I continue doggedly pursuing items from my archives that will bring back some happy memories at a time when current events are so sour and sad.
In 1989, when Diamondville rolled into San Diego it was around Passover, so Jews of all sizes, shapes, faiths and colors gathered together to celebrate with a semi-traditional Seder dinner, which took place in an intimate alcove just off the main catering area at the Sports Arena. Here is the PBI coverage of the event:
As promised, there was no pizza or tacos, but no one seemed to mind. The Manischewitz poured like wine, as the real and ersatz faithful feasted on matza, chicken, potato pancakes and other delicacies—following the question-and-answer period, ably handled by publicist emeritus Sherrie Levy (playing the part of the youngest) and our vocalist (in the role of the eldest).
The service itself was quite brief, in some ways resembling a Cliff’s notes version, but the Yiddish pronunciations were convincing, at least seemed so to the inexperienced ears of many of the goyim celebrants.
•One matza was reported to be missing and had not been located at press time.
•Stage Manager Doug Pope attended, the first Pope to attend a Seder in quite a few years.
•King Errisson observed that the Matzoh Ball Soup bore a startling resemblance to a fondly- remembered menu item from his native land, wherever that is.
•Sam Cole differed, saying that the matzoh balls reminded him of long-ago billiard games.
•Marilyn Lowey assembled the necessary props and scripts for our exercise in Judaica, and did an excellent job of keeping things as authentic as possible, under the circumstances. She also handled the blessing of the candles with authority, while Sam Cole performed the blessing of the wine, which it sorely needed.
•The Hockensmiths were wide awake for the festivities, thanks to Hadley’s 6 a.m. “celebrity wake-up call” from a local radio station. He was uncertain whether to be annoyed by the inconvenience or honored at being mistaken for a celebrity.
•The Tutts also attended, and Ron seemed relieved to be involved in an activity which did not involve the use of a credit card.
•The late Cathrine Hensley enjoyed the ceremony, but did not express any willingness to convert;
•and the late Patrick Stansfield told the PBI he regarded it as a kind of St. Patrick’s celebration in reverse, a day when nobody is Irish.
•There was a surprisingly spirited rendition of “Da-Yay-Nu,” which left some at the table contemplating securing publishing on the arrangement. K. Errisson was restrained from mistakenly breaking into a chorus of “Day-O”.
•The late Vince Charles made a surprise guest appearance, bearing a special gift from the Black of the Bus and the laseroids: a 3-pound container of Diamond Crystal Kosher (or so sez Rabbi Bernard Levy no relation to Sherrie of Brooklyn) Salt, enough to cover the rims of dozens of margarita glasses. The salt box’s logo bore a startling similarity to the diamond which appeared above the stage at the beginning of our show in those days.
•Finally, since this took place during the era of smoking, the Principal wrapped up the celebration by lighting an after-dinner cigarette, one with a gefïlte tip.
The event became part of Diamondville’s rich history. It was further immortalized when our shuffling team created a poker game called “San Diego Seder,” which was basic 5-card stud, but with the cards dealt in reverse, so that the last card was down.
That night, the PBI published a quasi-official Seder Hymn, and it went exactly like this:
(sung to the tune of “Alla en El Rancho Grande”)
We’re gonna have a Seder
Way down in San Diego
We’re gonna eat some maror
and then we’ll have some karpas
and no one’s gonna stop us
There’ll be no tacos or pizza
but lots of matza and baytza
Although we don’t know much Hebrew
We’ll try to sing Dadayaynu
We’ll pour the Mogen David
and some of us will drink it
because those herbs are bitter
and S. Levy and Mare-O
will cuss that nasty Pharaoh
We’ll eat a sandwich for Hillel
Then do the show if we’re still well
We’ll stump the band and the caterer
at the first Arch Angel Seder