Getting Personal: Marcey Goldstein

Getting Personal: Marcey Goldstein

Each week, we offer a Q&A with a local personality. Today, staff writer Paul Wood chats with MARCEY GOLDSTEIN of Urbana, who is just getting used to being semi-retired after most recently serving for the past six years as director of operations at Illini Hillel at the Cohen Center for Jewish Life at the UI. She's still taking on different jobs, and she's also an actress and a world traveler. She's been to Israel and is planning a trip to Italy.

Do you have any favorite memories of Hillel?

I have both personal memories and memories as an employee. Personally, Hillel brought me back to being an observant Jew after many years of being a secular Jew. The Yom Kippur services made a lasting impression on me, and I will continue to go to them. As an employee, I was impressed by the number of students who came to Hillel regularly and how involved they were in its activities.

You’re still working different small jobs. Can you tell us about one or two?

I accept assignments from WeGoLook. I take pictures of auto damage to validate insurance claims. I retrieve, deliver and ship documents. I inspect and take pictures of buildings for assessment purposes. I also drive for Lyft.

Tell us about acting in community theater.

I was in the November production of “Twelve Angry Women” at the Monticello Community Theater. It was my first foray into community theater, and I really enjoyed it. I’d like to do more, but one thing I realized is that I had to put many of my other activities on hold due to rehearsals four nights a week.

Where have you ben traveling to?

I went to New Orleans last May (while still working) and am going again this May — only this time it will be during the week and we can spend more time there. Also, I booked a tour of Italy for next September. I am going by myself but will be part of a tour group the entire time.

Now that you have the time, what’s your favorite thing to cook?

I’ve been making soups, stir-fry dishes, several varieties of baked chicken — things I can make in bulk, store in individual meal packages and have complete meals on hand that are nutritious.

You’re working on your house. Is that something you enjoy?

When I first moved into my house four years ago next week, there were many things that did not have a specific place but were kept in boxes. I’ve gone through the boxes, sorting them into keep, give away, throw away and save for a yard sale in the spring. This has allowed me to move things into the garage and free up space for a washer and dryer, a game room and better organized closets. I am still in the process (as I have no specific time frame), which includes painting the last two areas that did not get painted when I first moved in. I enjoy making this house what I want it to be.

Who are your favorite musicians and why?

The classics — The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones — I grew up with them. Female artists — Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Joan Baez — they helped me to feel. Current artists — (in no particular order) Halsey, Drake, Ed Sheeran, 21 Pilots, Maroon 5, Imagine Dragons, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Bebe Rexha — I just love riding in my car and rocking to the tunes.

What’s the happiest memory of your life?

Finding out I was pregnant.

What interests you most right now?  

The upcoming primary and movies — lots of movies!

Is it nice to sleep in after a lifetime of work?

You bet. I am a night owl and usually stay up until 2 to 3 a.m. and sleep in until 10 a.m. (or later).

What’s something almost nobody knows about you?

My life is pretty much an open book, so people know a lot about me. Not everyone knows everything, but just about everything is known by someone.

Do you have a guilty pleasure and what is it?

Reading trashy novels and eating ice cream — usually not at the same time.

Tell me about your favorite pet.

I have had cats my entire adult life. I have a few favorites.

1973 to 1987: Claudia — my first cat.

1995 to 2008: Harry S. Treeman — my first rescue cat.

2004 to 2016: Camargo — a feral cat that finally warmed up to me and became a great friend.

2016 to the present: Damon — a cat rehomed to me after a friend could no longer keep him.

What would you order for your last meal?

Some of each of my favorite foods — Chinese, pizza, Mexican, Italian and ice cream — a lot of ice cream — for dessert.

If you could be reincarnated after you die, what would you like to come back as?

Myself, only better.

If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite? What would you serve?

Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen and my sister Sharryl. I chose Bruce Springsteen and my sister because the joy it would bring her to spend time with him would be immeasurable, and she deserves that. I chose Barack Obama because I admire him so much in every aspect of his life. What would I serve? No idea — and it wouldn’t matter. It’s the people who are important.

What personality trait do you most hate in other people? Most hate in yourself?

Dishonesty in all its forms — whether it is outright lying or just embellishing the truth because the person doesn’t feel their life is interesting enough. In myself — I don’t hate any part of me. I’m not perfect but am constantly trying to improve on certain areas.

What’s your best piece of advice?

Trust in God.

What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?

I was a cashier at a women’s clothing store in 1966. I made $1.25 per hour until the minimum wage went up six months later to $1.40.

Do you have any regrets in your life? What are they?

There are a few things I regretted doing at the time (maybe even more than a few), but I don’t hold on to them. Everything I have done has led me to where I am and who I am now. If I had done anything differently, who knows where I would be in my life.

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