Seems hard to believe but when our dad wed Harriet he’d been living in Columbus just two years. That’s all. My transfer from MSU in January ’68 compelled his request and alas, Highlights found him a home in central Ohio just prior to my sophomore year. (The timing, impeccable as it was, kept me out of a dorm).

So there we were: two wandering Jews living as “townies” in the heart of campus. Neither of us dated much. (He more than me, I suppose—except for an occasional Sammy party) until lightning struck in the fall of ’69.

She sparkled yet again last weekend and shared the story yet again. It’s a wondrous tale really, about how they’d met inadvertently at Columbus’s J, and how she really wasn’t looking for a bald, fat guy eight years her senior.

She regaled us, telling that he’d called her office the very next workday and asked her to dinner. “I’m meeting with a client this evening”, she’d advised him, (which was true). “Don’t you eat?” he shot back.

It was a relationship whose time would come. And blossom. And “have legs”.

Our parents got divorced, you see, before it was fashionable. We spoke back then of broken homes—not extended families. We spoke softly.

I remember well his comments from their very first date. It had gone well. Still, a prediction then that 40+ years hence his first born would drive south to see her grandson sing on stage…well…”Monkeys should fly out of your ass!” he’d have laughed.

No one’s laughing now, decades later; they marvel.

There we were, Carrie, Leesa and I—and there she was, four decades later, with Leslie; and there we sat at a Chinese restaurant…minutes from the theater.

Yes, I’d been meaning to get to one of Matthew’s plays for some time now. The timing though! From travels to plays to general commitments—it just never happened. Downstate trips there were, but never at show time.

Until now.

“What’s in Columbus?” people were asking last month. “Everything OK?”
‘Yeah, Harriet’s grandson is doing ‘Fiddler’”.
“That’s so nice you guys are going.’
“Overdue”, thought I.

They didn’t get it, I knew. This isn’t just my father’s second wife we’re talking about. This is HARRIET. Mishpacha.

Who knew? Who knew that day back then—as we noshed over Marilyn’s latkes and introductions…that the lady on the couch would be such an imprint on his life and enduring fabric in ours?

Fifteen years they were married—to the day. Then, on a Friday in August… without warning…he was gone.

His bride never left, of course. Nor did the kinship between us.

There’s been sweet; there’s been sour; there’s been simchas and then “stuff”.
But there’s always been us. Always.

From Michael’s college laundry to Jamie’s wedding to Stacy’s graduation…
to the next generation (and counting).

I watched her the other night…flitting around in the lobby…at the very J where she’d met our father.

How lucky he was. Imagine: meeting the love of your life on your back nine! How lucky they were, for their time together and the brand of family they mastered.

—And how lucky we are for the lesson they taught us—that “family” is not only a noun, but it’s an action verb.

To life!

One Response to “WE ARE FAMILY”

  1. alan wieder says:

    And how lucky you are

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