The next morning I woke up in a daze, for a moment wondering where I was and what had happened, still confused. My thoughts went back to the night before. I cursed myself. I was cursed. I've let happiness slip through my fingers. My life is ruined. I'll never love anyone, ever. I'd only known Regan about an hour, perhaps less. The time I'd spent with her was fleeting, but eternal – as if I'd known her all my life. We belong together, soulmates, tied by destiny. I'm incomplete without her.
Casablanca is probably my favourite film, although I also have many other movies that I watch whenever the opportunity arises. The Great Dictator, written, directed and starring Charlie Chaplin, who in my opinion is the most brilliant star to come out of Hollywood, although of course he was born in London, England. West Side Story and Chicago are two of my favourite musicals. But Casablanca is a Love Story and no matter how soppy some Love Stories are, I often find my eyes tearing up. The initial release of the film was timed to coincide with the American invasion of North Africa (Operation Torch) the subsequent public release coincided with the meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill in Casablanca in January 1943.
I suppose I’m a romantic at heart because when I write, many of my stories contain a Love element. My eclectic anthology consists of twenty-four short stories which I titled Just for Fun, available on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and other retailers, there are at least eight Love Stories.
Casablanca is unique film of its time and reflects the history of the day. The film is the ideal of self-sacrifice. The original script was an unproduced play, Everybody Comes to Rick’s by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison, both Jewish, who were married at the time they wrote the play. The number of Jews and refugees from the Nazis fits neatly into the film’s plot.
Burnett had travelled to Vienna in 1938 to help his Jewish family escape the Nazis. He then travelled to the Mediterranean Coast of France where he frequented a bar with a black jazz pianist. He never actually went to Casablanca.
Hall Wallis (Aaron Blum Wolowicz) a film producer bought the rights for the film. The film was directed by Michael Curtiz (Manó Kaminer) who was born in Budapest, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The screenplay was written by the Epstein brothers, Julius and Philip and Howard Koch.
The iconic song of the movie ‘As Time Goes By’ was written in 1931 by Herman Hupfeld who was of non-Jewish German descent.
The other music was composed by Max Steiner also born in Vienna, but who left before the First World War.
Arthur “Dooley” Wilson born in Texas, who plays ‘Sam’ was not a pianist, but a singer and a drummer. The music was dubbed and played off screen by pianist Elliot Carpenter.
The main characters are Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, Ilsa Lund, played by Ingrid Bergman and Victor Laszlo played by Paul Henreid whose father had been born Jewish and converted to Roman Catholicism.
Only three of the credited actors were American born, Bogart, Wilson and Joy Page who played the Bulgarian refugee.
Konrad Weidt was a non-Jewish German, strongly anti-Nazi whose third wife was Jewish. He played Major Strasser in the film.
Many of the minor actors and extras in the night club scenes were themselves Jewish refugees from Europe. During what came to be known as the ‘duel of the anthems’ between Major Strasser and Viktor Laszlo many of the actors and extras cried as they realized the reality of their own status as exiles.
One of the main myths of the film is that Ilsa (Bergman) says ‘play it again Sam’ which is the name of the 1972 Woody Allen film. What she actually says is, “Play it once, Sam, for old times' sake." After he feigns ignorance, she responds, "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'."
My new novella, Regan – a Love Story will soon be available to pre-order from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iBooks. Only $ 0.99
My dear friend and well-known South African artist Shirley Israel is in the final process of painting the cover illustration.
The cover illustration is taking shape. My friend and well-known South African artist Shirley Israel is working hard to give me a great cover. I didn't realize how much hard work it would be to get it right. We have been emailing back and forth for about two months now.
I'll soon have a great cover to match my great little novella, 'Regan - a Love Story'.
As soon as the cover illustration is done the book will be available to pre-order on Amazon.
Yesterday I finished editing the manuscript of Regan - a Love Story. I'm now giving the manuscript to my friends, Esther, Helen, Marallyn, Miriam and David at my writing group for them to have a final read to spot any mistakes, typos etc., and perhaps make some last minute suggestions regarding dialogue. I owe much to my friends at the writing group. who have given me support and encouragement over the last few years.
At the same time I have sent the manuscript to my friend of many years and well-known South African artist, Shirley Israel, who agreed to design the cover of Regan - a Love Story.
The novella, Regan - a Love Story is available to pre-order from Barnes & Noble, iBooks and Kobo. You can also get a notification from Smashwords when the book is published and then order it directly from Smashwords.
Details below, just a click away
will be available to buy and read for only $0.99 on 14th February 2018.
Go to my profile page http://bit.ly/2grjjVo and click 'subscribe to author page'
available to pre-order from Apple
Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/2yv6fVi)
So click on your favourite retailer and pre-order now.
Subtitle: a Jewish Love Story
At heart I’m a great romantic. I love Love. Being in Love is the greatest feeling, especially when it’s reciprocated. Yes, one can be in Love even when the Love is not returned by the target of one’s cupid’s arrows.
Remember the way the girls screamed at the Beatles? That was Love or at least a kind of Love. Whenever I see the old footage of the day The Beatles American Invasion began, I am taken back to Love – my Love for Regan. Pan Am flight 101, a Boeing 707, left London Airport early on the morning of 7 February 1964, bound for New York City.
Watch the crazy, noisy, first interview with the Beatles that Friday in New York: http://bit.ly/2zOC1u5
Read what Cynthia Lennon, John’s first Love and first wife remembered: http://bit.ly/2zNwKTC
The Beatles and their debut single, Love Me Do, always reminds me of Regan – it was playing when she walked into my life.
Read ‘Regan – a Love Story’, will be available from Smashwords and selected retailers, including Amazon from 4th February 2018.
The cover will be designed by Shirley Israel the well-known South African artist and good friend.
See my website www.henrytobias.com for details.
To be published on 4th February 2018, Regan - a Love Story. Buy and read for only $0.99. Go to my profile page on Smashwords and click 'subscribe to author's page' and you will be notified as soon as Regan - a Love Story is available to order. Or go to the cover page of this website and pre-order from Barnes & Noble or iTunes (books) or Kobo - just a click away from one of the best reads in 2018 or any year.
The cover of my book Regan - a Love Story is being designed by the well-known South African artist, Shirley Israel.
Today I made it possible to pre-order 'Regan - a Love Story' from Smashwords and all e-book retailers associated with Smashwords.
Order today for only $0.99.
A great read, a real life story, relevant to today's world. This could happen to anyone. Romance.
The book will be available on Sunday 4th February 2018.
Order now to get the book the minute it becomes available.
Pre-order 'Regan - a Love Story, send me a copy of the pre-order receipt and I'll send you FREE my first book an eclectic anthology of short stories, 'Just for Fun'. Normal price $3.99
My email appears on the comments page.
I have recently finished writing the final chapter of my new novella 'Regan' - a love story.
It will be submitted to my friends and fellow writers at the next bi-weekly meeting of our writing group.
I will then send the story off to my dear friend and well-known South African artist Shirley Israel, who has kindly offered to design the book cover.
Initially, I will publish the novella as an e-book on Smashwords and of course on Amazon.
The inspiration for the book came from several women I have known.
The love element of 'Regan' is a tribute to my love for my beautiful wife of almost 47 years, Jill, to whom I dedicate the book and thank for her patience and love.
I have been privileged to meet and become friends with 'Rachel' who overcame her abusive childhood and confused early adulthood to become a wife and mother and an inspiration to many like myself who have suffered from depression. It is to her that I owe my decision to take up writing.
It is the enjoyment I get from writing which is important, not the very difficult to achieve financial reward. It was Annie Lennox, of the Eurythmics, I think, who said that she did not take up music for the money but because she loved music. Her success is indisputable.
Of course my thanks goes to David, Esther, Marallyn, Helen and Miriam who help me correct and improve my writing. I hope you, the readers of my blog, will read 'Regan' and enjoy it. Comments and feedback are welcome on my blog.
These last few months have been a roller-coaster, which surprise! surprise! is a fairly recent phrase having only been coined in the nineteen sixties.
The reason for the upheaval in my life started when surprise! surprise! our daughter divorced her husband. They had rented a very spacious apartment shortly before the divorce but surprise! surprise! living on one salary she could not afford the upkeep of this very comfortable apartment. The options were for her and her then two year-old daughter to live in a smaller apartment. The difference in rent would not have been much less, leaving them to live in the basement of someone else's home. There are many of these 'residential units' in our town, but none are really suitable for human habitation, although most are occupied, mainly by those who have no choice.
As a concerned parent and more concerned grandparent my wife suggested that we renovate our house and construct it in such a manner that we would have two units to ensure privacy, while having a shared kitchen and dining area.
The municipality has given a general permission to add another storey onto our two-storey home. This would ensure the privacy we needed. The engineer we tried to contact was on holiday, so a work colleague of our daughter recommended an architect who promptly came to consult with us bringing an assistant who surprise! surprise! also worked for the vacationing engineer. More about the assistant later. The engineer eventually returned and we took him on to draw up the plans. Surprise! surprise! our initial plan was denied as it did not meet the criterion and had to be revised. When the revised plans for a third storey had been approved, some six months after our original submission, surprise ! surprise! the architect advised us not to build the proposed plan as there would not be enough room to 'swing the proverbial cat'. The engineer, when I had asked him, had told me that the space would be 'almost as big' as our original plan and not to worry as 'I was in good hands'; his. That was really a surprise – being told by an Israeli that 'everything will be OK.' This obviously was not true, so it was fortuitous that we had a second opinion from the architect. It also became clear that the engineer, besides not being a man of his word, was the rudest person I have worked with in my thirty-seven years in Israel, and that is saying something. His assistant had learned well from his employer and he was not only rude and lazy, and never listened to my concerns.
Surprise! surprise! it was literally back to the drawing board adding two rooms, one above the other, laterally onto our house, enlarging the existing space. Our lounge was to become our bedroom with an on-suite bathroom. This was providential as my wife and I would be on one floor, with no steps to climb, while my daughter and granddaughter would be upstairs. We are not yet that old, but surprise! surprise! we are not likely to get any younger and not having to climb stairs will be helpful.
In August we finally were able to tell the builder to start the work.
This renovation had been our main focus for about eighteen months, but other problems big and small continued to be ubiquitous. One of my main problems for a while had been an enlarged prostate gland, surprise! surprise! While I knew from blood tests that it was unlikely to be cancerous, it caused me to wake me at regular intervals throughout the night to pee; a real nuisance.
I consulted a urologist, who prescribed me a variety of drugs. Surprise! surprise! there were side-effects. One drug made my eyes red and itchy, another caused me to have rhinitis, a runny nose, while a third caused me to nearly faint after just one dose. Finally I was put on Cialis, a drug also used for erectile dysfunction, useful for a man of my age, but which has also been found to be helpful for BPH – benign prostate hyperplasia – or an enlarged prostate. After about two weeks I began to feel the beneficial effects, but surprise! surprise! I had terrible dyspepsia – heartburn to the layman. Heartburn in a man of my age is accompanied by the fear of heart problems, so my dear wife, whose father had died of heart failure, as had my own father, persuaded me to consult a cardiologist. To keep the peace at home I did as ordered, surprise! surprise!
At my first consultation the cardiologist took some notes and told me to come back in six months. On the revisit just a few weeks ago he referred me to the cardiac institute of my medical aid society to do a stress test and an echocardiogram, which is a type of ultrasound.
The stress test showed no signs of any problems but surprise! surprise! the echocardiogram showed a problem with the left ventricle of my heart. I consulted with the cardiologist once again and surprise! surprise! he referred me for a SPECT or imagining-scan – the last word in medical technology. One institute was unable to do the test for at least three months. To say I was a bit worried was an understatement as the cardiologist had surprise! surprise! already mentioned that I might need cardiac catheterization – scraping the plaque off the walls of my coronary arteries. I was able to arrange to do the scan at one of the local hospitals only two weeks later, but I was preparing for the worst. Although my late mother died before her eightieth birthday, she has two sisters, one who is one hundred and two years old and the other ninety two. We always joke that if I inherited my mother's genes, I'm going to live forever, but now this didn't seem likely. I was racked with fear and disappointment that I wouldn't live to see my five-year-old granddaughter reach her teen years. As she is surprise! surprise! the apple of my eye, I found this very depressing.
Having moved back into our renovated home just a few weeks ago, I could not help with the mass of reorganising which surprise! surprise! is necessary, putting the onus on my wife. I was really worried that I may strain my already diseased heart and took extended rests.
The day came for the imaging scan, a two stage procedure starting on the afternoon of the first day and returning the next morning for a comparison scan. Both stages involve the injection of radioactive material. Fortunately I was not turned into Spiderman or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I would have settled for the 'teenage' and perhaps the 'ninja' but not the 'mutant turtle' transformation. The first scan is done after a stress test to see the working of the heart after exercise and the comparison is done after a normal night's rest. The imager used is called Hawkeye, which those of you who follow sports like tennis will know is used to see if the ball was 'in' or 'out' of the lines.
When the results came back two days later surprise! surprise! it showed that there seems to be nothing wrong with my seventy-year-old heart. As the cardiologist is not available for consultation for another three weeks, I am going to ask my family doctor to confirm that I have not misread the results. Surprise! surprise! I am now feeling better, although I do get tired and short of breath at times, but perhaps that is due to my age, a lack of exercise and a smidgen of self-pampering, not to mention a penchant for avoiding the hard labour necessary for reorganizing our renewed home and keeping it tidy.
Update: I returned a while ago from consulting my family doctor. Surprise! surprise! he confirmed that there is nothing wrong with my heart, but he advised me to keep my appointment with the cardiologist. His explanation that the echo cardiogram works in a different manner to the SPECT scan and is much less reliable was clear.
Being taken off the critical list has cheered me up no end, but now I can't plead ill-health when my wife ropes me in for housework. Everything, even good health has a downside. Surprise! surprise, I just kidding. It's good to have my health officially restored.
THE END (of the story, not of me)
Dear Mr Cameron,
Henry Tobias is a Zionist, father, grandfather and short story writer.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.