Friday, January 20, 2012

what was and what will be: nature appears to slumber

memory consumed by fire

the element fire

Jack Rosen: in memoriam, died 1952, January 20

"Uncle Jack is dead." "Jack died" or a variant. My father came into my room in the morning and spoke directly. By then he must have recovered his composure and managed his grief so that we did not see or I do not think we saw his sense of extreme loss. When he learned that his younger brother died, I do not know. Jack was a lawyer, I knew that. He lived in the Bronx near the County Courthouse and also near my grandparents Rose and Morris Rosen. This was the first time that death had occurred in my memory and that was a memory of eleven years, assuming that an infant has recollection. Uncle Jack was fun-loving, jovial and imposing. He was so tall; the tallest member of my family. I recall the funeral which shocked me. Unmitigated unrestrained grief: my grandmother tried to throw herself into her son's grave. My grandmother and her younger son had a loving relationship and his loss was a terrible wound. I do not think that she ever recovered from his death. And when Jack's son, my cousin Frank decided to move from California to New York City, he lived with my grandmother, in a sense carrying forward in time the sentiments felt for the father to the son.
The two brothers appeared to have had some sibling rivalry. Comments on the back of photographs that were exchanged while my father was taking his degree in medicine in Berlin indicate that. And an example is included here.
A mere 39 years. A massive heart attack and then silence except for the family.
He is so far in the past I cannot recall him in detail but as in a dream he emerges distinctly and then subsides and the essence the piquant sensation vanishes. Photographs serve as prompts. After his death over time I learned a little more about his life, mainly from my mother. My father was silent. To speak must have been too painful.
Jack is dressed in a fashionable suit photographed on a roof. Many family photographs were taken on roofs because at the time -1930-light was insufficient indoors. The distant buildings can be identified, but I have not undertaken research to ascertain where he was living, indeed, where my grandparents were living. Probably in The Bronx.
A detail from a photograph that was probably taken at about the same time. Movement of the camera emphasizes the ephemeral nature of the moment of the, time's slippage, yet what is preserved is my grandfather Morris's joy and his love for his son as his gestures' indicate: one arm encircling his boy's waist and the other placed over his shoulder, indicative of companionship, coming of age and tenderness of fatherhood

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Morris Rosen: in memoriam, 1887-1959

When my zaide (grandfather in Yiddish) died in 1959 when I was in high school (Music and Art , now LaGuarda High School). He was a very kind gentle person who dearly loved his family. Memories surface from my very young years, but I also remember his suffering in later life. Having worked for years bending over a pressing machine, he developed severe chronic back problems. He wore a miserable metal contraption to give him support but of course it provided little relief. (I am now approaching the age of his death, and I too suffer debilitating back disease but treatment, such as it is, does not involve wearing the painful metal cage my grandfather wore. Progress of sorts).

But I want to praise my grandfather whom I loved and thought would be forever in my life. And then I began to learn life's lessons.

Thanks to Morris' back-breaking labor he was able to send both of his children, my father George, and his younger Jack, his younger son to college and to graduate schools. My father became a physician and Jack a lawyer. In this picture, Grandpa poses with his two bright sons, George is on the left, Jack on the right. Grandma Rose probably took the photograph, but where?

How little I know about my grandfather's life; he emigrated from Odessa? He was a "tailor." And then what? All those decades are a closed book that I shall never open. History is cruel in that the detail, the precious detail of life leaves few traces for almost everyone.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

how playful Nature is

from Olana: the painter F. Church's view of the Hudson and the Catskills

and the light and color resembled oil sketches by Church. my elph did not manage to record the deep mauves and startling golds but it does what a camera can do; it renders its perception aaccording toits own mechanism. THe day was the first of 2012, late in the afternoon.

when did 2012 begin?

the future: inscrutable

the desicated heart anatomized

an estranged organ: an eye but not an eye

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fala: in Memoriam: February 3, 1997

Fala came home to live with his sister Kate. She picked him as her "brother," standing over him and seeing what he would do. He did not flinch, he did not cower. He was willing to put up with his big sister and she with him. When he was tiny, he slipped through the fencing and immediately she alerted us, barking to tell us that her baby brother had wandered into the next yard. Seh monitored him w hen he was young and then when he had grown to adult size she played with him. They wrestled with a stick, the "mouthed" each other, they tumbled about and then they came to rest. When in a large field they separated, each exploring what attracted them, but always they watched what the other was doing and when the right moment occurred they ran back to each other and walked and ran together. When Fala suffered diseases in the summer, Kate would lick him and try to soothe him. Together they lived with much happiness and companionship and when Fala died on night, Kate howled, a howl that expressed the sorrow of her heart and the recognition that something terrible had happened. The next days she searched for him, trying to find him in the big field where they had played so often. But though she marked the field as a rectangle and then subdivided it she could not find him. She left signs for him but he never returned. Today they are in th eden where only dogs can enter; it is like the field in Evora where wild flowers and grass grow are lush and trees give them shade and a sweet brook glides through a glade. It is a land of everlasting peace and joy where Fala was joined by Kate and then Aesop and Emma arrived. And now they are a foursome forever.