”

“I don’t know.”

“You do know.”


“You mean Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons?”


“You saw Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons?”


“Oh, you mean they had a production of Jersey Boys at Century Village?”

“No.  It was people doing the songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.”

“So, that’s Jersey Boys.”

“No, Jersey Boys is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  This had no story.  It was just the songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.”

“So, they were Frankie Valli and the Four Season imitators?”

“No, they were more imitators of Jersey Boys.”

“Jersey Boys ARE imitators of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  So what you saw was an imitator of an imitator.”

“But they were very good.  Now I don’t need to pay $100 and see Jersey Boys.”

“This reminds me of when you went to Italy last year and the tour bus ran out of time, so they took you to see an imitation of the imitation of the statue of David.”

“Next week, I’m going to see Tom Jones.”

“Tom Jones is coming to Century Village?!”

“No.  Someone who sings like him.”

“Then STOP saying you’re going to see Tom Jones.  You’re not seeing Tom Jones.  You’re seeing a Tom Jones imitator.  It is confusing me when you say that.  Say that you are seeing a Tom Jones imitator.”

“It says in the brochure, “Hear the music of Tom Jones.””

“Yeah, it is the songs of Tom Jones.  But you’re not really seeing Tom Jones.”

“Eh, if he is good enough, does it really matter?”

“So, why don’t you hire someone who looks and sounds JUST like me to be your imitation son.  That would be the same thing, right?”

“Maybe my imitation son would actually send me a Hanukkah card, hmm?”

Florida Vacation Photos!

West Palm Beach, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida

Sophia and My Mother

The water was much warmer than at the beach in LA.

I kept on seeing these hunky guys on the beach with no hair on their bodies, so I tried to shave my back, but mostly just cut myself.

Palm Beach — the good ol’ days (for everyone except the guy pushing the chair).  Look at the contrast in expressions.

The Flagler Mansion in Palm Beach.   Flagler is the man who “created modern Florida” through his building of the railroad and his somewhat shady dealings with the government.   Our tour guide was a very well-dressed older man who I think just lost his fortune in the Madoff ponzi scheme and was forced to take a job giving visitors tours of the mansion.


The Flagler Museum offers a “high tea.”  It was fun, but the sandwiches were so measly that we went out to lunch afterwards.


There are canals all along the coast, and drawbridges everywhere, especially in Fort Lauderdale.   I was surprised how patient  the drivers were, waiting in their cars with no honking.   This would not happen in New York.

I know everyone is waiting for me to make fun of Century Village, with all the residents at “death’s door,” but it really wasn’t that bad.  Sure, there was a good amount of senior Jewish kvetching about their aching backs by the former New York residents, but let’s give kudos to modern science for keeping all of us alive longer, and in better health.    Here is my mother and a couple of her friends talking about the younger man who is taking a shower in the apartment next door and the size of his penis.   (Ha Ha, my mother was NOT happy with that post, because she just told all of her friends at Century Village to read my blog — and the first post they read was…)

The “Clubhouse” is the central attraction at Century Village, much like the Student Union on a college campus.    Inside this nice building is a gym, a library, art studios, card rooms, and a theater.    Thousands of people live in Century Village and they have their own bus system.

The lobby of the Clubhouse is as nice as one at any Hyatt Hotel.

The clubhouse has several enormous Las Vegas sized card rooms.   My mother played canasta, mah jonng, Scrabble, etc.    Let’s admit it — this isn’t that much different than the stupid games we play on Facebook.   At least here, the residents are playing with REAL people, face to face.

The entertainment offered to the residents is surprisingly good.   While I didn’t go to any of the recent shows, they included an ABBA and Beatles tribute band, Chubby Checker, and a night with Robert Klein.   Robert Klein!   Hey, I guess we all get older.   Would it really be that surprising to have Prince and Janet Jackson performing for us when we are at Century Village?

Here is some belly dancer at a Greek restaurant that I am throwing in, just for the sex appeal.   We were there for the early bird special!   Since I was one of the younger men there, she invited me to dance with her.   Sorry, no video camera.

My mother returns to New York at the end of the month.   This year was an experiment, and she seemed to enjoy skipping the New York winter for three months.    But I’m not sure she’s ready to spend ALL her time playing canasta just yet.  I think she misses the big city.

As for me — and what I am doing next now that she is returning? — I certainly can’t live with my mother forever.   That is too weird, even for me.   I would grow despondent and spend all my time on Twitter.   Uh-oh.

So what is my next step?   Ha, I’m not going to tell you!   I’m going to keep it vague — just to keep you coming back to the blog, in the same way that you keep on watching “Lost,” despite having no idea what the hell is going on.  In fact, isn’t that WHY you watch it?!

Mom Dearest

Have you noticed that I have gone from writing about Sophia every day on my blog to writing my mother? Does this mean that my existence completely revolves around the woman I happen to be sharing my space with at the time?

Don’t answer.

In a week from today, my mother is going to retire from her job at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Publishers.  She has worked with the company since before she was married, and has seen drastic changes in the publishing industry over the decades.  What does this mean to you, my dear blogger friends?  This means you have one more week to suck up to me, thinking that somehow I can help you get your sleep-inducing “memoir” read by the company’s editor-in-chief.  After that, you can stop reading this blog because I will be useless to you.

My mother does not like the Florida senior early-bird dinner lifestyle, but her friends have pressured her to sublet an apartment in “Century Village” in Boca Raton for three months this winter so she can try it out.  Yes, she has officially become like Seinfeld’s mother.

This creates a dilemma. Do I stay here during the winter while she is in Florida?

Am I ever going back to Los Angeles?

Is there a direct connection between me returning to New York and the immediate collapse of Wall Street?

Imaginary Phone Conversation Between Sophia and My Mother
a one act play by Neilochka

Mom:  How DID you live with him for so long?

Sophia:  Now do you see what I was talking about?

Mom:  And every night it is the same thing!  He watches All My Children, yelling at the TV, saying “Don’t do it, Erica!” and then he locks himself in his room for an hour, making all these weird grunting sounds, like a caveman.  What does he do in there?”

Sophia:  You don’t want to know.  If I were you, I’d get away from him this winter before he makes you crazy.  Go anywhere.  Go to Florida.

Mom:  I hate Florida.

Sophia:  Well, it’s your choice.  Florida in the sun or three long months with…

Mom:  Hola, Boca!  Will you come visit?

Sophia:  Sure.  And I won’t tell him!

The two women laugh.


Yeah, I know I am funny.   But, the only reason I have a sense of humor is because my mother is funnier.

After reading my last post, she bought me this as a gift:

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