I received word yesterday that my uncle, Bernard Shuman, whom everyone called Ben, of Jerusalem Israel, passed away suddenly at the age of 85. He was the last child of my grandparents.
Here are some pictures of Uncle Ben. He is most often seen here with my Aunt Marion. These pictures come from family albums, photos emailed to me and my own shots. Hold your mouse over pictures for a little more explanation, click for enlargements.
Ben and Marion raised three children, Ellis, Debbie and Judy. Each of their children has had three children. Ben was eagerly awaiting the first wedding of a grandchild this fall. He had many reasons to be happy. His life was a good one. We should be so lucky.
He was the family chronicler, eagerly researching the many branches of our family tree. He and Marion traveled from Israel to California in 1992 to serve as my honorary parents when Leslie and I were married.
He grew up in Norfolk, Nebraska. Fought in France in WWII. Married Marion in Minnesota. They started their family in Sioux City Iowa where his Mother lived. My family too. About three decades ago Ben & Marion moved to Israel where their life was not as easy, I'm sure, but more meaningful.
You're not going to find a better role model than Ben Shuman. If I had to pick the best person from my family to leave behind a large pool of ancestors, he'd be the one.
The next snap shows newlyweds Ben and Marion with the Thanksgiving Turkey, Tallulah. For a while every Thanksgiving turkey was named Tallulah. The Tallulahs were given numbers. I'm not sure which number Tallulah is shown here.
Ben worked as a newspaperman for such diverse institutions as the Sioux City Journal and the Jerusalem Post. Lately he took to the Internet quite well. At the end of this post I'm including the last email I received from Uncle Ben - just 2 days ago! It's a forwarded meditation on the word "up". The subtext (which I can read quite clearly) says "Haven't heard from you in a while, David, what's UP?".
The Internet has made the world so much smaller. But when something like this happens, the true meaning of "half a world away" hits home so strongly. Leslie and I will miss my Uncle and our thoughts are with Marion and all the members of their family.
The 3 photographers above are Ben and two of his children Ellis and Debbie. Aunt Marion and an unidentified brass founder of our country are peeping out from behind. This trip in 2004 was the last time I saw him.
Below they talk to an actor at Constitution Hall, still bundled up against the January weather. Below that is a picture of Uncle Ben wearing a tri-cornered hat himself (for a part in a play.)
The Meaning of UP (the last email I received from my Uncle Ben)
Lovers of the English language might enjoy this . . .
There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is "UP."
It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.
And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time isUP, so............ Time to shut UP.....!
Oh..one more thing:
What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night? U-P