An Interactive Memoir
Jerry Ross, the Painter

"To be truly lost is to have, in fact, found the Way"

In "The Joys of Yiddish" by Leo Rosten: "Pronounced far-BLAWN-jit, to rhyme with "car lawn kit."  Lost (but really lost), mixed-up, wandering about without any idea where you are...It refers not simply to being lost, but to having-gotten-way-the-hell-and-gone-off-the-track."

Farblondjet, In our family, it was pronounced more like fur-blun-git to rhyme with "sir fun bit"  but as a compromise I am writing it as "farblondjet" so as to be more in keeping with official yiddish.  But please pronounce it in your own mind as fur-blun-git ("furblungit)," which was how Sidney, my Father, used it.

I am an artist (a painter) and an artist who seeks what I call "Il vero" (the truth) who knows very intimately what it is to be farblondgit. Being farblondgit is the permanent state of the artist. This is because once one makes a breakthrough and captures a glimpse of reality, at a deeper level than before, reality has a way of scampering ahead, again raising up its shield of mystery. Thus the artist feels "lost" or "way out" immediately after a very successful painting simply because one wants to penetrate deeper into "truth" which then takes even more effort and energy which gives rise to a sense of frustration and failure. I call this the "farblondgit effect" because of the existential crisis it brings about in the artist which can lead to depression and even suicide.

This book is about the evolution of my career as a painter. But before the discussion of my painting and significant exhibits, I take you through a "Jewish humor" version if my early life. I was born in 1944, but there is plenty to reveal regarding my involvement in the anti-war and civil-rights movements of the sixties.  Then there is the "Twenty Years of Yawning" which happens to be the title of my poem about the post-Vietnam War period of the 70s and 80s. Finally era of 80s and 90s is covered. The latter is largely about my return to painting and the beginnings of at least a modicum of recognition for my work both locally and internationally.

Not too long ago I retired from my day job at a community college. One of the great things about retirement is the sense of freedom. This is balanced, of course, by a sense of dread regarding finances and how to pay the bills.   My lovely step daughter, Genessa, bless her heart, is divorced. So now I am helping to support two families, luckily not entirely.  In today's great economy a young woman can work full-tme and still just barely manage to feed and clothe her family, yet alone keep gas in the car So when it comes to moving expenses, car repairs, buying shoes for the grandchildren, summer camp, etc., guess who gets to foot the bill?

Of course I am not complaining.  Genessa & now the grandchildren are a joy. It is the day to day stress of financial and health matters of the extended family, and in this it is no different for any family. So here is where humor can really come in handy.  It is best, if for no more reason than to prevent going crazy, to laugh and joke as much as possible.

Which gets me to the point of this book which is somewhat autobiographical and somewhat just an excuse to write some funny stuff. As I look to the future, I am sure retirement will be a blessing. I don't mean to mean to kvetch unnecessarily. I have my health (somewhat), I travel,  and have a beautiful wife (also farblondgit) to help me along the path. Anyway, here is my story.