Friday, March 5, 2010

The Family Takes Over - featuring Aunt Mary, Uncle Sam and Mark

I have received some lovely encouragement regarding my musings about the earlier generations of the family and on the basis of that I am going to dig into my messy files and see if I can continue to reveal the Blumenthals in all their glory.  My brain is not of its usual tacklike sharpness tonite so I will coast along and try to let the pictures do most of the talking.

Incidentally....I think it is ironic that I received no encouragement from family members directly or as comments on my blog.....but nooooooo......that would be too simple I guess.  One lovely bit of stroking came via email from Mary, a friend of my cousin Bruce Morton (Goldman), Aunt Mary's grandson.  She is a wonderful and remarkable lady who apparently takes more interest in Bruce's family than he does and I am tickled to be able to feed her interest and curiosity.  The other shout of  "more, please" came today from my cousin, Shoshana, who is granddaughter of Aunt Jenny's Bud and Great Granddaughter to the sainted Aunt Jenny.  She also happens to be the mother of the firstborn of the newest generation ***........Shosh and Mike Di Bennedetto have produced Max who was just 1 year old a bit ago and who happens to have been the first baby I have ever held in my long and adventurous life.  I must look for that photo of me holding Max to see if I can publish it here some day....such a milestone deserves to be preserved.  If I have lost it I hope that Shosh can supply me with a new copy.

The picture on the right is Aunt Mary and Uncle
Sam Goldman, either at the beach in Atlantic City or at a fake beach in some photographer's studio.  Don't know if they were already married or just courting, (I notice the rather proprietary arm of Aunt Mary draped across Uncle Sam's manly (or rather bony)  thigh so I suspect married or almost) but there they are for all to their bathing costumes yet.
Below on the left is Aunt Mary..........she was the prettiest one of the girls....I don't think anyone will argue about that and she had a sweet nature with a teensy bit more wildness than either Jenny or Mamie....I said just a bit.  After she and Uncle Sam married they moved to Atlantic City.....reasons unknown......and were not such frequent visitors as the members living in Philly, but A.C was only 60 miles away so they were present for all holidays and important occasions. Uncle Sam was an accountant....I do not know much more about him...... and they produced two children, first Selma and then Marcus  (Later to become Mark Morton).  One of the most enormous family tragedies occurred when Selma, on her honeymoon, contracted Spinal Meningitis and died after only a brief illness.  Aunt Mary never completely recovered, though she did quite well and thereafter poured all of her adoration into Mark.  He was a maverick like me.  First, he was absolutely gorgeous (unlike me).  Then he got hooked on body-building long before it was any kind of sport or lifestyle.  While a teen-ager in Atlantic City he became a Lifeguard and began lifting weights.  Then he took himself off to New York City to go to college at NYU..........acquired an equally gorgeous buddy named Hank and the two of them went about layering on as many muscles as a body could comfortably support.  They were really something to behold and I can only weep over the bodies of (figuratively) slain womankind that they surely left strewn in their wake as they swashbuckled around New York and Philly.  Somewhere around this time Aunt Mary and Uncle Sam moved back to Philly, a few blocks away from us and Aunt Mary would get all excited whenever Mark was coming home for the weekend.  "I've got to go to the Butcher, Mr Singer on 60th Street and get a big Pin Bone Roast.....Mark will be here for the weekend and he won't eat anything but roast beef," she would mutter.  (I still don't know exactly what a Pin Bone Roast was.....maybe a cross between Prime Rib and Sirloin)  Anyway.....Mark always got his beef.  Aunt Mary was a good cook and often would bring pans of some delectable doughy stuff to our house, put in on the radiator covers to rise and bake scrumptious goodies in our oven.  Oy, I can still smell it....... and taste it.......heaven.  She also made a mean Sponge Cake and some incredible muffin or bun type things that were savory not sweet, filled with ground meat, onions and spices.  Sigh, Gasp, Slobber.
Mark played the field and we wondered if he would ever find anyone he wanted to marry, but he happened upon the gorgeous Ruth.  It would  be easy to say that it was just the combination of beauty, brains, charm that did him in, but I heard that her parents owned a deli and it is my hunch that the lure of all that corned  beef may have had something to do with it too.  That pairing produced two lovely boys, Ken and Bruce.......the very Bruce whose pal, Mary, has encouraged me to write more about the family, so, Mary, consider that this is for you and Bruce.

On the right is a picture of the three sisters, Mary, Mamie and Jenny in their teens or perhaps early twenties.  When I said that Mary was the prettiest I forgot that in this picture Aunt Jenny also looked lovely........after all, she and Mary, though not identical twins, were twins nevertheless.  My grandma was not a beauty but she had all the family warmth and kindness.

This photo above is a rare and wonderful one.  It shows 3 generations of the Blumenthal women including a younger generation of offspring.  The younger generation includes my Mamma- Edna Kauffman, Selma Goldman, Charlotte Blumenthal (Uncle William's daughter) Mark Morton Goldman and Bert (Bud) and Lewis Kapnek - Aunt Jenny and Uncle Bill's boys.

Back row from left to right:
Selma Goldman, Charlotte (Uncle William's daughter), Aunt Rae (Uncle William's wife), Aunt Mary  Goldman.

Middle row:  My Mamma Edna Kauffman, my Grandma Mamie, GreatGrandma Sarah, Aunt Jenny Kapnek holding baby Lewis.

Seated in front are Mark Morton Goldman and Bud Kapnek. 

This is the only picture that has nearly the entire Blumenthal matriarchy and most of the children up to that time which I am  guessing was around 1920.  As you will  notice, my Mamma, Selma and Charlotte were much older than the Goldman and Kapnek boys.  I am guessing Mamma was about 14 here, Mark would have been around  7, Bud about  4 or 5 and Lew under 2.  The 3 girls of my Mamma's generation were tragically ill fated.  Selma, as I mentioned died on her honeymoon while in her twenties, Charlotte died of cancer in her early 30's and my Mamma died of cancer in her mid -fifties.  The rest of the family was remarkably long lived, most of them into their 80's and 90's.  One never knows what's in store for you and that is undoubtedly a good thing.

Now I must go and weep a few gentle tears for all of my beloved ancestors.

***Footnote: I was dreadfully mistaken when I said above that Shoshana had produced the first of a new generation.  I apologize abjectly to Bruce Morton whose adorable and remarkable son Evan is about 16 at this moment in time.  He was so far ahead of the new babies that I nearly forgot about him....but not for long.
Please forgive my much to remember.....