Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet
Michael DeBovis, 1940-2006
My Cousin Mickey was my oldest cousin. I didn't really know him until a few years ago. He died today.
Mickey was born with CP, Cerebral Palsy. He was my Aunt Betty's first child. In 1940 babies with CP were rarely taken home from the hospital, but my aunt didn't give up on him, nor give him up. The care in those days for CP sufferers wasn't very good, so he didn't accomplish what a similarly affected person could do today. Mickey never complained. Mickey loved life and people.
When he was a kid they didn't have arrangements for handicapped kids to go to school, so our Aunt Sadie (Finkelstein) taught him how to read and write, and his father taught him math. At one point, when he was already middle-aged, he learned accounting.
The pictures posted are from this summer when my Cousin Kenny drove me and my parents to see him. Mickey spent the last decades of his life in the Cheshire Home, Florham Park, NJ. It's a home for handicapped adults. Mickey loved it there, and everybody, staff and other residents loved him, too. He teased and flirted with the staff, and everyone kept telling me that he was the most popular resident. When Mickey reached a certain age (I'm not sure exactly how old) the State of New Jersey announced that he had to be transferred to a geriatric facility. He refused to go and managed to have a special law written and passed that would allow him to stay in the Cheshire Home.
Mickey and I exchanged emails. That's how we developed such a close relationship. I visited him my last few trips to the states. He had a great sense of humor. He told me that when the "home" had trips to a local mall he would go and find a nice lady to wheel his chair, which wasn't electric. He'd never say that he had CP, he'd say he was injured in the "war," because it was "sexier."
Mickey loved baseball and was a Yankee's fan.
Mickey was very spiritual and said and wrote many times that "thanks G-d every morning for being alive."
Yehi zichro baruch