One of the first stories my Mom told me was about her brother Joe and how much he loved his Mother and Father and his sisters. He would do anything for them. They all grew up on Ulster Street in Toronto.
My Mom said growing up my Uncle Joe was very close with his first cousin Sammy Luftspring, a tremendous professional boxer. Uncle Joe went with Sammy to the majority of his fights and they were buddies. Uncle Joe was devastated when Sammy’s autobiography came out ‘’Call Me Sammy’’ and he wasn’t mentioned anywhere. He would express his hurt everytime the subject came up. Sammy blamed the Editors of the book, but Uncle Joe didn’t buy it.
Uncle Joe called me on a weekly basis when I was in University just to see how I was doing. I was usually busy but I appreciated the calls. It meant he was out there and caring about how life was treating me.
The only issue I ever had with Uncle Joe was when he’d call before an exam. He would wish me tremendous luck and then I’d do lousy. When he didn’t call I’d do great. Who could figure out the reasons, but I knew his intentions were honourable.
Uncle Joe was married to Aunty Bertha and they had three children Solly, Penny, and Risa. I really liked my cousins even though I didn’t see them very often. Aunty Bertha had a strong personality and a great heart.
Solly was older and was a very nice guy. We called him the ‘’Tut’’ because he was interested in Egyptian history. I always enjoyed seeing him and spending time when the opportunity presented itself. Penny married a Doctor, and had two kids, and moved away from Toronto. She always got along very well with my parents and my brother, sister and myself. Risa had three children and I really liked her. Unfortunately, life was not easy for her as he husband died leaving her a widower.
When my Uncle Joe died there was controversy because Solly, Penny and Risa blocked my Mom and her Sisters from sitting in the front row with them at the funeral. It was weird. They also didn’t invite Uncle Joe’s sisters to sit with them at the Shiva. It was a mess.
The controversy stemmed from Penny not getting along with my Aunt Sylvia, one of the sisters. There was Aunt Anne, Aunt Sylvia and my Mom so they sat Shiva together at a different…