JWG (jwg) wrote,

In memory of my father

On this day, July 22, 1962, my father died from a massive heart attack. He was out playing bridge at the time and I am told (if I recall correctly) he had just made 6 diamonds redoubled. He was a serious bridge player - the team he was on won the Vanderbilt cup in 1939, and he made some of his living during the depression with bridge winnings. None of my pictures are here or I'd scan and post one; nor do I have here his "obituary" which was a NY TImes bridge column.

That night I'd been out at Wonderland, the dog track in Revere, and when I got back my roommate said my mother had called and told him. After recovering from shock, I called her and said I'd be there the next morning since it was too late to drive down then. She said some good friends were coming to help out and would be there early in the morning and she was OK. Overall she took the circumstances very well acknowledging that she'd been sort-of prepared for this (as if anyone ever is) because of the prognosis from the after-effects of a prior heart attack 5 years before. And she took a general attitude of not feeling sorry for herself but being thankful for the 25 years of life they'd had together.

One of my memories of a dialogue with him was when we were discussing colleges to apply to and he blurted out - oh, you're going to MIT. He was quite correct as he usually was. When I was younger he'd often say, playfully, "when I was your age I was ...." I think essentially to show that whatever I was grousing about was doable as opposed to rubbing in his success. He was very smart but really quite humble

He was a "business man". He graduated from Columbia and worked for a bank until they fired many employees, especially the jewish ones, at the beginning of the depression. He eventually went into the food exporting business and ran a good sized company (Seaboard Fruit Company) that exported fruits and vegetables to west indies and south american countries. He took many trips there, occasionally taking my mother. He spoke and wrote Spanish quite well - his typewriter at home had an ñ on it. My first "job" was working for him when I was about 8 at Christmas time making labels for gifts that were being sent out to customers. After his business failed he was a financial advisor to several companies before he retired.

He went to Townsend Harris, a prestigious public school in NYC which closed but some alumni were instrumental in causing to be refounded many years later. As a Columbia alum he had seasons tickets to football games at Baker field (seats close to 50 yard line) and I went to quite a few games with him. He was a New York Giants fan and I went with him several times to the Polo Grounds and Ebbets field to see games. (I was a shudder Yankees shudder fan in those days).

His eyes were green, he used green ink in his Parker 51, and had a green ribbon on his typewriter.

Next time I get a chance I'm going to scan some of those pictures.
Tags: family, personal

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