Sunday, August 05, 2007

More rough notes on: These are the People ... REVISED 8/10/07

Harold Grossman: My Stepfather

Harold Grossman was ... as they say in the 'mamaloshen (yiddish)' a gutte

mensche and neshuma ... a good man and soul .

From my perspective, he was a fine husband and provider to my mom; I lived under

Harold's roof longer than I had with my dad.

Above all, there was one dimension of Harold I've always respected. He never sought to

take my father's place. Though I lived in his house for about ten years together with my brother
Ron and my mom, Harold always respected the fact my dad was just a short drive

away in Chicago. He was mindful and respectful of that fact. Though I do not know what child

support arrangements my dad and mom had, I do know that Harold supported me in

countless ways over the years.

He was a generous man by nature, soft-spoken and very dignified.

I fondly recall how he and I worked to convert the basement in our house on Blackheath

Court into an English pub atmosphere. What little Yiddish I know I owe to Harold. Beyond the

few words and phrases I retained, Harold imparted to me a love for the colorful expressiveness

of the mother tongue. What he remembered from his boyhood he often recalled with genuine

glee! Always generous, he gladly and openly shared this knowledge with me.

Harold, his brother Jack, sisters Dorothy and Jane were blessed with

beautiful and wonderful parents: Morris and Eva Grossman whom I was

privileged to know as a boy, truly lovely and gracious people. I recall they were

Shomer Shabbos, Keepers of the Sabbath, but we were not.

Well, I believe it to have been a Friday night, Erev Shabbes, when Harold, my mom and I

were visiting the Grossmans at their apartment. Upon arriving, I was curious as to why all the

lights were out and we were sitting in the DARK!!!???? Now I do not know if the Grossmans had
their lights on timers or if they had forgotten to set them before sundown, but there we were,

and I just could not fathom it at the time; to this day I do not know the facts, but my guess is

that they had either forgotten to set the timers or more simply turn on their Sabbath lights ...

but a fond if not altogether befuddled memory it remains to this day! There was a short-lived

attempt by Harold to resolve the situation.

"Pa," said Harold, always the dutiful son, "you're gonna sit here in the dark?! Just lemme tu ..."

"Zol zein shtill, Herschele! 'Don' touch!" responded his father whom I recall did not pronounce

the 't' in "don't.

"But, but ... " Harold blurted out.

"But, but 'nuting'! Shah!" Mr. Grossman let forth.

"Ma!?" pled the son.
"It'll be fine tatele. Listen to your father," counseled Mrs. Grossman.

"Mom, why are we sitting in the dark?" I asked.

"Shah! Listen to Mrs. Grossman."

If only Mel Brooks had seen this ...

Harold loved to tell the story of how his mom would hang kosher salamis from the back porch to

dry them out but that he and his brother Jack would eat them well before they ever

finished 'aging' as it were. He and his brother Jack were fine men ... who provided steady and

reliable employment over many years for many men; as I said at his funeral, the world is a

lesser place without him though a better place for his having been among us!

"Zichron l'vrocha" ... May his memory be for a blessing!


Dag said...

Very nicely written. :)

I didn't realize you lived with him for 10 yrs, I thought it was much later that he entered the picture.

Nice memory.

Alan aka Avrum ben Avrum said...

Dear Dag,

Thank you for your on-going readership do. I appreciate it very much. Funny how some things happen. Here i was just about to step out on the bicycle-not really wanting to go-and you pop in. What a wonderful surprise!

Thank you!