Today was my father’s birthday.  He was a funny man although I am sure not many found him funny at all.  He was born during the depression and he kept things to himself like a Swedish wall of ice.  Once you penetrated though you found him a warm and endearing person.  I remember he tried to teach me how to play chess but it was too much for me.  Between wanting always to impress him with my skills and my head bowing under his sometimes harsh commands, I could not remember the game, the pieces or the moves.  Maybe my brothers felt the same way.  I remember a picture of my handsome  brother hunched in his seat contemplating the chess board as if he were afraid to make a move.

That was the generation and the people produced during those times.  They were often viewed as hard and unyielding but even today, I remember some of my father’s dire predictions about things which have come to pass.  He belonged to MENSA, he read a lot, he kept quiet so the quietness was almost like a vigil.  He and my mom fought a lot but they loved each other a lot.  They grew up together in Queens, New York.

Everyone loved my mother.  She was warm and funny but the strongest lessons and the ones I remember were from my father.  When he passed away, my husband and I were in the room with him.  He didn’t keep many close but I am sure there are many who remember him and will be better off because he taught us to survive and how to survive with grace. He would have enjoyed our small store and invited his friends.  They probably would have played chess.