Foreword by Stan Lerner: my dear friend, the great writer, Alec Silverman has mentioned to me, on more than one occasion, that he and perhaps other readers would like a more personal glimpse into my life—one that does not look through my comfortable prism of fiction. Alec suggested a memoir, but for now I can only offer a eulogy—a eulogy that I wrote a few years ago for my Aunt Rose, which until now had never been published.
Dear Aunt Rose,
I wish I could say these words myself, but my heart is too heavy to speak, forgive me. I know my sister feels the same way, as both of us have always loved, and will always love you in the deepest place in our hearts.
To say your name, is to say a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, a great grandmother, a friend to many, a business woman, a woman who God blessed with almost a century of life, a success in every possible way. When I say these words to myself, they flow so easily that it gives me pause. The magnitude of a life so well lived is not easily comprehended. A woman of such strength, dignity, stature, and humility, your life towers over most, yet it is your loving smile and kind eyes that always come to mind.
As a young child I felt a special bond with your mother, my own beloved grandmother. A matriarch who possessed the strength and the foresight to move her family from the small village you were born in, to Canada, and then to America. You left a land ruled by a Czar where Jews cowered and barely survived. It was a place where the darkest days of mankind were soon to come. You left to a place of good life, religious freedom, and endless possibility. I think of your parents, my grandparents, and I am utterly humbled by their sacrifices for our family. In my earliest memories I see the way you cared for Grandma in your own home. The warmth, the love, the dedication, could any mother have asked for more? Even as a small child I could see that Grandma, the woman who gave us all so much, saw much of herself in you.
Your brother, my beloved father, simply held you in awe. My dad was a man of many words, yet he was difficult to know. This was not the case with respect to you or Aunt Gerry. My father, a man of large physical stature, a man of considerable intellectual prowess, a man who served his country with distinction during World War II looked up to you and loved you so. I don’t think there was anything my father wouldn’t have done for you. He told me once that you and Aunt Gerry had been so good to him that it troubled him that he had no way to reciprocate.
It’s impossible to think of you and not think of your husband, my Uncle Chuck. Certainly, it’s no surprise that you married such a wonderful man. I saw how you worked by his side, hard work and long hours. How did you do it? Continue reading