Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Grows up...

Tales of Empty Nesting ...The Next Chapter

Sunday, February 14, 2010

On Sheitels and Pizza: In the heart of Midwood Brooklyn

It has been nearly five weeks since my surgery, the unfortunate outcome of which has led me to travel deep into the heart of the Midwood section of Brooklyn, to a highly acclaimed wig shop, not a place I ever expected to find myself. Nor did I ever expect it but I will be starting chemotherapy next week for stage IIIc ovarian cancer which is what the surgeons found and removed, along with all of my inner girl parts, appendix and a few other fatty pieces. But never mind those gory details, lets get to the fun part: wigs and pizza, an odd juxtaposition to be sure.

Shopping for wigs was a giddy experience. For many women, hair loss can be very traumatic but lately I haven't been especially blessed in the hair department so the idea of a little enhancement intrigued rather than repulsed. My first wig trip to Manhattan with my stepmother L., last week yielded some promising results...

This one was by far a favorite, especially Izzy's. I daresay I have always fancied myself a redhead.

Below is a more studious look..apparently reminiscent of "70's grad student".

That first wig session was glamtabulous but I wasn't convinced that that particular wig shop was exactly the right place for me and I wanted to at visit at least one more before plunking down $2500 for something the cats might tear up. After doing a bit of research, I determined that I would find a better selection and more custom work at Claire Accuhair, a family-run business known for creating sheitels (the wigs observant Jewish married women wear to hide their beauty from men aside from their husbands), as well as wigs for chemo patients.

My brother E. and his beloved, along with my sister C. and her beloved, accompanied me on the excursion to Brooklyn, which met my expectations and then some. Claire, the wig matriarch and her daughters run quite an unusual little business out of their house-like shop. They actually sew the wigs on site and we were able to tour the space and watch the painstaking work in progress. A veritable wig factory before our very eyes.

These women really know their wigs; their expertise and devotion to their work was clear.

Here the wig maven helps while here daughter looks on...

How about this playful option?

The wig I settled on will be custom colored and fitted, after which it will be washed and cut upon my head (in 10 days). I can't wait to see the final results.

After a grueling afternoon of wig try-ons, we were all in need of a bit of sustenance. When we asked for advice on where to eat, we were sent to a nearby Kosher dairy restaurant. On our way there I spied "Di Fara" Pizza. I couldn't believe it. Di fara Pizza is a destination pizzeria in a destination I would ordinarily never find myself yet there we were and from what I could see there was no line. What good fortune ( well not exactly...but never mind that). At least I can still eat good pizza, right?

Again, we found ourselves in an unusual place, a pizzeria like no other, where the owner, already in his seventies, nearly does everything himself, including pulling perfectly charred bottomed pizzas from the oven with his bare hands. Watching him snip bouquets of fresh basil over each $25 pie was even more astonishing. He, just as the wig maven, is truly devoted to his metier.

The pizza lived up to its reputation and my hope is that the sheitel will as well, turning a sad time into a glam one. May both experiences strengthen me for the days ahead.


Smashley said...

I'm sure your wig will be lovely:) I really hope and pray that you're back to 100% soon, and that your chemo doesn't knock you on your butt.

Please keep us updated on everything, I missed your posts while you were feeling poorly!

Ethan57 said...

Interesting story about the wig shops. As you might remember I used to live in Midwood and yes, it is a hotbed of Jewish culture and wares one just cannot find anywhere else. I think you were wise to go there for your new purchase. I used to go to Di Fara's 3 or 4 times a week years ago before it was 'discovered'. It was the only choice for us goyim as all the other local pizza joints sold something called Kosher Pizza which was well and truly foul. Di Fara's was just normal pizza to us. Nothing trendy. Just good street food and you didn't have to wait in line to get it (like I hear happens now). It still took Dom forever to get your order together even then. He was as slow at 40 as he is at 80 but you could tell he was very serious about creating something special. I used to wait patiently and stare at the ancient manual cash register he still uses to this day. Sheitels & pizza. Both classic pieces of Brooklyn. I'm so glad to hear that you are doing well after the procedure(s) and maintain a sense of humor despite it all. Best of luck with the upcoming treatments.

Unknown said...

Welcome back, we have missed you! I've been keeping you in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to do so as you face this challenge.

On a lighter note, I think you look stunning as a redhead.

I'm in awe of your courage and your will, it will carry you far.

Warm hugs to you, Izzy and your husband.

Izzy's Mama said...

Smashley: Here's hoping for a lovely wig and an easy chemo. I have not had much energy since the surgery and just as I feel it returning, chemo time :( Hope to feel up to more posts soon.

Ethan: I remembered you lived in Brooklyn but not that it was Midwood. How odd that must have been for you! So you discovered Di Fara long before the foodies. Lucky you! And yes I imagine kosher pizza would be pretty awful, glad I've never tried it! I would not call di fara pizza normal though. It is distinct in that the cheeses do not meld but instead stand out, not to mention the glorious bunch of basil...yum I want more.
And yes, I think Midwood is the right place for a wig to be sure. And that wig scene was something to remember. Here's hoping that amusement sticks with me.

Olga:Thanks for your prayers and thoughts. Hope the wig turns out the right shade of red!

Eileen said...

Lynn, I've been worrying about you! I'm sorry for your diagnosis ... but I will pray for you, and I know you are a STRONG woman!

I love the red wig.

How's Izzy doing?

Eileen, neighbor circa 2003 :)

Carolyn said...

So glad to see you writing again, Lynn. I've been thinking about you. Good luck with your treatments and also with getting to Di Fara again soon. In the latter respect, at least, you are a lucky lady.

Do Tell! said...

The wig options are amazing and you look lovely in them all! So nice to see pix of you looking so well and happy. Thinking of you everyday. xoxo Katharine & John

Esti said...

Your post caught my eye because I wear sheitels, as I am the Kosher foodie mom blogger from Queens. I wish you a refuah shelemah (speedy recovery)and I look forward to hearing your updates.

alyson pemoulie said...

I vote for the red wig:) I think you make a smashing redhead.

Izzy's Mama said...

Eileen, Carolyn, Katherine: Thanks for yourkind words and wishes

Esti: How did you find my blog? Which blog is yours? Would love to read and also wonder how you stand wearing a sheitel? Mine is so uncomfortable I am about to toss it out the window.

Alyson: So good to hear from you. I am not sure wig-wearing is for me, may end up the natural baldie route.