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Phillip and Rebekah: the story of the infant shoes
Albert Maysles Film-maker
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One day we had a group of friends for dinner and I happened to notice that my infant shoes, which are in the bookcase in the dining room- the kitchen area- I happened to notice that there seemed to be some piece of paper or something sticking out. So I pulled the shoe forth and I pulled out this piece of paper and I read it and I was so astounded by it that I thought I should read it to all of our friends at the table. And it just so happened that my son Phillip and my daughter Rebekah were in that room at that time. And so I read it. And it, it went something like this: it turned out to be something that my son had written, a show and tell for a school. He'd brought the shoes to school and wrote this little story about them that he invented. And the story began as I read it: these shoes are 237 years old. They went from rich to poor people, from poor to famous people- or maybe from famous to poor people. These shoes are 237 years old. They belonged to Rabbi Maysles who was, you know, some six or eight generations back from my, my father. And- and went from one generation to another, he wrote. So finally came to my grandfather, Phillip, and these shoes, at 237 years old, they, they have been in Synagogues, they've been- they've been- where else did he say? In Synagogues, in concentration camps, they've been all over Poland and Germany, crossing borders. What else did he say? It was- it became- it became a kind of a history of, of Jewish life and persecution. And he was just a kid then. And I turned to Phillip and I said- did you write that? And this was at a time when his older sister, Rebekah was having great difficulty in school and couldn't write very well. And he said- no, Rebekah did it. I said- Rebekah, did you, did you write this? And she said yeah. And a couple of years went by, and on another occasion I read the piece that he had written, and by that time Rebekah had perfected her language and was really becoming an excellent student, and it was that time when Phillip said- by the way, it's I that- that wrote it. He had extended his generosity to his sister when she really needed it.

Albert Maysles (1926-2015) known for his important documentaries on Muhammad Ali, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles, pioneered the documentary style known as Direct Cinema. He helped create techniques still widely used in modern documentary production, as well as many of the techniques used in reality TV.

Listeners: Tamara Tracz Rebekah Maysles Sara Maysles

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

Rebekah Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is an artist living between New York and Philadelphia. She has her own line of clothing, Blackberryrose, and co-runs the store Sodafine in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York, a vintage and handmade store that sells clothing, books and other products made by artists.

Sara Maysles, daughter of Albert Maysles, is currently doing her BA in East Asian Studies at Columbia University, and working as an Archivist of the photographs and photographic material at Maysles Films Inc., Albert‚s film production company. She spent ten months out of two years working with Tibetan refugees at a center in Nepal, and continues to travel back and forth between America and Asia.

Tags: Poland, Germany

Duration: 4 minutes, 22 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008