Saturday, June 28, 2008
Apparently, I could have been an heiress as could my three sisters (photo me, from left, Cheryl and Karen taken in April. Sister Joanna not in town).
My cousins Michael and Sandi as well as Steve and Marci also could be riding along on easy street with huge bank accounts and portfolios beyond anything we could imagine.
Alas, it never happened.
Still, family treasures go far beyond any monetary or material possessions passed down through generations.
Perhaps most important are stories, those of relatives who died and your own life's tales -- ones you want your children, grandchildren and future generations to know about family members who came before them.
I am starting to gather information and make notes about anecdotes and tales about my life, my parents' lives, grandparents and whoever in the family added a bit of humor or tale worth saving for future generations.
Now about that money I could've had.
My father, Sam Eder (died in 1971), had two siblings (actually three but one died long before he was born), two sisters, my Aunt Helen (died in 1991) and my Aunt Esther. A few years before Aunt Esther died (two years ago at 96), she and I were talking about my father and her and their father, my Zada Moshe (died when I was 14) who apparently never succeeded in any business.
According to Aunt Esther, Zada had a grocery business in Detroit during the Depression years or perhaps before. Anyway, a man he knew wanted to start a soft drink company but couldn't afford the sugar needed for the pop (soda here in Chicago).
This man offered Zada stock in his future company if he could have the sugar to start production.
Zada said no.
That man who asked for sugar founded Faygo, the huge soft drink company, Aunt Esther said with a smile.
I had never heard that tale before she told me about five years ago, but oh how much fun I have now thinking about how we almost were among the phenomenally wealthy.
Those are the kinds of anecdotes my children should know and hopefully remember to tell their children. That is why I am starting to write down our family gems.
So for family members, if I ask all sorts of questions, you will know why.
Changing the subject, last night on television, there was a report about a man, who like Oskar Schindler, managed to rescue many Jews from the Nazis.
Nicholas Winton, born in 1909 and still living, was a 29-year-old stockbroker when he rescued more than 600 Czech children from the throes of death by putting them on trains and bringing them to London to live with British families. Most of these children never saw their birth families again.
Winton, now 98, has been nominated for a Nobel Prize though it is unclear if the decision has been made about that nomination.
In any case, I had never heard of him before brief television interviews, first with him and also with a woman who was one of those youngsters Winton rescued.
There is tons of material on the Internet and you might want to take a moment and read more about this incredible and silent hero whose story apparently has only recently surfaced.
Update from my nephew camp official at the now-vanished Lake Delton indicates camp life is settling down, alternate water sports venues are nearby and the summer programs will go on pretty much as usual though certainly in a dramatically changed landscape, er lakescape.
A news story today reveals cleanup workers found four guns and two bones and the empty lakebed. Cops will try and track the guns (hey, calling Lake Delton CSI) and while bones are probably not human, forensic specialists will double check.
Alas, the city of Lake Delton at the Wisconsin Dells is taking a huge financial hit.
Many people with lakeshore homes saw their investments literally washed away as the lake gushed out of its bed on toward the Wisconsin River.
Lake Delton resorts, motels and hotels now offer huge discounts to hoped-for vacationers, and while gawkers flock to the site of the empty lakebed, much of the region's attraction simply isn't there.
Plans are underway to refill the man-made lake which took shape in the 1920s, but it's not likely much will happen this year.
Again, much more on the net.
On the lighter side of summer life, so what can you do with the small fry coming to visit this summer?
Sure there's the local water park or pool, regular parks, videos at home and so on.
But that, of course, is same old, same old.
For a real family treat, take everyone to Adler Planetarium to see "Fly Me to the Moon," an animated short feature that will delight kids and have the big folk smiling and elbowing each other with chuckles. If you have any questions about Adler, it's been my fave place in the city for decades so just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The website is adlerplanetarium.org.
Have a great week.
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