Saturday, July 21, 2012

Family, Nothing's More Important

This trip to the states is dedicated to family.  I've been meeting more and more family members; some for the first time.  I'm debating on whether to post pictures of them here.  Well, my facebook friends can see them easily.

On my mother's side, we are lots of first cousins, our children and grandchildren.  There are only two couples left of the older generation, my parents and my mother's younger sister and her husband.  My mother and aunt are the youngest of nine kids, of a his, hers and theirs family.  Today it would be called a blended family.  My grandparents were widowed with kids when they got married.  My grandfather had two sons and my grandmother had three daughters.  Together they had four more children including my mother.

The clan was based in Brooklyn.  Neither of my grandparents had any siblings in America.  My grandfather didn't have any siblings at all. He was born an orphan.  His father had been murdered in a pogrom while his mother was pregnant and his mother died in childbirth.  His first wife died in childbirth having their second son.  My grandmother was the only one in her large family from Rogotchov, Belarus to go to America.    One brother lived in London with his family.  So, my mother had no cousins she knew of.

I have lots of cousins, and growing up knowing them, or almost all of them, was great fun.  Age-wise I'm in the middle, and I loved observing my elder cousins, joking around.  Everyone would talk all at once finishing each other's sentences and having fun, at least so it always seemed to me.  Nobody was rich, so most get-togethers were very crowded adding to the action.

Now we're spread all over the place, including me in Israel.  Via facebook, the eldest daughter of one of my cousins suggested that I come to Philly after landing for the day.  So that's what I did.  A few of us got together, toured, ate, toured and ate.  We may be living all different life-styles at this point, but we're all family.

I have no doubt that my grandparents in olam haba, the next world were observing us and enjoying the meeting.  No doubt they weren't surprised that we all polished off all the food, at least all of their descendants.  I come from "good eaters" on both sides.

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