My Generational Stories

Too much, too soon

Don’t mean to be mysterious.  All is well.  But even explaining sometimes is too, too much.  And I’m not even talking about taxes…that’s already been taken care of.

[Four “too”s in the same paragraph.  That’s computational…got to be a record.!!!]

Four “too”s are, like four-leaf clovers, “4-2-itous”

I’ll be back.

Promise!!

People take pride in their family’s lineage.  They can count the generations.  My story is comparatively short.  Were it not for grandfather Alex’s prescience, my mother, her sisters and brothers, cousins; all would be incinerated in the ovens of the Holocaust.  There have been many holocausts, I’m told.  Armenian.  Rwandan.  Sarajevoen.  Chinese.  Too, too many.  I honor their lost lives, their stories.  I recount my own.

There is another story.  My other grandfather was a bad man.  My father had an older bother, David.  He threw himself of a window.  His father, my other grandfather, berated him constantly.  David, I’m told, had enormous pressures put on him to succeed.  That’s what I was told…and whatever my father was [or was not, because there were several things he was not], he was not an exaggerator of facts.

Funny; I can’t even remember my other grandfather’s name.  Karma, I guess.

Brooklyn, New York. Pitkin Avenue and environs. 1936

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Note elevated highway, top left

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Pitkin Avenue, Street Scene, 2010

My mother hated him.  And feared him.  She protected my father, who was autocratic, refused to speak English, dominated his wife in the way old European men have always done.  She taught me how to disdain authority.  My mother was Ali to Liston’s clumsy plodding.  But I’m getting way far away from the plot-line.

Grandpa Alex was the antipodean.  We  [I’m instantly driven to the “we”.  Alex’s family was “my” family.  The other grandfather was, in all senses, “other”!]  were loved!  There was always some sense of awe with him…gruff beardly-ness, military posture.  But were loved.

I believe my mother brought that lovingness to my father who, for the lack of it, would not have become the man I loved.  But family stories are complex.  Russian novelists have the cornered the market on complex family stories.  I can’t compete!  I’m just a troubadour looking for a scrap of mutton or weak broth.  If I was a song-writer, I’d be The Piano Man.  I sing you my songs for free.

Next time a “theme-setting” story, a fable, and some reflections.

—  continued  —

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