My youngest son, Aaron, was born with a packed social calendar. I have a tight circle of friends, and that year, it seemed like every woman in it had given birth to a child — one of us even had twins! Aaron had a gang of toddler playmates, classes, parties, and other appointments before he had even taken his first steps, and between all that (and his two older brothers) my hands were full.
My parents made me feel like the star of the show being an only child and I knew I was loved and supported. It is really important for me to show that love to my own boys.
My bat mitzvah was a big deal for my parents. My mother had never had her own, and my father saw it as the beginning of bigger and more important things for me. This was a chance for my mother to live vicariously through me, and for my father to introduce me to his friends, peers, and workmates as the young woman he had invested so much into. Everyone they knew was invited, from my father’s boss to my mother’s dentist.
It was extremely important to my mother that everyone at the party remember and enjoy the event. She always seemed to be on the phone, calling caterers and comparing halls, and sharing notes with her friends who were also planning bar and bat mitzvahs for their own kids.
The DJ was the last arrangement my mother made for my bat mitzvah. She had spent weeks on the flowers, months on the menu, but the DJ wasn’t something she saw as a big deal.
My mom had found the DJ’s name in the Yellow Pages. “EJ the DJ, for a party you will never forget!” said the ad, and below it, a list of events. Mom liked that he had bar and bat mitzvahs listed. A lot of DJ’s didn’t list either — they would just say “special occasions,” which my mom didn’t like one bit. Mom got an appointment with EJ the following day, and I asked to tag along.
EJ was young. His real name was Eddie Jacobs, and he loved the idea of helping to make memories. He had a small office and was eager to discuss the details of the party, but my mother just wanted to know the price and if he had the date she wanted. He tried to explain what he would do at the party, and the planning that went into it, but my mother wasn’t interested. He had the date, and the price was right, so she signed a contract with him right there. Before we left, I stopped at the door and asked him about my favorite song. Could he play it? Was I allowed to choose? My mother stood at the door, tapping her foot, impatient, her next errand already having started in her mind. Eddie saw that she had no intention of hanging around. He gave me his card and told me to call him whenever I wanted, and we would make sure I got whatever music I wanted.
On the day of my bat mitzvah all the right people complimented my lovely dresses. The food was delicious, and no one left hungry. The hall was pretty, my parents were proud, and while I was mostly just glad to be done with it all, my mother’s kvelling had just begun. Everywhere she went, people complimented her on the party — at the supermarket, doctor’s office, when she went out to lunch, everywhere. The funny part was that none of the compliments were about the food, my dresses, the venue, or any of the other things she had spent months and months fretting over. Everyone wanted to talk to her about Eddie. Eddie played amazing music! Eddie got my father’s boss, a generally dour man, up on the dance floor, clapping and singing! Eddie got all the children so tired they slept half the next day. Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. The mothers thought he was adorable and the fathers admired his leadership (and his moves) on the dance floor. It turned out that the most intangible part of the party, the part my mother had been just about ready to overlook completely, was the one thing that was going to last the longest in the minds of her guests.
Years later, when I was getting ready to get married I finally understood what my mom was going through for my bat bitzvah. The planning was terrifying. I wanted everything to be perfect. The dresses, the food, the flowers — coordinating it all was overwhelming. I just didn’t have time. Still, one part of the planning was simple, the entertainment. Eddie Jacobs was my man. I still had fond memories of how he handled my bat mitzvah, and I knew that he would be perfect for my wedding. I called up his company, and while he now had a new, larger location, and a secretary answering his phone (fancy!), he was definitely still in business and he even remembered me.
“You’re the little girl I spoke to on the phone about her favorite songs, I remember you!” he said, when I gave him my name. I told him how wonderful that party had been, and how happy he had made my parents and I.
“That’s what I do,” he told me, “best job in the world!”
I gave him my deposit that day and six months later, he performed at my wedding. He was as magical as he was on my bat mitzvah. Eddie made all of my guests feel welcome and happy, and they had an experience I knew they would never forget. Some of them even remembered him from my bat mitvah and gave him hugs. He had become a member of the family, just by doing what he loved, and doing it well.
I hired Eddie twice more after that, for my eldest son, Matthew’s bar mitzvah, and then for my middle son, Ian’s as well. By that time, Eddie had moved onto a managerial position, and had hired a team of dancers, entertainers, and DJs to take over for his ever-expanding business. Eddie himself was no longer at each event in person, but the sprit that had made the EJ experience so wonderful certainly was. Each event, like the one before it, was beautiful — full of emotion, love, and most of all, memories.
This morning, I made another call to Eddie. This time, I wanted to book him for Aaron’s bar mitzvah — my busy baby was going to become a man. I had used Eddie for all of my parties, and recommended him to all of my friends. Among our circle, there were lots of choices when it came to dresses and suits, restaurants and caterers, but when it came to entertainment, there was only one name: EJ the DJ. Everyone wanted the EJ the DJ experience most of all. EJ’s team is the winning team, and we all wanted to be on it. As I picked up the phone to make the call,
I started to tear up as I picked up the phone to make the call, and when Eddie picked up, I broke.
“Barbera, are you OK?”
His concern was genuine, and I was embarrassed at my tears.
“I am,” I told him, “I’m fine, I just, I want to book you for one last bar mitzvah. My youngest. It’s time! Can you believe it?”
There was quiet on the line for a few moments, and when he spoke again, I realized that Eddie, too, was choked up.
“You know, when I did your bat mitzvah, I was just starting out in this business,” he said. “Your family really helped me get a foot in the door with the whole community. I’m excited to do whatever you want for Aaron. He’s a great little kid and he’s going to be a fine young man.”
We spoke for a while, but as the conversation was wrapping up, I felt like something had been left unsaid.
“Eddie, before I go, I just want to thank you.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it, Barbera, you know I still love to throw a great party!”
“Well, no, I mean, I wanted to thank you for being part of our family’s special days for so many years, and you know, for being such a big part of the fact that they were special.”
Eddie cleared his throat, and took a deep breath.
“Thank you, Barbera. It’s really good to hear that. That’s all I want for my clients, and, well, it’s really rewarding to know that all the hard work pays off.”
I found myself smiling, and checked my watch. It was getting late. I had to get dinner on before the boys got home. “Well, Eddie, it absolutely does. And don’t ever forget it. Anyway, I’m going to run, I’ve got stuff to do, but you take care of yourself, and keep that business running! Before too long, I’m going to have another wedding to plan!”
EJ the DJ has been a premiere event DJ on Long Island for over 30 years. He still provides one of the best party experiences available in the industry today.
©2014 Community News Group