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Showing posts from June, 2010

Father's Day

My father’s grandfather was named Israel Schwab. At least he was when he arrived at Ellis Island from a small town straddling the Polish-Russian border. Language problems, impatience and incompetence in processing the new immigrants conspired to give him – and me – a new name. By the time he made the brief trip to Manhattan’s west side, his papers said he was Israel Goldberg. It hardly mattered as his mostly hospitable new neighbors immediately dubbed him “Jerry the Jew”. The rest of my name comes from his son; the original David Goldberg in my family. Dave (we never called him Grandpa) was born in to a horse-and-buggy era and lived through the space shuttle. The world got small on his watch and he did his best to play a role. Leaving school at age 12, he went to work to help put food on the family table. Still a boy, he got a job with the city serving primarily as a court officer. He qualified for retirement before reaching 40 and immediately began a whole new career as hea

John Wooden

It was past midnight when the I-phone on my hotel nightstand began to vibrate. I had a text from my daughter telling me that John Wooden was hospitalized in grave condition. She is too young to have experienced Coach Wooden’s half-century heyday, but she knows me well enough to know I would want to be awakened by such news. A few minutes ago, I learned of his passing. I was lucky enough to know Coach Wooden. We weren't close -- occasional business associates. Since we first met around 1990, we saw each other no more than 10 times. But he always treated me like a friend. Invariably, he greeted me warmly, asked about my family and listened as much as he spoke. More revealing is the fact that he behaved as if we were equals though I knew we were not. Our days together were school days for me and he was my professor. I learned from listening to him, from observing him, from chatting with him and from reflecting on our time together. I learned from his textbook. I loved the quotes .