Tuesday, October 1, 2013
My beloved cousin, Lee, died on Thursday, a day after his 87th birthday.
He was a remarkable man, an amazing human being, a beautiful soul.
He was wise, warm, loving, compassionate, caring, creative, brilliant, sensitive, funny..... with a heart so big he must have had an invisible sidecar because it could not possibly have fit into that lanky body.......and I am already missing him like crazy.
He was my only real first cousin, the son of my dad's wonderful sister, Esther whom I called Aunt Es and he called Nonnie. My other precious cousins are really my first cousins once removed since they were my mom's first cousins and, since she was an only child there were no first cousins for me on that side of the family.
He was also my last relation who was a contemporary of mine. Now there is no one left to reminisce with about childhood in the 1930's, about the great old songs, the Big Bands, the real Movie Stars, about Grandma Lena, Grandpa Izzy and Uncle Willie who was so stingy he used to tell my father to not waste butter like that.....just put a little bit in the middle of the piece of bread and eat all around the slice so you get a taste of the butter with each bite.
I will no longer get to laugh at his jokes, even the ones he has told me a hundred times before. No more salivating over the vivid memory of Grandma Lena's Sweet and Sour Cabbage Rolls, no more doubling up with laughter over the time my dad tried to unstick the glass stopper in Esther's 4 ounce bottle of Shalimar perfume. (he called Carnegie Tech Science Dept. and got their best advice about tying a string around the neck of the bottle, setting it on fire and being able to lift the top neatly off. Yeah, sure. What really happened was the bottle disintegrated dousing my dad's trousers in 4 ounces of Shalimar which was really a good thing because the burning string fell on them and who knows what mighthave happened....and, I have hated that perfume ever since because, of course,he insisted on hanging those pants in the closet at home and we never were able to escape that scent no matter what.)
tNo more sighing over how we used to assemble his set of Original Lionel Trains and tracks all over the gold silk living room carpet when we went to visit. No more remembering the times we climbed the funny stairway to the attic that happened to have been built into the closet in the guest room. No more of a myriad of things that stretch back over 86 years because we were nearly the same age......he had about 8 months on me and had manged to last one day past his 87th bithday.
Bless you, Lee......I'll never forget you for whatever that is worth. Don't worry about me.....I'll be OK and I hope to hell you are having fun wherever you may be.