My father's father was fifty-one when I was born and was in the hospital with a heart attack. It was serious enough that my parents thought I might be named for him and he had already been given the additional name "Chaim." As it turned out, he lived another nine years and died of something else, on the ninth day of First Adar 5717, fifty-five years ago.
My grandfather was born in Zalosce, in east Galicia. He was named for his mother's uncle Mendel Kwoczka who had died seven months earlier. When he was six, his father and second brother went to America, following the eldest brother and the first two sisters who had gone earlier. The next year, his mother took the three youngest on a ship from Liverpool to Montreal and from there to join the others in Pittsburgh via St. Albans Vermont.
All those years, he was an active member of the Poale Zedeck synagogue, serving a number of years as vice-president of the men's club, while my grandmother was president of the sisterhood.
|I have a replica of this gene|
My grandparents lived in Squirrel Hill - first on Phillips Avenue and later on Northumberland Street, across from the police and fire stations, not two blocks from our house. So we saw them often, but I cannot say that I had much of a one-on-one relationship with him. My loss. I'd like to think that I talk to my own grandchildren more than my grandfather spoke to me. But I always sat on his right at the seder table. And he was the one who noticed that my toes pointed out when I walked.
I learned how to keep a scorecard that day.
And I learned the word "generations."
Four Other Ancestors
Simon (Shimshon ben Shelomo?) Rosenzweig, born Rajec Slovakia 1787-1790, died Puchov Slovakia 3/4 Adar 5620, 26 February 1860. He was my father's mother's father's father's father.
Golde Buchalter died in Obertyn east Galicia 2 Second Adar (11 March 1881) at age sixty. She was my wife's father's mother's paternal grandmother.
Betsy (Beile Gittel bat Moshe Aharon) Diamond, died in London, 8 Adar 5697 (19 February 1937) at age ninety-three. She was my wife's father's mother's maternal grandmother.
Binyamin Yitzhak ben Mordecai Aharon Mostek (aka Lindenberg), born 1866 probably in Prznasnyz Poland, died 24 First Adar 5708 (5 March 1948) in New York. He was my wife's mother's maternal grandfather.