I shall now attempt to recount what I know of the brothers and sisters of my parents and their immediate issue, my cousins. Beginning with this paternal kinship, the eldest of the ten children of Shmuel and Sarah was Yoylik.
Of Yoylik I know little, except that he was born circa 1878, was inducted into the military service as a young man, and met his demise during the Russo-Japanese War. According to Cousin Sarah, his end came at the time of World War I. Aside from these particulars, there was the incident I have already related concerning the retribution he visited upon a cruel stepmother. In addition, Cousin Sarah had told me Yoylik had at least one child, a daughter, who tried to communicate with the aunts in the family. She disclosed the fact that she had become an engineer, but as to whether she was unhappy with her existence or merely trying to communicate with her relatives in this country, I cannot say.
The second eldest of Grandfather Shmuel’s children was Uncle Mechel (Max). He and his wife, Rifka (Reba), lived a few short blocks away from our house on Larchwood Avenue, on Pine Street, near 60th. However, I was unaware of their existence until I was in my late teens.
The cause of this estrangement between the brothers was never revealed to me, but I suspect it was because of certain remarks made by Aunt Reba, who was noted for her acid tongue.
As I have before indicated, any insult or derogation directed at my father was not easily forgiven. Thus, it was not unusual that he could hold a grudge for so long a period of time. However, once the two families reconciled their differences, their relationship became very close indeed.
I think I have mentioned that Uncle Max earned his livelihood as a plastering contractor. He was fairly successful in this field of construction, but he only plied his trade upon apartment buildings and housing operations, and, rarely, if ever, in the commercial or industrial area.
Sarah, the eldest of Uncle Max’s children, was born in the Old Country, as were her three younger brothers. Her date of birth was about 1904, the rest being born about two years apart. Uncle Max and his family probably emigrated here about 1910.
When I knew Sarah, she was employed as a secretary in Cousin Herman’s law office. To me she always seemed the prototype of the efficient, capable businesswoman. There was never any nonsense about her. Indeed, she rarely smiled, her visage being usually contorted into a frown, as though she were suffering the pain of some hidden malady.
Up until my middle years, I had assumed Sarah never married. I then learned, much to my surprise, that she had run off, as a young girl, and eloped with a young man of a different faith. Uncle Max immediately took steps to have the marriage annulled, even though a daughter resulted from this union.
As I was given to understand, Sarah’s child was never acknowledged by its grandparents. She was placed in a foster home, although Sarah visited her daughter regularly.
Later, when the girl reached young womanhood, she married a young man with whom she, apparently, was unsuited temperamentally, and they were soon divorced. Following this unhappy incident, mother and daughter decided to live together, and that arrangement has continued to this day.
Sarah never forgave her parents for “ruining her life,” even though she continued to reside with them until the time she moved in with her daughter. Her enmity included brothers, as well, even Herman, with whom she worked so closely.
With respect to Albert (Abba), he never enjoyed the educational advantages of his younger brothers, but, through shrewdness and knowledge of his speciality, real estate, he was able to accumulate great wealth, with all the benefits appertaining thereto.
Even when Albert had little or nothing to call his own, he became used to a scale of living which was beyond his means. I remember him once driving up to our house in a large, brightly-colored roadster, in which sat the lady who was to become his wife. The reason for his visit: to borrow some money from Pop so he might be enabled to entertain his lady-love in proper fashion.
Albert always believed in keeping up appearances, for he knew from his observations in the business world that success usually comes to those who appear successful. Even when he couldn’t afford it, he would wear the finest clothes, such as Hickey-Freeman outfits he purchased from Jacob Reed’s store.
During the Depression, when I couldn’t afford to purchase new clothes, Albert passed on to me one of such cast-off garments. It was a gray, summer-weight, business suit, and it fit me perfectly. As to the reason why he chose to dispose of such fine raiment, I cannot tell. Perhaps it was no longer in the height of fashion, or it had grown a bit too shabby for his taste. At any rate, I could find nothing wrong with this article of apparel, and, whenever I wore it, I enjoyed a feeling of comfort and importance.
In later years, I was again to be the recipient of a generous act from Albert. It was when I and my family moved into our Lexington Park house, and Albert had recently purchased the old Widener estate at Washington Lane and Cheltenham Avenue. At this juncture of fortuitous circumstances and while his workers were in the process of clearing the tract for a future shopping mall and single homes, Albert offered me any tree or shrub I could find growing there which I might feel to be desirable for plantings around our new house.
I eagerly seized upon this kind invitation, and, while there were many exotic trees and shrubs growing on the estate, I had to limit myself to those items which were easily transportable and of a size that might be successfully replanted.
I found a red maple and a beech sapling, as well as two rhododendrons, which seemed appropriate to my needs. One of Albert’s men dug these out for me and loaded them onto a pickup truck belonging to and driven by Uncle Max himself. The trees came through this transition very well, and are no spreading their branches in our back yard. However, I was untutored in the proper cultivation of rhododendrons, and these two plants never survived their transplanting.
I do not delude myself that these acts of kindness by Albert were set in motion through affectionate feelings toward me; we were actually only acquaintances, though related. I am quite certain they were initiated out of a regard for my father more than for any other reason. Nevertheless, Albert was hardly put out by these actions, while I appreciated the benefits derived therefrom.
Albert had two sons who were introduced to the home construction field by their father. There is no doubt that his financial assistance, advice and connections were of immeasurable value in getting them started. However, the later success of the firm of Toll Brothers in building moderately priced housing must demonstrate a considerable native ability and talent.
Of the two sons, I only met Robert once during a visit to his office in an apartment house owned by Albert on Old York Road. I had come there to estimate a price for brickwork from plans for a post office on which he was taking bids. Robert did not then appear to be too knowledgeable about commercial construction, but he had a pleasant and engaging personality, important requisites for success in business dealings.
Herman, Albert’s younger brother, was, without a doubt, the most distinguished member of our family. From modest beginnings as an attorney, newly-graduated from Temple Law School, he eventually found his way into politics, being elected and serving in the Pennsylvania State Legislature for a number of terms. Following this period, he ran for the U.S. Congress successfully, becoming the only Jewish representative from Philadelphia at that time. Had he not been cut down by an insidious muscular disease at the prime of his life, there is the possibility (since he was the most active member, legislatively speaking, of the Philadelphia congressional contingent) that he might have become a member of that august body—the U.S. Senate.
Herman was wholly liberal in his outlook, as well as in his voting record. Not only that, but his private feelings were altogether consonant with his public image. We were made aware of this when we enlisted his legal services at the time we bought our house on Revere Street in 1952. This move was precipitated by a rumor (false, as it turned out) that the area adjoining the Naval Supply Depot, near where we were then residing, would be opened up to public housing. This would have admitted low-income families with alien life-styles and concomitant squalor into our neighborhood. Such an eventuality would have also led to a depreciation of the value of our property.
Hilda mentioned her fears to Herman when he came to call upon us, expecting that he would sympathize with our predicament. To our surprise, he emphatically stated he would not have been alarmed by such a prospect, choosing to remain in his existing quarters even if a black family moved next door to him. Of course, it would have been political suicide for Herman to have done otherwise, but even in private, as I have said, he was the same person he professed to be in public.
Toward the end of his political career, Herman began to develop the perfunctory manner of the professional politician, who shakes your hand and utters some bland observation, while at the same time his eye is looking beyond you for other constituents to accord his fleeting recognition. I was pained to see Herman reveal this tendency, for, in the eye of the beholder, it could have placed him in the category of those who seem to care only for the vote of the individual and not for his concerns.
Herman’s death removed from our midst one who brought honor to the family name, and, regardless of what one may have inferred from appearances, he was dedicated at all times to the cause of helping those who could not help themselves. This was the true measure of the man and a worthy tribute to his memory.
Left behind, at this passing were his wife, Rose, a former nurse, and two sons, Sheldon and Gilbert. Rose had always been actively involved in Herman’s career, and, with his demise, she entered the political arena herself. She served several terms in the State legislature, and was, for many years, leader in ward where she resided.
Sheldon, the older son, graduated with academic honors from Harvard, and received his law degree from that same university. He was also a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University.
As a young man, Sheldon had seemed to me rather quiet and introspective. I would have expected him to become a legal scholar or professor, rather than one who tries cases in open court. Although I cannot say in which direction his talents and knowledge developed, apparently he has prospered, for Cousin Albert has informed me that he married a Detroit girl, where he now resides, becoming a partner in his father-in-law’s legal firm with honoraria upwards of $100,000 a year.
Gilbert, Herman’s other son, also became an attorney, although I believe he earned his degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He presently maintains offices at 1405 Locust Street, across from the Academy of Music, a building owned by Cousins and Joe and managed for them by Gilbert.
Joe Toll, Uncle Max’s youngest child, displayed entrepreneurial talent quite early in his career, enjoying financial rewards from enterprises associated with student activities at Temple University which he instituted with a partner, Eddie Baron, an outstanding basketball star at the school. From this beginning, they expanded these same activities to include other colleges and universities in the metropolitan area.
The principal business the partners engaged in at first was that involving student photographs required to be attached to identity cards. No doubt, the popular Eddie Baron was the prime catalyst in securing these contracts, and Joe, who was not the ingratiating sort, attended to the management of their enterprise, securing the photographer and assistants at the least possible cost.
I can vouch for Joe’s penny-pinching propensities, for the photographer he enlisted was a scruffy, impecunious individual who had been struggling to survive in a five-and-ten-cent store studio, and I, as one of his aides in this enterprise, had been unemployed since graduating high school, so was not likely to bargain for better wages.
From the business of photography the two partners expanded their activities to include the production of prom favors, those decorative booklets in which young ladies list the names of their dancing partners. I was also enlisted to serve in this undertaking, gathering up from Joe the individual parts required in their assembly and putting them together like in some sweat-shop operation for piece-work pay.
There was an interesting sidelight to my working association with Cousin Joe. One morning when I arrived at his house to be employed in the assembling of prom favors, I found him, to my surprise, in the act of prayer, with phylacteries adorning his arm and brow. He would not converse with me while he was in the midst of this exercise, so I had to wait for my instructions until he had finished.
When I spoke to Pop of this incident, he told me that Joe had been indoctrinated into this practice by his maternal grandfather, who assured him that the uninterrupted and dedicated observance of morning prayer would assure his success in whatever endeavor he pursued.
I, myself, had been trained, at the time of my bar mitzvah, in the ritual of attaching phylacteries and reading the rather long Hebrew prayers. I attended to these observances assiduously for several months, after which time I fell victim to a siege of the grippe, an illness which confined me to bed. Seeing I was not safeguarded from disease by my supplications, I saw no further use in expending time and effort in offering them up to whatever deity was inclined to listen. Thus ended my morning devotions.
In Joe’s case, however, this recipe for success seemed to work, although I cannot answer for those other devout Jews who said their morning prayers as well, yet suffered lives of poverty and humiliation.
Because Joe was doing so well with his various enterprises connected with student affairs, he continued his own studies at Temple University, finally earning enough credits to achieve a Master of Laws degree. However, it was the time of the Great Depression, and, rather than join the overflowing and starving ranks of those in the legal profession, Joe never sought to become a lawyer. He apparently saw no need for such a step when, as Pop reported to me, he had $10,000 in the bank as a result of his various undertakings. This was at a time when people were working for $12 a week, if they were working at all.
Ultimately, the partners abandoned their business with the college crowd in Philadelphia, and bought a hotel in Atlantic City. Here, again, they achieved success, for they attracted and catered to a college clientele. From this, they expanded into more hotels and motels, reaching their zenith of affluence with their acquisition of the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge. This last asset was acquired through a consortium of investors, including Albert. Finally, Caesar’s World of Las Vegas leased this property from the owners, and is now in the process of building a gambling casino and hotel on the site—The Regency. When the term of the lease shall have expired, the partners would own the improvements made on their property or could realize a substantial windfall by selling out to their tenants.
Joe married a girl from New Jersey, named Evelyn. Hilda knew of her before, because she was the object of the amorous attentions of her cousin, Harold Wilson, from Westville. The story goes that she reciprocated Harold’s warm feelings, but, because her health was so delicate, she opted for the wealthier suitor, Joe.
I remember seeing Evelyn some ten or fifteen years after their marriage. The smooth and shining skin of her face had become dry and wrinkled through exposure to the salt air and sun of that seaside resort.
I understand they have two children—a son and a daughter. The daughter I have seen on one or two occasions, and there is no mistaking her Toll features. She is interested in art, I have been told, and, according to Herman Adelman, she had become curator of the art collection of Nelson Rockefeller, at this estate near Tarrytown, New York. As to the son, I have no knowledge of him at all.
The next eldest, in point of age, of Grandfather Shmuel’s children, was my aunt Rifka (Ruth). But, since I have already given an account of this lady, together with her family, when I related the history of her husband, Isaiah (who was a first cousin), in the chapter concerning collateral relationships, I shall pass on to my Uncle, Harry, who followed Rifka in order of birth.
Uncle Harry, as disclosed in an earlier chapter, was the first of our immediate family to emigrate to the New World, when he accompanied his aunt, Esther, to Argentina in 1901. They settled in Buenos Aires. Here Harry supported himself by working as a bricklayer for the next five years.
When Harry learned that his sister, Rifka, had taken up residence with Isaiah in Philadelphia in 1904, he made strenuous efforts to have himself admitted to the United States. He was successful in accomplishing this result in 1906, when he was able to settle in Philadelphia near his sister.
As soon as Harry was able to accumulate sufficient money to pay for the passage of Dave, his younger brother, that member of his family followed him within the year. In quick succession, during the next four or five years and as the earnings of those who were here made it possible, the rest of the family was brought over, with the exception, of course, of Grandfather Shmuel.
Harry was an intensely private person, not caring especially for the company of those beyond his own family circle. In this respect, he was quite different from Dave, my father, who loved to bask in the warming glow exuded by the multitude of friends he attracted.
Thus, when the two brothers decided to pool their talents and resources into a partnership, offering themselves as bricklaying contractors in the construction field, it was self-evident that their personalities would dictate that Harry should limit his activities mainly to supervision in the field, while Dave should contact prospective clients and submit bids for projected work. This arrangement between the brothers lasted for some 25 years, until 1931, when the partnership was dissolved by mutual consent, because not enough work was available to support both families.
Harry had probably married his wife, Mary, around 1912. She was the daughter of a rabbi, Philip Kaskin, who supplemented his income by operating a store which sold religious articles. I know he married my father and mother, and I think the prayer shawl and phylacteries I received at the time of my bar mitzvah were purchased from him.
When I first met Aunt Mary’s family, I remember being surprised at the darkness of their complexions. To me they resembled Yemenites, newly transplanted from the Middle East, that I had seen in the rotogravure section of the Sunday Forward, which Pop had delivered to the house. The youngest of her sisters, in particular, had beautiful dark features, with large, shining, black eyes. I have never forgotten her loveliness.
When I was a child, Pop would take us quite often to visit Uncle Harry and Aunt Mary in their house on Leidy Avenue, about a half mile from the Zoo. They had three children: George, who was some two years older than I; Eugene, some four years younger than George; and, Frieda, perhaps three or four years younger than Eugene.
When visiting with my cousins, I especially enjoyed operating the player-piano they had in their living room. This was before radios were in common use, so the piano was for them a source of home entertainment, as the Victor recording machine was for us in our house.
When I was about ten, Uncle Harry was involved in a serious auto accident, in which he was the driver. Aunt Mary, who was riding with him, was thrown from the car into the street, suffering severe injuries to her head. At that time it was not known whether she would survive, but eventually she became well again.
I remember afterward noting the deep scar in her forehead, but the greater change was in her personality: From a normally quiet and pleasant lady, she developed into a loud and unrelenting chatterbox.
Later, with boom times in effect throughout the building industry, Uncle Harry felt prosperous enough to move to a nicer neighborhood: on Arlington Street in Wynnefield. The family lived there until about 1932, when they moved into a store and attached dwelling located in southwest Philadelphia.
In the meantime, Aunt Mary had passed away, her untimely death no doubt hastened by the injuries she sustained in the automobile accident.
Since Harry could find no work in the trade he had known throughout his life because of the collapse of the building boom during the Depression, he had hit upon the idea of operating a candy store in this new location. Tobacco products, ice cream and other convenience items were sold there as well.
The candy store was situated some two miles from Larchwood Avenue, and I walked there a number of times to visit with my uncle and cousins. I well remember the heart-rending incongruity of seeing my uncle’s large hand, used to handling bricks and other clumsy objects, reach for the small pieces of candy his juvenile customers requested, and place those bits and morsels into a diminutive bag.
Not being suited to the confectionery trade, as soon as business conditions in the building field improved somewhat, Uncle Harry returned to his former calling, but never again with his brother.
Eventually, Uncle Harry remarried, but I do not think the arrangement was entirely suitable for both parties. She was a hairdresser, a loud, garrulous type, who must have grated upon his natural taciturnity and reserve.
With Harry’s marriage, both George and Eugene soon left their father’s house and took up residence elsewhere. With their departure and the obvious disparity of temperament between himself and his new wife, Uncle Harry seemed to become increasingly morose and withdrawn. Only Frieda remained to provide him with the comforting presence of one who reminded him of former days.
Cousin George had little trouble readjusting to this change in circumstances. He had always been an honor student, and had been awarded a fully-paid scholarship to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, he quickly found employment with the U.S. internal Revenue Service.
With the death of Aunt Mary and the dissolution of the partnership between Uncle Harry and Pop, it seems an estrangement of sorts developed between the two families, probably because common interests no longer bound them together. However, once George left home, he made an effort to resume the friendly relations we had known as children.
At that time, I remember George driving up to our house with a second-hand two-seated car he had recently purchased. He invited me to take a ride with him, and he drove me to the apartment he had recently acquired in town.
George was understandably lonely at the time, and I tried to reciprocate his friendly overture as best I could. But he was older, a university graduate, and he had interests quite apart from my own.
I did visit him once at his place of employment in the old Gimbel’s office building at 9th & Chestnut. This was the last I saw of him until Uncle Harry’s funeral. I later learned that he acquired a law degree at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. However, I do not know if he ever practiced law, for a position as executive secretary of the national fraternity he had joined as an undergraduate at Penn opened up for him. He was to occupy this post for the balance of his working career. Apparently, he moved to St. Louis when this employment was offered to him. He still lives there with his family—hi wife and five children.
George’s brother, Eugene, was the equal of his sibling as a student, having been also awarded a scholarship grant to Penn. However, Eugene’s interests were in the scientific field, rather than the subjects of economics and finance which George had chosen.
Eugene graduated from the university with a degree in chemical engineering. I would say this was a calling suited to his temperament, which was reclusive, much like that of Uncle Harry.
He soon took a position with the Philadelphia Navy Yard, staying there throughout the years of World War II. After this period, he transferred to the Johnsville Naval Air Station in Warminster.
I had not seen Eugene since the Depression days of the 1930’s. Therefore, at the time of Stanley’s bar mitzvah in 1955, we sent him an invitation to attend, hoping to receive from him a positive response. To my surprise and delight, he joined our celebration. He was quite recognizable to me after all those years, but he was still a bachelor at 38.
Within a few years of this reunion, I learned he taken to himself a wife. We received no announcement to that effect, and I have not seen him from that day to this. Nor do I know if any children resulted from their union. However, I was recently informed, through Cousin Albert, who had occasion to contact him in connection with an application for a gambling license in Atlantic City, that he had changed positions again, and was now employed as a chemist with Publicker Distillers.
Of Frieda, the youngest of Uncle Harry’s children, I know very little, except that she is married, has two sons, and lives in Cincinnati with her family.
My father, David, followed Harry in point of family seniority. However, since his history is contained in the chapter, “parents,” there is no purpose to be served in repeating that information here.
Aunt Chaika (Ida) is the next eldest of Grandfather Shmuel’s children, and her existence was probably the most onerous and painful of them all. And yet she bore up under the adversities of her life with amazing grace and cheerfulness. She is now in her 90’s, and, except for occasional twinges and disabilities, such as hardness of hearing, normally attendant upon old age, she manages to get around quite well. As a matter of fact, her memory of past incidents is quite remarkable, although it is difficult to question her concerning factual matters because of her deafness.
The first calamity to befall Aunt Ida was the death of her young husband in a shipyard accident in 1918. After this, there followed years of poverty and deprivation, in which she had to struggle to support five young children. Her burden was eased somewhat when the boys became of an age where they could contribute to the needs of the household by the earnings acquired through some form of gainful employment. But fate dealt her another blow when Abe, her second eldest, developed pulmonary tuberculosis.
Despite this latest setback, Aunt Ida and her sons, through the combination of the earnings, were enabled, eventually, to move to a better neighborhood than the one in which they had heretofore been residing. In fact the home they bought was on Larchwood Avenue, across the street from where we lived. Aunt Ida no doubt had it in her mind that Abe, her ailing son, would benefit by living on a wide, tree-lined street, instead of on one of those suffocatingly narrow alleys in the older sections of the city.
In those days, Willie, the eldest, was closer to me than any of the other boys, although he was senior to me by five or six years. Soon after their arrival in our neighborhood, I remember Willie brought over albums with his stamp collection for my inspection. He would also join me and the other boys, who lived nearby, at the corner where we used to meet and socialize. Once I recall he presented for my perusal a handwritten manuscript of erotic fiction he had dashed off in idle moments. It was the sort of fanciful imagining an adolescent would entertain day-dreaming about the opposite sex. Yet, I daresay, if it was presented to a publisher of such material today, given the permissive climate existing now, it might well have been printed.
I think Willie must have been unemployed during this period of authorship, else he would not have had so much leisure for literary pursuits. Also, as I recollect, this was at a time when I was in my latter years of high school, for Joe, Aunt Ida’s youngest son, who was a half year ahead of me at West Philadelphia High, was working for Western Union, delivering telegrams on a bicycle after school.
Abe, the tubercular son, I only saw now and again, as I observed him walking on the other side of the street. I never had occasion to speak to him, because he was away, much of the time, in sanatoriums.
As for Lou, the third son, I rarely saw him at all. He was either working full time or in the company of his Trotskyite friends, for he was an avowed Communist.
Aunt Ida had another child, as well, a daughter named Sarah. Sad to say, however, she only lived to the age of ten, dying from a cause which is unknown to me. In addition, Abe, the sickly one, succumbed to the disease with which he was afflicted, at age 21.
Willie ultimately found employment in a leather-goods factory, married and sired three sons. Eli, the eldest of these, proved the most successful, becoming head of a public relations firm. He also invested in a number of well-known restaurants located in Philadelphia.
When the leather industry moved out of the city, Willie operated a fast-food shop to earn a livelihood. Aunt Ida also lived with him for a time in a property they purchased together.
As for Lou he moved to New York City, where found employment in, of all places, the New York Stock Exchange, that citadel of capitalistic enterprise. However, I doubt this experience had any effect upon his political philosophy.
I remember once engaging him in a debate concerning the merits of socialist dogma. It was not difficult to understand his bitterness toward the economic standards of a capitalist society, considering the poverty he had known as a child. I conceded that communism might be attractive to those who had nothing to lose, but in advanced populations, I maintained, human nature would resist such regimentation.
Lou married rather late in life, probably in his forties, but he had no children.
With Joe Karetny, Aunt Ida’s youngest son, we became friendly at about the time our families had young children. This was fostered mainly through the affable relationship between Rose, his wife, and Hilda. Of late, we only see each other at family celebrations and funerals.
As a character, Joe is unique. He has a disarming presence which tends to eschew serious topics, so that one has difficulty in pinning him down to the true state of his feelings about anything. He also has a somewhat outrageous way of welcoming those he likes in the physical manner of a friendly dog.
To the casual observer, Joe appears to be totally agreeable and ingratiating, but I am inclined to think this attitude he presents to the world is a form of defense he learned to assume against the traumas he experienced as a child.
For a good many years, Joe was a driver for a laundry company. He is now an expediter or traffic manager for the same company. Jose and Rose have two daughters and a son.
The youngest of my father’s brothers was Abe, and, although he and his family lived within a few blocks of our house, Pop refused to acknowledge his existence. However, because Mom and Mary, his wife, were friends, she and I used to visit them surreptitiously on occasion.
The reason for the estrangement between the brothers was caused by an act of disloyalty by Abe when he was working for Pop as a bricklayer. It seems that my father had offered a price to a builder for some projected work, and Abe, no doubt seeking to advance his own fortunes, went to this man and proposed to do the same work at a cheaper price and with better quality.
The builder related this incident to my father, and Pop was so incensed at this underhanded action by Abe that he had nothing more to do with him for perhaps thirty years, when Pop had retired from all business activities. Abe further exacerbated their alienation by continually opposing, in the Boslover, policies which Pop espoused. Regardless of the merits of Pop’s position he always seemed to be on the other side of it.
Uncle Abe, by his glibness and charm, was eventually able to attract a partner with money to invest in building operations. With the name “Toll-Barkan” on their stationery and an office in town, the partners launched themselves as general contractors in the commercial field.
I remember visiting Uncle Abe’s office on a number of occasions to take off brickwork quantities from plans he had for a job on which we were bidding. At one such time, he engaged me in a conversation concerning the current trends in construction. From this, I could readily understand how others might be attracted an impressed by the aspect he presented, for the knowledge and analytic perception he brought to bear upon the subject were most persuasive. Despite these intellectual qualities and the verbal dexterity possessed by my uncle, the firm of Toll-Barkan failed to survive the rigors of competition, and passed into oblivion.
Nothing daunted and still casting about for avenues of profitable enterprise, Uncle Abe managed to persuade Cousin Albert, who was then in the midst of developing the former Widener estate, to allow him to supervise the construction of houses there.
Apparently this association between uncle and nephew was agreeable for a time, but, eventually, Uncle Abe decided that his value to Albert was not being sufficiently acknowledged or recompensed. Thus, thinking that Albert would be readily convinced of his indispensability, Uncle Abe presented to him his demands for more of the pie than he was receiving. Albert, however, was not one to allow family ties to interfere with business, and gave Uncle Abe his walking papers forthwith. When Pop heard of the denouement of this episode, he voided satisfaction at the discomfiture of one so overweening and audacious, even if it was his brother.
Later, at family gatherings, when the brothers were in attendance together, they were finally induced to speak to each other. After all, they were now retired, and neither could possibly injure the other. Probably, from Pop’s point of view, Abe had suffered enough for his devious ways and arrogance. It was time now let “the dead past bury its dead.”
I never discovered if Uncle Abe had any formal education here, but I am inclined to doubt it. Nonetheless, he must have learned to read and write English in some manner in order to have been enabled to conduct his business affairs, since none of his children assisted him in this, as did I with Pop or Herman with Uncle Max in their businesses. In addition to this, Uncle Abe must have been an omnivorous reader to have become so knowledgeable on such a wide range of topics, which he could easily discourse upon when the occasion warranted.
Uncle Abe and Aunt Mary had three children—a son, Joe, and two daughters, Sarah and Ruth. As a boy, I remember Joe had a speech defect caused by stammering, but he later outgrew this difficulty. From those days to the present, I have seen Cousin Joe on two or three other occasions. I have been told he was able to receive a free college education at City College of New York by residing with relatives during the school year. Joe graduated with a degree in sociology.
The first position Joe held in his chosen profession was in a penitentiary, located in a Trenton, I believe. It seems to me he was an assistant warden, or the like, although he could have been a counselor to the inmates. Later, he became interested in the field of psychotherapy and took a post in a mental institution located in Evansville, Indiana. He now resides in the Trenton area with his wife, Lillian, a social worker now employed by the Veterans’ Administration in Philadelphia. I understand Joe now holds himself forth as a practicing psychotherapist, and is studying for his doctorate at New York University.
Joe and Lillian have a son and daughter—David, a psychologist in San Francisco, and Caroline, a former journalist with the Chicago Tribune and Sun, who is no married and living in new York with her lawyer-husband, Gerald Oppenheim.
Joe’s elder sister, Sarah, married Herman Adelman, a biochemist who once worked for Rohm and Haas, but is now employed by the State of New Jersey in some other capacity, I believe. These two now reside near Yardley, on the Jersey side of the Delaware River. They have three children—a son and two daughters, one a teacher in the Pittsburgh area.
Ruth, the younger sister, married a man named Lock, who was engaged in the hardware business in Harrisburg. Ruth also works as a speech therapist and they have four children.
Aunt Esther was the ninth child of Grandfather Shmuel, and I first laid eyes upon her as a young boy when I was taken by my parents to a yard goods establishment located on Seventh Street in South Philadelphia where she was waiting upon trade. As I recollect, Aunt Esther was not married at the time, but her husband-to-be, a Mr. Krasnow, either was employed at the same shop or was its proprietor.
At any rate, following their subsequent marriage, I was not to see my aunt’s family, with perhaps one or two exceptions, until we were invited to attend the engagements and weddings of her daughters, an interim of some twenty years.
This disassociation between our families had its inception, I believe, because of the apparent insufficiency of financial support (or gifts) given the groom to establish himself in business or to further expand his existing enterprise. There were various intimations which led me to this conclusion, but was fixed this notion in my mind was the appearance of Mr. Krasnow at those joyous occasions to which I have referred, because one could easily discern from his demeanor that our invitations would not have been forthcoming if he had had anything to do with them. However, since his wife’s brothers were called into attendance, he gave them little acknowledgement beyond a nod. Actually, the coolness and aloofness he displayed toward his in-laws was so obvious, it could have been chiseled in stone.
On the other hand, Mr. Krasnow might have relished the opportunity to lord it over those who had denied him an adequate dowry, for by his strutting about and posturing, he seemed to be calling attention to himself as a man of means and accomplishment.
Aunt Esther was a warm and loving person, contrasting sharply with the cold rigidity of her husband. There is no doubt in my mind that much of the success achieved by Mr. Krasnow’s yard goods business was due through her efforts. While most customers would have been repelled by his high-handed manner, Aunt Esther’s kindly interest in humanity must have drawn customers to her store.
Coming from such a mother, her three daughters naturally inherited some of her graciousness and charm. All attended universities at a time when college training for girls was considered a waste of effort. Sarah, the eldest, became a teacher, and married Zeke Berlin, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
It had always been Zeke’s ambition to direct a Broadly, but the best he could achieve in his chosen profession, I believe, was summer stock plays. Throughout the early years of their marriage, Zeke and Sarah lived in New York to be near the theater district, he working at odd jobs of selling and the like and she working full time.
However, the break Zeke was seeking always seemed to elude his grasp. Eventually, he found a position as drama instructor with the Camden division of Rutgers University. Sarah also found a post as a teacher. They never had any children.
Miriam, the second daughter, became a social worker, and married Coleman Nadler, a chemical engineer. They have two sons, I believe.
Elaine, the youngest daughter, became a high school English teacher, but, because of the unruly character of the classes she had to instruct, she left the school system to specialize in speech therapy.
Elaine married Julius Ellison, a medical student, who eventually became a physician specializing in internal medicine. In addition to his practice, Julius is interested in growing orchids, as well as photography. I have seen many fine examples of his orchid pictures on the walls of their home in Elkins Park.
Elaine and Julius have three children—a daughter and two sons.
My youngest aunt, Helen (Oodle), was occupied during most of her working life in the needle trades, and married a co-worker, Louis D’Ambrosio, a quiet, pleasant man, who loved her devotedly. I actually never new of her existence until my eighteenth or nineteenth year, when I attended the funeral of Great-Uncle Velvel. I remember seeing her beautiful brown eyes observe me with unusual interest, and I could tell from her features that she was a member of the family I had never met. It was only when I questioned my father about this lady that I learned that she was a sister who had been ostracized by her brothers because had married out of the faith.
Hilda and I once visited the D’Ambrosio’s at their place of residence, near 53rd & Osage. I remember marveling at the quantity of gadgets and machinery she employed in preparing spaghetti and other farinaceous edibles, an extraordinary accommodation, I felt at the time, in one who had been inured to a wholly different style of cuisine.
Helen had only one son, Joe, who, at the time of our visit, was a baseball umpire officiating then in the minor leagues. At our meeting, I found Joe to be a fine looking young man, who resembles his mother a good deal. He is married to a Gentile lady who is both agreeable and vivacious. They have four children.
I doubt if Joe ever broke into the major leagues, which was his ultimate goal, I understand he now works as a real estate salesman.
When Helen and Louis stopped working, they went to live in an apartment building erected by their union for retirees. However, during the latter years of her life, Helen suffered from the debilitating effects of heart disease, eventually succumbing to that affliction within the past year (1978). I can never forget the heart-rending scene of Louis, a crushed and inconsolable figure at her casket, bidding goodbye to the wife he had loved so well.
With the death of Helen, only one, Aunt Ida, remains alive at 90 of all my father’s family at the present time (1979).
I now turn to my mother’s relatives. These are the families of her three brothers—Morris, Abe and Dave. Mom had no sisters.
Uncle Morris, the eldest, settled in Cleveland with his wife, Nina. They had three daughters, two of which were twins. The family name for them was Levine, as opposed to the “Levin” used by the other brothers.
I do not remember the occupation Uncle Morris pursued. Actually, I believe I only saw him twice during my life—once, as a child, and later, again, toward the end of his days.
As I recollect, he was a smallish man, not rising much above five fee in height. His brothers were equally as short. But I should say the most striking physical attribute he possessed was the beauty of his face. That, and the lovely smile he had of one who is at peace with himself and with the world.
Aunt Nine was equally as short as her husband, not especially pretty, but with a bright and lovely complexion and an animated personality. When I was about twenty, she travelled to Philadelphia alone and stayed with us for about a week. Her visit was memorable to me because of the stories she related of her hair-raising escape from the Russian authorities across the Russian border and her eventual arrival in America.
I must have been about ten when I accompanied my mother on a visit to Uncle Morris and Aunt Nina in Cleveland. I remember what a thrill I felt in traveling there on a Pullman train and spending the night in an upper berth.
We had to change trains when we arrived in Pittsburgh, and I recall how black with smoke the sky was when we got there. They used to call Pittsburg the “Smoky City,” and I could understand why when we stood waiting for our train in the railroad station, for then there were no air pollution laws, and the black fumes spewed out by surrounding factories were accepted as the cost of industrialization.
It mush have been winter when we arrived in Cleveland, for I remember a heavy snow had newly fallen over the city, a continuing fact of life for residents there, but quite infrequent in the Philadelphia area.
My Uncle Morris and his family lived in a large frame, detached dwelling. It was set back at a good distance from the street, with about an acre of open space surrounding it. At the time, I could not help but observe how remarkable it was that Cleveland seemed not to have any row houses as we did in Philadelphia.
Anna, the older girl, must have been about sixteen when I met her, while the twins were only about five or six. We were introduced to other relatives during our stay, one of which was a bespectacled boy about my own age. However, I cannot now ascertain what manner of kinship these families shared with me.
There was one novel experience I enjoyed in Cleveland which I had not known in my own city: I was taken to view a movie where the price of admission was only ten cents, and the action on the screen was accompanied by the playing of a piano. The movie houses in my neighborhood back home were all more expensive, but we always had an organist to play—quite a cultural departure from the hinterlands of Cleveland.
My mother must have been very fond of Aunt Nina, for she corresponded with her unfailingly once a week for as long as Aunt Nina was living. Mom always used penny post cards for this purpose, and her message was written in tight, but neatly composed, Yiddish characters. I can still remember the address I was always asked to place upon the front of the card: 992 Lakeview Drive.
Another relative with whom my mother kept up a regular correspondence was Aunt Luba, the wife of my Uncle Abe, in Chester. Here my uncle ran a small grocery store in a less inviting section of that city.
Chester is famous for being the oldest city in Pennsylvania, and it lies some twenty miles distant from our house in West Philadelphia. Every three or four months, Mom and I would board the 60th Street trolley going south, and, after riding some three miles on this vehicle, we would transfer to another trolley on Woodland Avenue, heading west. Once escaping the environs of the city and passing through the encompassing wetlands of Tinicum, our conveyance responded to its freedom from the need to discharge passengers at regular intervals by increasing its speed to fifty or sixty miles per hour.
To our discomfort, however, these trollies were not built to give a steady ride at such high velocities, and we traversed the vast acres of surrounding marsh grasses and cattails as upon a swaying vessel naviagat6ing in a swelling sea. No one dared to stand upright on such a stormy passage, for one could easily be toppled by a sudden lurch or roll.
Eventually, our rapid streetcar slowed down as we approached the outskirts of Chester, the environs of which were introduced by the sight of large industrial plants and the presence of smoke-laden skies. Then, quite suddenly, our vehicle came to a halt in the midtown square of the city—the terminus of our journey. From that point, we always found it necessary to walk about a half mile to Uncle Abe’s combination store and dwelling.
Curiously enough, I only remember the trips going to Chester and none of the trips returning. Quite probably, Pop would pick us up in the evening to drive us home, accounting for my lack of memory regarding the subject.
We always entered the house through the grocery, which would set off the tinkling of a bell to announce our presence. Although the space here was not much larger than a good-sized living room, the shelves on every wall reached to the ceiling, and were fully stocked with all manner of victuals and household goods. In this respect, it resembled an old-fashioned country store.
The presence of a large steel drum of kerosene in the store made on instantly aware of the impoverished condition of the neighborhood. As a matter of fact, when visiting there as a child, I remember kerosene lamps were used to light the house. Within a few years of that time they acquired electricity.
Yet, in other ways, my uncle’s family seemed to live a sort of Spartan-like existence, especially during the winter months, when only the kitchen and living room were heated. The store, the hallway adjoining it and a storage room in the back of the house were never heated, and neither were the bedrooms upstairs.
I remember once sleeping over night with Cousin Ben in his bedroom, and I can well attest to the chilliness I experienced there. Strangely enough, there was no door leading from that room to the hallway, so that when I arose, my only means of egress was through an open window which led to the next room. Apparently, the room I was in had been added to the house as an afterthought, with no provision made for access to the rest of the house, except by the window previously mentioned.
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I clambered through this opening, and found myself facing Cousin Frances (nee Fanny) in a state of partial undress. She emitted a small shriek at this invasion of her privacy, and I, embarrassed, excused myself and quickly made for the door leading to the hall. Although only her legs were uncovered in that icy room, I was glad to note that her thighs were milky white and pleasantly rounded.
Uncle Abe and Aunt Luba were both deeply religious people, being life-long members of their local Jewish temple. Naturally, they tried to impart their religious values to their children, as well. Thus, it was inevitable that Ben, as well as the girls, should be given instruction in Hebrew and religion.
Their teacher in these subjects was an itinerant pedagog, who came to the house regularly for that purpose. On the one occasion when I saw this individual, Ben pointed out to me, with great glee, the peculiar manner in which his tutor smoked cigarettes: a practice he made of placing the weed in a space provided by a missing front tooth.
Aunt Luba was one of those seemingly cool, and reserved individuals who have difficulty in expressing affection or emotion. I do not remember ever being kissed by her, even as a child. Uncle Abe, on the other hand, was as warm and gregarious as his wife was not.
While the lives of these two was marked by self-denial and frugality, they were noted for their benefactions to their community and religious institutions.
Celia was the eldest of their children. I believe she left home soon after completing her high school education, finding a government position in Washington, D.C. As I recall, I found her rather pleasant, with features that I would deem almost pretty. I remember once visiting her in Washington, in company with Ben. After that there were only one or two other occasions when we have met.
I later learned that she married an attorney who was associated with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Some years later, they moved to Westchester County, New York, where he practiced as an attorney specializing in matters which made use of the knowledge and connections he had stored up through his years of service in the nation’s capital.
Ben, the second eldest of my cousins, being a boy, was my favorite companion on these visits to Chester. His good humor and smiling face I found to be contagious, and I thoroughly enjoyed his company.
When walking about the town with him, he seemed to be on a first-name basis with almost everyone we met. And if a stranger should be strolling a short distance ahead of us and were about to overtake him, Ben invariably would shout out words of recognition in his direction. At this, the surprised stranger would turn to face the person who seemed to be addressing him, but Ben would always meet his gaze with a blank stare, as we passed him by. This mocking and irreverent attitude was, I am sure, assumed for my amusement, and I could never restrain my laughter at such antics.
To give you an idea of the lengths Ben would go to in spoofing others, I recall an instance when we were driving about together with another friend through the environs of Bethel Court, the notorious red-light district of Chester. Ben, the driver, suddenly came to a halt before one of these houses, and told us to wait for him while he went inside.
Within two or three minutes he returned to the car. When asked the reason for the brevity of his visit, he replied that the girl he selected would not accommodate him by assuming a sexual position on top of her dresser. Since she refused to comply with his request, he declined to award her his patronage.
Because Ben had such an unusual personality, it was inevitable that he should attract to himself individuals who were equally unusual. Aaron Baer, the shyest person I have ever met, was one of these. He became so attached to Ben that he seemed to depend upon him to give expression to thoughts he was unable to verbalize.
When I first met Aaron, I remember asking him certain harmless questions designed to elicit from him a possible commonality of interests. But he would never answer me directly. Instead, he always seemed to ask Ben to be his intermediary and interpreter. “You tell him, Ben” was his favorite expression.
Ben seemed to enjoy this reliance that Aaron had on him for companionship and communication. But I think Aaron had an ulterior motive in being such a constant visitor in the Levin household: It gave him access to Cousin Frances, for whom he seems to have had a secret passion. My reason for thinking so: their subsequent marriage after Frances’ first venture into matrimony had been dissolved shortly after it had been entered into.
I am sure this was only a marriage of convenience for Frances; for Aaron, it was a chance to be always near the one he loved.
One son, Louis, resulted from this union. Throughout all the schools he attended, he distinguished himself as a student. His major interest was in languages, and he ultimately secured a position with the government. Since Louis was always reticent in speaking of his job, I imagine he must have been employed by the CIA as a translator of foreign-language communications.
When Louis was away at college, Frances seized upon this opportunity to improve her own circumstances by enrolling at West Chester State Teachers’ College. Upon graduation, she found a post as a teacher in a public primary school.
With the security and independence offered by her newfound profession, Frances blossomed and truly began to enjoy her life. Each summer vacation season saw her off with teacher and social groups—never with Aaron—to the far corners of the earth. And, during the school year, there was a heavy calendar of events to occupy her interests, with Aaron always on hand to escort her when other friends were unavailable.
Whenever we saw these two, which was infrequent because of her tight schedule, Frances appeared bright-eyed and vivacious, an aura of utter fulfillment about her. Aaron, on the other hand, I could see felt downcast and disregarded. With maturity, he was now able to communicate his feelings, and when we met he would always let drop comments which told me of his unhappiness.
The youngest of my cousins from Chester and the favorite among all my relatives is Violet. She is the most unpretentious and unspoiled lady I know, with a liveliness and unconventionality that is utterly disarming. On those occasions when we were together, she often displayed that roguishness and good humor that Ben had as a youth. And she had all this joie de vivre, despite having to work during most of her married life to Joe Mansky, a pleasant, likeable fellow, who was never able to earn much more than a meager livelihood. They had three sons.
As to Ben, he had married about a year after our own wedding. Before that time, he had been employed as an assistant buyer with a large department store (Hecht’s, I believe) in Washington. He lived with his wife in the home of her parents in Baltimore, until they passed away. They had one son who matriculated at Johns Hopkins and became a lawyer, and, to the best of my knowledge, was employed by the municipal government of Baltimore.
The son, as I recall, was remarkably handsome, but not as good-looking as his father, whom I considered to be one of the most attractive men I have ever met, especially as I remember him at our last meeting some years ago, with his snow-white hair and his ineffable grace and nobility of manner. This latter quality was undoubtedly acquired through many years of travel in foreign lands, for he has, for many years now, been a full-fledged buyer for his company, required to journey constantly to Europe and the Orient.
The last of my mother’s brothers was Uncle Dave. He and Aunt Minnie lived at 5913 Addison St., a few blocks from our residence on Larchwood Avenue. Uncle Dave operated a small factory which produced mens’ caps, and I never wanted for this type of head covering while he was engaged in that business. However, when it became the fashion for men to go about bare-headed, he had to give up this enterprise.
My uncle was a hard-working but agreeable individual, like his brothers, he was also short, but he exceeded Aunt Minnie’s height by some four or five inches. Another distinctive quality about his person was his voice, which was unusually gravelly in tone.
With respect to Aunt Minnie, energy was her principal hallmark. She seemed never to be idle for a moment, always cleaning, washing, cooking, or whatever. Her household was a matriarchy, and everyone in there knew it.
Aunt Minnie was always a stickler for cleanliness, and it was understood, in those who entered her domain, that reasonable care would be exercised to prevent the accumulation of soil or excessive wear. As an instance of this, no one was permitted to use her polished hardwood stairs before shoes were removed.
She was also an excellent cook and baker, and I had many opportunities to enjoy her meals because of the busy social life of my parents.
Besides being extremely energetic, Aunt Minnie was also an affectionate and fun-loving person. AS a child, whenever I was hugged by her, which was quite often, it almost left me gasping for breath. In those days, her favorite appellation for me was “Boy-Iceman,” an expression I never quite understood.
Considering her physical proportions, it always was a source of wonder to me to see how nimble and quick she was. She was only about four foot nine, with an enormous bosom which jutted out before her, disproportionately narrow hips and little muscular legs that scampered about with surprising celerity. This configuration of her body gave her the appearance of a pouter pigeon.
Whenever I was invited to join Aunt Minnie and her family for dinner, efforts were always made by the boys to stimulate a proclivity I have for falling into fits of laughter at the slightest provocation. When my risibilities are thus affected, I can cachinnate so much that tears run down my cheeks and my breast begins to ache. Stanley and Stuart seem also to have inherited this disposition. At any rate, once this bantering sport was begun by my cousins, I was soon reduced to a red-faced, tearful, helpless, hilarious mass of gelatin. At sight of me, everyone else would join in the laughter, although not quite has heartily as I. After a while they would leave off their teasing, so that I might enjoy the repast laid before me.
Sam, the eldest of Uncle Dave’s children, was the only one who graduated from high school. He was the most serious of the lot, and never seemed to have had an opportunity to “sow his wild oats,” as the saying goes. For, after a short relationship with the first girl who took an interest in him romantically, he felt compelled to marry her as a consequence of an indiscretion leading to her pregnancy.
I remember a visit my parents had with Uncle Dave and Aunt Minnie, at a time when Edith, Sam’s lady friend, was also in attendance. But she sat apart from everyone else in a silent, brooding manner. Only Sophie, Cousin Charley’s finance, seemed able to converse with her.
I think a discussion was then in progress concerning the need to legitimize the expected child. Sam was probably reluctant to assume the responsibilities of fatherhood at this early state of his life. In addition, he seemed to feel that he had somehow been seduced. He was finally persuaded, whoever, to do “the right thing” and marry Edith.
Sam’s new wife was rather plump to begin with, but after the birth of her son, she soon developed into a dumpy, frumpy lump. The boy seemed also to have inherited his mother’s propensity toward obesity. This predisposition toward excessive corpulence apparently contributed to the early demise of Edith and her son, for both died when quite young.
Sam remarried not long after the death of his son, and then I saw him one other time. This was in a restaurant where Hilda and I were dining, and I saw him seated at another table with his new wife and another couple. I signaled to him and smiled, but he avoided my gaze. Since I did not wish to obtrude where I might not be welcome, I made no further effort to gain his recognition.
There is a possibility Sam may have become alienated from his family in some way, for he did not seem to maintain contact with them after his second marriage. Perhaps when I saw him, his patent disregard of my presence was his way of cutting one more tie with his unhappy past.
Charley, Uncle Dave’s second son, had the angular features and bulging eyes reminiscent of Ned Sparks, the onetime comic movie actor. In my younger days, I remember observing a street-wise presence about him which always seemed to snicker at my immaturity and innocence. Even today, when we meet, he seems unable to suppress a patronizing manner toward me.
I never thought Charley would amount to much, for he appeared to spend most of his free time hanging around the pool hall on 60th Street. However, once married, he settled down to the serious business of earning a livelihood. For many years he operated a pretzel route serving retailers. Later on, he purchased expensive machinery for packaging all kinds of retail products. In this venture, he appears to have achieved financial success and security, for he was eventually able to retire under comfortable circumstances and turn over his business to his two sons.
Annie, the next eldest of my cousins in point of age, married when quite young, had a girl-child (Shirley), and was divorced soon afterward. Some years later, she married Andy Tronkes, a non-Jew and a pleasant, self-effacing individual who is totally dominated by Annie.
At or about 1955, Uncle Dave and Aunt Minnie sold their house on Addison Street and moved into a duplex with Annie and Andy. This was located on Tyson Avenue in the Northeast, about a mile from where we reside. My uncle only lived for a few years after that, but Aunt Minnie still occupies her apartment to this day (1979) at ninety, although she is, for all practical purposes now, a semi-invalid.
The last of my uncle’s brood, Bernie, was about two years younger than I, and, while we enjoyed each other’s company as children, once the age of puberty was reached, a lack of common interest caused us to drift apart.
As a youth, Bernie was rather good-looking, and he had an inclination to lead the life of a womanizer and man-about-town. However, once he met and married a no-nonsense girl from Newport News, Virginia, he settled down to the mundane business of operating a delicatessen in that southern town, financed, no doubt, by his wife’s parents.
Under these changed circumstances, Bernie soon became a pillar of the community, joining the local temple and country club. But Aunt Minnie always complained to me of the hard work and long hours Bernie had to endure in the delicatessen. According to her, he was always looking for a buyer, but he was unsuccessful in this until quite recently.
All of Bernie’s children have been well educated, I understand. One son, I have been told, is a practicing attorney in Florida, another is a dentist, and the third, a girl, is married to a teacher at Penn State.
With this last entry, I close the history of my blood relatives. However, because I realize my knowledge of this subject is incomplete, at best, I fully intend to attach addenda to what has already been written, as new and relevant facts come within my purview.