Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

MAR-APR 2018

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Page 31 of 139

Sometimes, memories mingle with present experiences in the most meaningful ways. My wife, Jen, who publishes this magazine as well as the Sophisticated Giving Charity Register you received with this issue, also volunteers at a thrift shop and donation center, rifty reads, which benefits the National Council of Jewish Women and the Julian Center. A couple of weeks ago, Jen came home with a large print she'd purchased at the shop. Someone had donated a series of three, all of which had been on display for years at the original location of Puccini's Smiling Teeth Pizza & Pasta at 86th and Ditch, just across the street from rifty reads. e print is a whimsical illustration of a toothy man shaped as a pizza slice, and is known to insiders as "e Pizza Genie." e originals were created for Puccini's by acclaimed designer Chris Pyle from pastel chalk, pencil and crayon, but had been replaced with photographic prints after years of wear and tear and exposure to the sun. e print holds special meaning for us because of our history with that particular Puccini's, which was "our" place when we started dating back in 1991. We felt like we were living large when we dined there, or got some takeaway. A pizza, a couple of salads...that was a big deal to us back then. Or even a single serving of pasta, which came with a salad and garlic bread, plus an extra salad; that was a real treat, too. We didn't have a lot, and Puccini's was a splurge. We loved it, and we loved the staff. We got to know them all on a first-name basis. Puccini's employees saw Jen and me go from dating to marriage to parenthood. By the time we had our first child, Puccini's had started delivering. Back in those days, before I could afford to buy Jen fresh flowers every week, we used to have silk flowers on the kitchen table. When the delivery driver, usually Scott, would arrive with our pizza, Gracie, then about two, would grab the bouquet and toddle to the front door. Scott would smell the flowers, thank her, and then hand them back. So when Jen saw the painting of e Pizza Genie, her smile was probably as wide as his. To find him at rifty reads must have seemed like kismet. at print was a reminder of a time when we weren't as fortunate as we are now, in many ways. But even when Jen didn't have much, she was a dedicated worker bee, devoting whatever time it took to reach her own goals and to help others reach theirs. It's one of the things I admire most about my wife. Her generous approach to the welfare of others and her constant spirit of giving have made all our lives much richer. Jeffrey Cohen From the Editor-in-Chief 30

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