"Even though many of our loved ones have passed away, in many different ways, in subtle and not so subtle ways, they had a profound impact on our lives. Many of us continue to talk about them, about their lives and the relationship we had with them. By engaging in this story telling, we show the love we still have for them, at the same time keeping their memory alive. It is both my legacy and theirs. It shows the world that their lives were so very important, not only to us, but to others who had come into their lives, and that they made an important contribution to the world. By striving to tell their story in this way, we honor their memory."
WHAT WILL YOUR LEGACY BE? > Steven Lasky > PARENTS > PEARL AND LEO LASKY
Here (Click on the earphones icon below to hear the short, four-minute clip.) To come!
As someone who never married, I can only try to imagine what it was like raising and supporting a family, in the days of my youth and before. What it was like to be the head of a family with two children and a single breadwinner of the lower middle-class? It must have been all-consuming for my father, while my mother was able to stay at home in order to raise their two young children, take care of their first and only home and be a supportive wife. But my parents were all that. They carved out a home for themselves and their children and were proud homeowners.
My father used to like to spend some of his days off trimming the hedges in the front of the yard, or otherwise tinkering, working proudly to improve the quality of our home. Mom was a wonderful mother, always showering us to children with love, with good meals, and with the dedication that one could only hope for in a mother. Now, no family is perfect, and I needn't muddy the waters here, but overall when I look back at my childhood, my younger years and then later on, I am grateful that these two were my parents. I'm told they met when Mom was roller skating with friends on Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn, and Dad pulled up in a car with some friends, etc., etc. I don't think I heard the whole story!
still have many of the letters that my father wrote to my mother while
he was stationed with the army during World War II in Rhode Island.
These correspondences provide insight into who my parents were before I
knew them, which begs me to say as I often do that we don't often really
know who are parents are or were. We know them as parents, not as
teenagers, as very young people, as a recently married couple, in our
childhood years. We can, however, take the
time and make the effort to honor them and express our love for them, as
I am doing here ... Now for some history about my father et al.
Dad worked six days a week by necessity. When he had his own store in Jamaica, Queens, New York --until 1965 -- we often planned on paying a visit to my maternal grandparents in the East New York section of Brooklyn and staying the weekend. My mother, sister and I would often go with my father to his store in the morning and stay with him in the store for a while. My mother would occasionally help out with customers; my sister and I would amuse ourselves by watching our parents in action.
The neighborhood where my father's store was located was a poor one and predominantly Portuguese. I can still remember the smells of his store, from the coffee in the cups that sat on the glass display counters, to the smell of cloth and other clothing that sat on the wooden shelves, the cardboard boxes, all the work clothes and fancy men's hats that were ready to be bought.
I can remember the many times my father's customers would not have enough money to pay him for what they needed, so they would pay on informal installment plans. This seemed to happen more often than not. My father would write down the amount owed by each person with a red or black wax pencil on the wall by the cash register. Every time they paid some money, he'd cross out the old amount and write on the wall what was left to be paid. My father, may G-d rest his soul, was a wonderful salesman. He had always wanted to be a lawyer, but his mother didn't believe in education, so she set him up with a clothing store once he got out of the Service and got married, and that was that.
It was always said about my father that, even during his later years, after he had to close his store and look for employment elsewhere, if a customer came into the store solely to buy a shirt, he would sell him a sport jacket, a tie and two pair of pants to go with it. As I worked with him during vacations and summers during my many years of college, I can attest to this. He certainly took a great deal of pride in his work.
I remember the times when my mother, sister and myself had already arrived at our grandparents' apartment in Brooklyn, and my father would come to be with us after his day of work. He'd stay overnight with us and we'd leave for home the next day. He would usually join us for dinner, and afterwards he'd sit down and talk to my grandfather. Both my grandparents liked him very much.
When we were then at my father's store and it was time for my mother, sister and I to leave my father's store for Brooklyn, we'd begin our trek down to Jamaica Avenue in order to catch the subway to my grandparent's place. We'd often stop right by the overhead El at the Concord Cafeteria on the corner of Jamaica and New York Avenue for a bite to eat.
Mom, what can I say about this wonderful person? They say that men are closest to their mothers than their fathers, and I suppose that in this case it's true, although I loved my father too. I suppose that this is inevitable because a child spends more time with their mother, as their father is working most days and is not home as many hours.
I am proud to say that Mom, to my best recollection, never did anything that would cause me to lose respect for her, nor can I ever remember her ever telling a lie. She was a loving mother to both my sister and me. She was a good cook and took pride in motherhood and kept a proper home. I suppose part of this dedication was due to her own upbringing by her own devoted parents ...