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(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
Chances are, if you are under 30, or have children under 30 you can thank Alona Frankel and her book Once Upon A Potty for helping accelerate the toilet-training process. The prolific children's author and illustrator lives and works in the heart of Tel Aviv in a ground floor apartment facing Habima Theater. A couple of years ago, Frankel published her highly-acclaimed autobiography Girl. She talks about what it is like to live and work in Tel Aviv.
"I have never had this fantasy about an idyllic place such as a little house with a red roof and little chicks in the yard," says the 68 year-old grandmother of two. "I love the city and in this apartment we have an acoustic miracle. All the noise from the street somehow does not come into the house."
Frankel likes that everything is within walking distance of her home: museums, cinemas, cafes and galleries. "I hate to shop. I just like the city and I like the noise. If I have to get from point A to point B, I will never take the quiet road," she notes.
Is Tel Aviv the perfect city for people over 60?
"I think you have generalized. I am over 60. So what? Everyone is, of course, different. For me, I prefer the city, even when I'm abroad. I prefer a day in Manhattan over a week in the Grand Canyon."
Frankel, who has written and illustrated 37 published children's books, continues to work despite the fact that one of her cats continually interferes by jumping onto her work surface when she is trying to draw or write.
"Look, of course I have a pain in my hip and I hate it. Still, I have the type of character where I am convinced that there are many years of one's life when one should do things for the first time. Lately I have the conviction that there are some things I will do for the last time. I have the strong feeling of reality that one has to accept that [life] is not forever. And it seems stupid and ridiculous and a shame. And you have to live with it."
As for Tel Aviv fitting her lifestyle at this point in time (she previously lived in Ramat Gan), "Tel Aviv is the best. Second best is Manhattan," says Frankel.
Even though she lives smack in the center of the city, she admits to taking advantage of only one percent of what the city offers. "But still, knowing all these wonderful things exist is a luxury."
Most of Frankel's friends in the city are established writers, painters and musicians. "The position that I take about everything, including myself and my age, is wonderment. All the time I am surprised. Of course, it's better to be surprised by things which are unbelievably beautiful."