First thing yesterday morning, an email informing the block one of our neighbors, Irit, was found dead in her house. “May Irit’s memory be for a blessing,” Debby wrote.

“Is Irit short for Irritable?” I once asked another neighbor. It got a laugh but it wasn’t fair. Irit had been nothing but pleasant to me in our very brief encounters. But I never completely got over that take. The high, inhospitable fence that stuck out from her Victorian house walling her in and off didn’t help.   Maybe Irit didn’t put it up. But she didn’t tear it down.

Irit had a bit role in Woody Allen’s film, Blue Jasmine. She played a cranky constipated elderly patient harassing Cate Blanchett. It was a bit of fizz in a downer. “There’s Irit, that’s my neighbor,” I nudged my companion, dimly glowing in reflected star power. Though she was playing cranky, unsurprisingly, it was my sense she was struggling not to burst out laughing, as if thinking, what a thing to be doing.

May her memory be for a blessing.


Iris.  One hitch in the alphabet from Irit.  Iris is the Greek goddess of rain and the rainbow.






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