Thursday, 05 February 2009
By Sheila Halet
I recently read the well-written article that Judy Bolton-Fasman wrote about her Dad, L’Shalom,, and it made me think of the story I wrote about My Daddy, L’Shalom, Hyman Silver, who died in 1991 at the age of 79 from cancer.
My Daddy was a wonderful caring husband of 50 years and a devoted father. He was an upholsterer having to go to work at the age of 14 to help support my widowed grandmother and his brother and sisters. His father, my grandfather, was a roofer and fell off a roof and died at the age of 37. That traumatic event stayed with my Daddy all his life and when he was that age, Mother said, he was certain he would die as well.
Now that I am retired – age 65 – I realize the importance of looking back and understanding the little actions that I remember.
My Daddy, when he no longer could lift and upholster furniture began to needlepoint. If you sat too long in a chair, you could be assured that you might become a needlepoint creation of his imagination. No, it did not happen, but what he did needlepoint was a self portrait of him, sitting in his favorite rocking chair with Muziwoo, our dog beside him and a book in his lap. (He loved to read and autobiographies were a real passion-because he was man of talent – undeveloped, due to the depression – without and within.)
It was a kind of memorial work, for one month later, Muziwoo, also died of cancer at the age of 11.
Dad would make bookmarks and needlepoint creations for the family and his many doctors, through the 11-year period of his illness. He especially liked to do Judaic ones of the Aleph Bet or Ten Commandments, Family Tree, but the one he was most proud of was the Kotel – petite point that I brought back to him from Jerusalem in 1983. (Our 25th Wedding Anniversary Trip.)
What a picture, I remember, Daddy sitting surrounded by his needle work with yarns and backings of all colors and my Mother baking all her wonderful strudels and Danish and mohn cookies.
I guess those memories and that of my children and grandchildren are now part of my “old age.”
Thank you, Judy – for letting me leave my chicken soup and write…
[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. Instructions are here.]