S: 50th Anniversary Essay Book
FC: 50 Years of Memories An Essay Book in Honor of Bernard and Ellen's 50th Anniversary
1: June 18, 2011
3: Part 1: The Young Children Lisa Young Rourke Douglas Young Gregory Young Margo Young Part 2: The Freiburgers Paula Freiburger Betsey Freiburger Keene Part 3: The Rourke Children Douglas Rourke Emily Rourke Caroline Rourke Part 4: The Fantastic 4 Ayana Young Owen Young Claudia Young William Young Part 5: The Cohen Family Marty and Nancy Cohen Ed Cohen George Young Jon Cohen Part 6: The Schneibergs Wilma and Harold Schneiberg | Table of Contents
5: Part 1: The Young Children
6: By Lisa Young Rourke Maybe it was a sign of the times—parents generally weren’t as involved in the day-to-day lives of their children as they are today—or maybe it stemmed from our innate desire to outdo each other. Whatever the case, as children we loved playing games together. From the tried and true like Sorry, Parcheesi, Battleship, Trouble and Twister to the more newfangled games such as Othello and Voice of the Mummy (we were enchanted by its voice-activated box and the smattering of rubies strewn across the board), games played a key role in our childhood. I would like to think we displayed good sportsmanship in our youth, but I have all too many memories of upending the Othello board when it became obvious Douglas was creaming me and of various other siblings roaring off in a snit after yet another crushing defeat. Not surprisingly, competition and a sometimes failure to display good sportsmanship surfaced early on in my children. Having grown up playing games, I introduced them to all the old favorites as well as to some newer, tackier delights such as Pretty Pretty Princess. But no matter their ages, I never let them win. How pathetic is it to stand firm when, in a fierce game of Candyland, your three year old gets sent back to candy hearts at the beginning of the board while you gleefully sail along to ice cream floats at the end and snatch victory from her tiny hands? Still, the kids knew their wins were legitimate—there was no chance Tiger Mom would throw the game. And, I have to believe that that which didn’t kill them (or, at the least, dispirit them), made them stronger. It’s all about building character, right? As the kids got older, our games progressed to our current favorites: Rummikub, Boggle, and Bananagrams. We first played Banagrams, a game in which players race against each other to get rid of their tiles (each tile has a letter, similar to Scrabble) by rearranging their board with different words, while on a Caribbean cruise. Margo, John | Game Theory
7: and Gregory joined in—with so many players the game went fast and furiously, which apparently stressed Gregory out. After his first suspicious “win” he confessed to cheating and, when asked for a defense, retorted, “Doesn't everyone cheat?” Well, no, we don't—we take pride in honest wins! In addition to honing our competitive edge, games are good for laughs. Boggle, a game in which you find words from a 4x4 array of letters, often yields words known only to an individual player. For example, during a spirited game at Lake Winnipisaukee, Douglas’ girlfriend, Tori, asserted the legitimacy of the word “wode” to which Douglas quipped, “Oh, you mean like ‘He wode his bike?’” Taboo, a game in which you get your partner to guess a particular word, has also afforded a lot of laughs. During one round, Douglas tried to convey the word “Uranus” to his partner. When “a planet with a silly name” failed to procure the desired results, he tried a new tack: “It’s another word for ‘butthole.’” While Mom and Dad don't generally partake in our game merriment, we all love Jeopardy. Everyone screams out the answer and argues vociferously about who got it first. To our great delight, Emily made it to the second round of the Jeopardy College tournament. While she cheated in the first round a la Gregory (the Tufts newspaper staff assisted with questions during an online test), we were very excited to accompany her to the next tryout in New York. However, not all family members are created equal when it comes to Jeopardy—some are infinitely more competent than others. Still, those others often excel in different areas. For example, although Dad generally stinks at Jeopardy (he occasionally surprises us), he rules the roost at cards. The two card games we love best are Gin and Hearts. Needless to say, he regularly crushes us at both and stuns and humiliates the group when, during a tense game of Hearts, he shoots the moon right under our sophisticated noses. Finally, most of our extended family loves crossword puzzles, a relatively new addition. It has become a tradition to do crosswords in airports across the world or, more generally, anytime and anywhere we travel. You will often find a group of us hunkered down at Rehoboth, poring over the Sunday New York Times crossword, and Emily and I regularly complete them every morning. We tend to fall apart with the Thursday, Friday and Saturday Times crosswords but can often answer many clues for the puzzles falling earlier in the week. What is it about games that proves so alluring? For one, games offer a common language among individuals who may not know each other well. Shortly after Caroline met Betsey, the two played Gin. Betsey, a gifted player, was befuddled by Caroline, a then-inept player, because Caroline's discards made no sense. Betsey initially attributed Caroline's play to some higher strategy before realizing she had given Caroline way too much credit. But give games credit—they're an old-fashioned way to bring people with diverse interests together. As a family, we may never agree about which television show to watch or which movie to see, but we are guaranteed to come together to play any number of the myriad games that, inevitably, get the old competitive juices flowing. Id like to believe that, as the old adage goes, the family that plays together stays together.
8: By Douglas Young I can’t help but start this essay by noting that I’m writing while surfing the Web on a wi-fi connection from a Starbucks in Shanghai, most of which didn’t even exist during the lifetimes of the people I’m writing about. In fact, Grandma Louise, the last of the major figures in my life from that generation, had never owned a computer when she died in 1998, and I doubt she had ever heard of the Internet. I’m also doing some work on my blog – another concept that didn’t even exist in any of their lifetimes but has become all the rage in the last few years. Such is life. I can’t even begin to imagine what people two generations below ours will be writing about when they finally come along, although based on the above I’m sure it will contain all kinds of concepts and vocabulary that don’t even exist now. And so on that note, on to the main topic. GRANDMA LOUISE Without a doubt, Grandma Louise Simons (originally Louise Meyer, then Louise Young, and almost Louise Lowenstein) was the biggest presence in my life from the generation above our parents. Testifying to this is the fact that I still remember both of her phone numbers, 338-9255 when she lived in a big house on W Street and later 686-0678 later when she moved to an apartment at the Towers after her second husband, Bill Simons, died around 1976. There are way too many things to write about Grandma Louise to put them all here, so I’ll just recount some of the highlights. | Memories of the Grandma Generation
9: Chief among those were the weekly trips when we were very young to their big gray house on W Street, where we and the Cohens would gather for lunch, usually self-made cold-cut sandwiches, followed by swims in their backyard pool during the summer. The other big occasion for travel to the W Street house was for annual Passover dinners, presided over by Grandpa Bill. The highlight of those nights was always looking for the matzah after dinner (the afficoman) and then getting silver dollars from Grandpa Bill at the end of the evening, one for every year in our age. I don’t remember much from when Grandpa Bill died, except that it happened suddenly, I think from a heart attack. I remember we’d seen a production of the musical “Hello Dolly” the afternoon we heard the news, and that I was probably too young – about 12 at the time – to really understand what had happened. But I think Gregory and | Continued on next page.... | maybe Margo were more affected by this news, as I later came to realize that he was probably most partial to the two youngest members of our clan than he was to me and Lisa and the Cohen boys, who were all around the same age. After Grandpa Bill’s death, Grandma Louise entered the second phase of her life during our lifetimes, moving out of their huge, 3-story home into a much smaller apartment at the Towers apartment complex. I don’t have too many memories of that apartment, other than the occasional trips there to act as “serving boy” (usually with either Gregory or one of the Cohens) at her occasional dinner parties. Other memories from that period included her romantic engagement with David Lowenstein Sr, whom she affectionately called “a friend” whenever they went away on vacations together. That relationship ended rather sadly when he also died of a sudden heart attack after one of their trips. Then there was also her best friend, Roanie King, who was best known for her regular attendance at our annual Thanksgiving dinners on Pyle Road, where she always supplied her famous purple jello mould with cream cheese balls and sour cream dressing. Of course, anyone who attended those dinners would remember how we children always struggled to keep a straight face whenever Roanie affectionately called Grandma Louise “Lou”, which for some reason we found extremely hilarious and ended up using as a nickname for Lisa. It didn’t take much to set us off in those days. | Louise Meyer Young
10: The end for Grandma Louise was slow and rather sad, as she seemed to lose her faculties during the last 3 or 4 years of her life and required round-the-clock live-ins towards the end. I remember that by the time she finally died, it was 1998 and I was living in L.A. working at City News. I came back to Washington for the funeral, which seemed a little surreal since the rabbi who gave the eulogy didn’t even really know her and, besides, the Grandma Louise that I had known and loved for all those years had essentially died a few years earlier. It was a very quiet end for a woman who certainly did a lot during her life and was a big part of mine. | DOLL After Grandma Louise, the person from the grandparents-and-above generation who left the biggest impression on me was our great grandmother Pauline Blumenfeld, Mom’s maternal grandmother, whom we called Doll. The story behind her name is pretty simple: Pauline, who harkened from the south, loved to call people “Darling,” or so we were told. Mom liked to mimic this word when she was very young, but the word “Darling” was too much for her so she ended up calling her grandmother “Doll”, and the name stuck. Doll lived in a modest brown-colored apartment building on Connecticut Avenue. If you asked me what it looked like inside, I wouldn’t have the first idea as I don’t recall going into it too often. Probably the only “memory” I have of that building is that Lisa became stuck in one of the elevators once, in a traumatic experience that would later live on in Young family lore for a while. My only real memory of Doll from our young childhood was that she saved up her pennies and would give them to us kids to divide equally whenever we saw her. This was one of the high points of our visits, which probably shows how materialistic we were as young children. | In her later years, Grandma Louise became known for taking the grandkids out for lunches, usually to Hoolihans, the Hamburger Hamlet, or later Two Jays. At the Hamlet, she was famous for always telling the waiters to leave off the whipped cream on our hot fudge ice cream cake – a tactic she believed would result in them giving us more hot fudge since they wouldn’t be able to hide their usual stinginess under a fluffy bed of whipped cream. Then, of course, there were her famous lines, including “Dougie/Greggie, don’t be naive”, or “Dougie, for a Yale boy that was the dumbest thing I ever heard”, or just a plain “That was the stupidest thing I ever heard”. And then there was “Don’t be a Casper Milquetoast”, which she once uttered to Dad when he wasn’t being assertive enough, a reference to a doormat comic character that none of us had ever heard of before then. I don’t even remember what we (usually me, Gregory or dad) said to elicit such remarks, but the remarks themselves were always the most memorable. | Pauline Blumenfeld
11: Most of my more concrete memories of Doll come from our later years, after we moved from Washington out to Bethesda and Doll, who was becoming infirm in her old age, was finally convinced to move into a nursing home. I still remember the nursing home’s name, Collingswood, as Gregory and I gave it the tag line: “A Beautiful Place to Spend Your Dying Hours,” which was a poke at the moronic tag-line that Dad used for the second office complex he built, Maclean Professional Park, which was billed as “A Beautiful Place to Spend Your Working Hours” in his advertisements. My memories of Doll at Collingswood were mostly from the occasional trips that Gregory and I would make with Mom to go visit. During those trips, Doll would mostly kvetch to mom, while Gregory and I would “borrow” her wheelchair and go out and race around with it in the corridor. The only specific kvetch I remember, probably because I had to ask mom what it meant, was her complaint once that one of her nurses was a “schwatza”. Gregory and I later found out that was the Yiddish for a black person. Doll’s death also came suddenly, I can’t even remember from what, though it forced mom, dad and her son, Uncle Larry (mom’s uncle) to all cut short winter vacations in the tropics and come rushing home to attend to things. I don’t even remember the funeral, though I do remember Larry – whom I’ll describe below – as being quite upset and mom also being agitated in general. It was a bit sad, but again it did seem like in the end she lived a full and interesting life, dying at the age of 92 or 93. | GRANDPA LEO AND UNCLE LARRY I’ll close the essay with some quick memories of two other relatives from that generation who figured in my life growing up, though in a more marginal way. The hazier of those was Mom’s father, Leo Freiburger. I have a few memories of him from my very early childhood, as he and Mom grew estranged when I was still quite young due to a stormy relationship with his second wife, Betsey. My main memories of Grandpa Leo, also known as Bud, were that he was a very tall man, around 6 foot 4, and that he was warm and gentle but also quite soft-spoken. Later in life, based on what others said, I got the sense he was the kind of husband who ended up with very strong-willed women and ended up being a bit hen-pecked as a result. | The other thing I remember from those years was their home in a woodsy area of D.C. down by Rock Creek, which had a big swimming pool in its back yard where we swam on our occasional visits. He was a manager at the local Wonder Bread and Hostess Cupcake factory, so one of my other memories was that he took us grandkids there once or twice for a tour. I was in awe of the loaves of fresh Wonderbread as they slid down a shoot, and then went into a machine that cut them into slices before they slid into their trademark yellow bags with the red and blue polka dots. | Continued on next page... | Leo "Bud" Freiburger
12: From the time I was 5 or 6, Grandpa Leo pretty much disappeared from our lives when he moved his family to Florida. We would hear about him occasionally through friends of Grandma Louise, and even saw him once many years later when he came to our Bethesda house for a visit after he and mom had partly reconciled in the 1980s. But we never really saw much of him, and it was only a few months after the fact that I heard in the 1980s or 90s that he had died of cancer. | Later in life, when we both lived in Bethesda, we would go over to their house for dinner from time to time, especially after he started taking Chinese cooking lessons. I remember quite distinctly the end for Uncle Larry, as he was diagnosed with cancer of the digestive tract as I was finishing up my junior year in college. I spent a couple of afternoons with him when the end was near, and remember going in to see his Washington print shop, Plymouth Printing, for the first time then and also being sad at how thin he became at the end. In my memory, he will always be the big guy with the beard telling everyone his opinions on everything from local politics to the Redskins. | Last but not least, there was Uncle Larry, mom’s maternal uncle, who was married to Aunt Sophie, a Lithuanian refugee in World War II Europe who ended up with her family in the United States and was working as a psychologist in Baltimore when she met and later married Larry. Uncle Larry was a big man, both in girth and height, who owned a print shop, smoked cigars, and loved to speak his mind as much as he loved the Washington Redskins. In fact, those four elements (print shop, cigars, outspokenness and the Redskins) are the things I remember most about him, along with their dog, a boxer named Bullet. Uncle Larry had been a Redskins season ticket holder for many years, long before they were popular and all their games were sold out. As a result, a highlight of our years in junior high and high school was always the one time a year when he gave us his tickets to go and see a game. | Larry Blumenfeld
13: Family Trees and the Trunks That Support Them | By Gregory Young The trunk of the tree constitutes the majority of its mass. Branches emanate and increase surface area. In the familial sense, the trunk is comprised of the parents and grandparents and it is about them I will recount vivid memories The first two components of the trunk are mother and father; mom and dad; Ellen and Bernard. My first story involved mom and me and a salty discharge from the eyes. Our family is emotionally stoic. On the surface, we keep the highs low and the lows high. This even keel approach helps to mute potentially explosive situations and softens the depth of the blues. Mom In my seventh grade year, our emotions overcame our stoicism. Heidi, our octogenarian boxer, was suffering a slow death. Father time was ready to deliver Nurse Vicky Heidi of Waterloo from us. She had been through a rough night and dad was going to take her to the vet to be euthanized. It was winter and I was wearing one of those ridiculous Mighty Mac type jackets and my backpack. I stood in the laundry room, preparing to leave for Thomas W Pyle Junior High. Somehow, the thought that I could see Heidi in front of my eyes, but knew that when I returned from school that day, she’d be gone, was too much for me to bear. I cried the | continued on next page...
14: and the cries turned into sobs. Mom must have heard me and came into the laundry room to see my cracked fortress. This must have triggered a tremor within her and she began to cry. She asked me to stop, as she had been up all night crying and could not bear any more. We both stood in the laundry room and cried together. Dad Prior to our migration to the suburbs, we occupied a house at 5901 Nebraska Ave in the neo-suburb of the Northwest quadrant of our nation’s capital. In that house was a room that was affectionately termed a “one-room apartment”. This was the master bedroom and it contained the house’s only color TV set as well as a large bed. There was another furniture set in this room that I associate with the part of our family tree trunk known as dad. The set to which I refer consisted of a chair and an ottoman. Before I explain this association, I should point out that domestic education was largely a maternal responsibility in our household. If you were to believe dad, you would think that we were Skinerrian rats who, via his behavior modification regimen, were trained to be model citizens through the ingenuity of his mini/maxi black mark scheme. In reality however, it was mom with whom we spent most of our time, thus giving her the responsibility for morally molding us on a daily basis. For me though, the chair and ottoman represented the place of communion for dad and I to engage in serious discourse (can discourse be one-way?), for it was here that important matters of the day were discussed. One conversation concerned an incident that happened on a Cub Scout trip. The incident occurred on the ride home from a daylong Cub Scout excursion. I must have been 8 or 9 years old and was with my den mates in the back of a Chevy Van. There was also a younger sister of one of the scouts in the van with us. Things must have gotten a bit Caligulan, as I exposed my Johnson. I believe that several of my mates did so as well, but I was the instigator. Anyway, I thought nothing more of it, as nobody said anything to me until I was summoned to the chair. I believe that dad was somewhat conflicted, as he couldn’t understand why no one said anything to me in the van and that while what I did was certainly inappropriate, it did not rise to the level of kicking me out of the scouts, which was a prospect that was mentioned by the parent who reported the incident to him. Regardless, it was a gentle conversation and I have not exposed myself since. The story has a happy ending, as I stuck with the scouts and earned the prestigious Arrow of Light. Grandma Louise Moving up the trunk, we arrive at my paternal grandmother, Louise Meyer/Young/Simons. If I were to play word association and the shrink said the word “Grandma”, my immediate response would be “Sundays”, for that is the day with which she will always be associated.
15: Starting as youngsters, almost every Sunday would entail a trip to the house on W Place. If the satellite photo on Google maps is accurate, the house still stands, although it looks as though the pool may have been removed: These gatherings were usually mini-family reunions, with the Youngs and Cohens connecting and exploring the huge house and surrounding neighborhood. Sundays at Grandma’s house evolved into Sundays out with Grandma. The attendees were the same, but the venues were variable. Among the more frequented locales were the Junior Hot Shoppe and the Waffle House. As we all got a little older, the parents seemed to dissolve from the Sunday scene. If I remember correctly, Grandpa Bill would drive with Grandma riding shotgun and the grandkids in the back. Thinking back, Lisa and Ed must have opted out of these excursions, because I can’t imagine how 7 kids could have fit in the back seat of that big green boat he drove. Regardless, with the passing of Grandpa Bill, a new participant was introduced into the scene. His name was George and he was hired to be our Sunday driver. He may not have lasted too long, as he was afflicted with some kind of palsy that made his hands shake. He may have been relieved of his duties. The Sunday tradition went on hiatus for me with college and Japan. When I returned to DC though, Grandma and Sundays were patiently awaiting my arrival. With Mae-shan on the scene, she joined the group. As Grandma was getting on in years, her nurse, Mary was also often with us, as well as various other help at various times. The typical lineup would include Grandma, Mary, Jonny, Margo & John and Mae-shan & me. There were several restaurants we would frequent for Sunday lunch, but definitely the most popular was Krupins, a Jewish delicatessen in Tenleytown. Even when Grandma was losing her faculties, she would occasionally request an excursion to Krupins, which said to me that Sundays with her grandchildren were as special for her as they were for me. | Continued on next page...
16: Grandpa Bill Grandpa Bill was a bit more of an abstraction for me. I mostly associate him with the house on W Place and a Russian hat he would wear when we go out in winter. He also became a hero every year at Passover Seders, when he would distribute Dwight Eisenhower Silver dollars commensurate with the age of the recipient. Leo Freiburger Last on the tree comes Mom’s father, Leo. Before he moved to Florida, we would occasionally visit his house, which may have been near Rock Creek, to visit with his children and swim in his pool. They moved when I was very young, and after that I did not see him until my junior year in college. He and his wife Betsy came up to DC to attend a funeral. It was January and I was home for the month. At the time, my alma mater, Macalester College was on a 4-1-4 calendar. The “1” was a January term in which students could do a variety of projects. This particular year, I stayed home and wrote a research paper on Georgetown as a recreational landscape. As I was home and Leo was in town, he and his wife came over to 7100 for lunch. I joined them and the whole thing was a bit surreal for me. I must say that it was a bit difficult for me to be in the moment, as the backstories and subtext led to a cranial overload. So, there you have it. The trunk is not perfect, but it is what it is, and perfection is just an abstraction anyway, right? As a metaphorical branch of the trunk, I am grateful for the stability with which it has provided me and the foundation it created.
17: By Margo Young One day a few years ago, the four of us—John, Claudia, William and I—were hiking. The kids were getting bored and we still had a ways to go, so in a desperate effort to stop their kvetching, I thought, “Why not entertain them with some memorable stories from when I was their age?” So I reached into the recesses of my brain and came up with a few. They loved it and still ask to hear them again and again. I figure, if they like them so much maybe other people will too. If Mom Were McDonalds*, I Would Have Sued I was 4 years old, sitting on mom’s lap at the dinner table, on the occasion of dad’s birthday. This was at the house on Nebraska Ave. I was too shy to sing and when continually coaxed to chime in, could I just smile shyly and shake my head, “no”? Unfortunately not—rather, my reaction was to respond violently with a lot of flailing. One of my kicks connected with mom’s scalding hot cup of coffee. My left leg took a direct hit and my tantrum screaming turned into the pain-of-coffee-burning-off-several-layers-of-skin screaming (ok, I confess I don’t really remember that detail but feel it is a safe assumption). Yet I remember one very lucid thought: “Why is there spaghetti on my leg? We didn’t have spaghetti for dinner.” Of course it was my skin hanging there in strips but luckily I didn’t know that. Dad got a stick of butter and rubbed it on my seared flesh (“now why is he buttering my leg??”), and finally realizing the situation was beyond his medical capacity, drove us to the hospital, me sitting in mom’s lap in the front seat. After that I don’t remember much—a doctor snipped off the dead skin with a pair of scissors, and lots of bandages then and in the weeks that followed, along with long bath soaks. *For those too young to remember, this is a reference to an incident in 1994 when a jury awarded $2.86 million to a woman who was scalded when a cup of McDonald’s coffee spilled on her lap. | Childhood Memories | Continued on next page...
18: Super Girl: She Can Run through a Glass Door I was in the kitchen. I can’t remember how old I was, but it was at Nebraska Ave. so I can say with certainty younger than 8. The door in the kitchen that led to our backyard was in a “transition” stage: It was later summer, and someone (dad probably) had taken out the screen but not yet put the glass pane in its place. I was short enough to be able to walk through the hole in the door. I took advantage of this during the transition period, usually a couple of days to a week; why waste all that effort opening the door when I could walk right through it? Sohaving just walked home from school, I walked into the kitchen and spotted Cindy at the other side of the door, waiting eagerly outside, her tail wagging furiously. I belted out an enthusiastic “Cindy!!” and burst full speed through what I assumed would be empty space. But it wasn’t. Dad must have just replaced the glass, and through it I went. I cried of course probably more out of shock than being hurt. I can’t remember what Cindy did, probably kept wagging her tail. Virginia was the only one home so she calmed me down. But no need for medical intervention this time. If I remember right, I didn’t have a single cut! Red Rover: Banned for Good Reason Red Rover used to be a popular outdoor kids game, kind of like “Mother May I,” tag, Red Light Green Light, etc. This is how it works: however many kids are playing divide into two equal groups. Each group forms a line holding hands, and the two lines face each other, standing about 20 yards apart. One team calls, “Red Rover Red Rover send [kid’s name] right over.” At this, the kid who is called tries to identify the weakest link of hand-holders, and sprints toward that link in an effort to break through. Success means you pick someone from the opposite team to join yours. Not breaking through means you join the other team. So one day during recess at Lafayette, when I was in first grade, I was playing this game and was called over. Bound and determined to succeed, I ran like the wind to the weakest link. I guess I was so powerful I freaked them out, because instead of trying to resist my indomitable strength, they simply dropped hands. You can imagine, instead of the fierce resistance I was expecting, there was nothing but air. Splat! It was like sledding, minus the small details that there was no sled and no snow. Strawberries were everywhere from my long skid across the blacktop: my arms, legs and stomach were totally scraped up. I wanted to show how brave I was by not crying, as everyone hovered around me to see if I was OK. But then it was forgotten when I insisted I was fine and we headed back to the classroom. It then dawned on me that I was foolish to pass up all that attention that I certainly earned. The pain had subsided, but I mustered up a few tears, generating lots of sympathy and even a special visit to the principal. Someone had to take me though—my first inkling (in hindsight, anyway) that I have no sense of direction! It Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time An occasional family outing, back when we lived on Nebraska Ave., was to hop on our bikes to the Rock Creek park trail. I was too young for a bike and rode in a seat on the back of mom’s bike. One time I had a bright idea. I knew that I enjoyed running my
19: fingers along a wrought iron fence when walking, my arm trailing behind me as they bumped unevenly, “b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b” along the metal. So how cool would it be to try this out with my heel while riding on the back of mom’s bike! My heel could gently bump along the spokes as mom rode. Need I say I quickly learned the harsh lesson that this just did not translate well? I was wearing little white socks that came up just past my ankle bone. The ill-fated heel sock was quickly dyed crimson andyou guessed it, I was wailing. In addition to the banning of Red Rover, I am pretty sure that style of bike seat is long gone. What’s That Buzzing in My Brain? I don’t remember noticing a gnat crawling down into my ear. The first thing I do remember is a buzzing sound. Not in my ear though. It sounded like it was in my brain. If you think an insect’s buzzing sound is annoying, it is like downright melodious compared to having that same insect burrowed deep in your ear canal. It would sit still and then (I suppose) attempt to move about somehow in there, setting off the gnat buzzing sound which made me completely frantic as the buzzing was magnified and inexorably trapped inside my skull. Mom guessed what was going on and tried to fish it out with a Q-tip. Nice try but all she got was bits of blood on the cotton. Off we went tothe hospital, or some kind of medical facility, me smacking the side of my head in frustration upon each new buzz. A kindly doctor pulled out something that looked like a bicycle pump and a small tray. I felt a whoosh of water go deep into my ear canal, watched as it flowed back out a tube into the pan, and voila! There was my speck-sized tormentor, floating around, quite dead. Silence is golden! In Spite of It All, I Lived to Tell the Tales Is there possibly a theme emerging here? Other than the fact that Claudia and William derive great delight in hearing about my childhood misfortunes? Perhaps it is that in spite of the underdeveloped judgment capacity of children in general, kids can have fun, do stupid things and for the most part not end up maiming or killing themselves. Things are a lot different today, I realized as I thought back to these anecdotes: coffee machine manufacturers would probably be sued into oblivion today if their coffee could heat to a skin-scalding temperature; we violated god-knows how many of today’s safety regulations in the aftermath of the spill (butter on a burn! Me sitting on mom’s lap in the car! and in the front seat!! forget about the seat belt!!!); Red Rover has indeed since been banned (along with a lot of my favorite playground equipment, today deemed way too unsafe); you would never find a bike seat today that would allow a child to get a foot anywhere near the spokes; and most everyone knows what moms tell kids today about what can go in your ear (NEVER something smaller than your elbow). Claudia and William haven’t yet had any trips to the ER, but they have plenty of friends who have, in spite of the safety precautions that have evolved since my childhood. And I expect they will survive their mishaps to tell their kids about them someday, too.
21: Part 2 The Freiburgers
22: By Paula Freiburger Sadie Rothchild Freiburger was a worrywart and highly nervous. Dad was on the high school basketball team. There was a snow storm predicted and the team had an away game. Sadie (“Nana” to us) called the coach and said dad couldn’t go. The coach told dad. Dad called his dad (“Boppy” to us); in turn Boppy called the coach and said dad could go and he, Boppy, would handle Nana. Poppy (Morris Blumenfeld) was average in stature but a man with a big heart. Poppy owned a jewelry store or watch shop in D. People would “buy” something and give him a down payment. Poppy trusted them and let them take the items. Needless to say he went out of business. He became a watch repair person for another business. When he retired he used to spend time sitting in front of the zoo on Connecticut Ave (they had benches then) with his pals talking. During WWII Uncle Larry Blumenfeld’s group was being reassigned to another area. Larry was concerned since they would not get their mail before they left and it could take months for the mail to catch up to them. Hence he took a couple of men and in the middle of the night broke in threw the mail in a truck and distributed it later the next day. (He was in charge of the group.) Larry could tell people off in no uncertain terms but he was a smart and kind man even though he fired me from a summer job I had at his company! | A Little About Several
23: One time a black man he employed was fired. The man brought a discrimination suit against the shop or Larry (one and the same). Several black men went to the hearing in defense of Larry, and the suit was dismissed. Dad, Leo Herbert Freiburger, was a loving, caring man. Dad wanted a son and I think I was a surrogate. Bud (dad) was a volunteer fireman during WWII as he was 4f and this was his contribution. In any case he used to take us to the fire house and we climbed on the engines and had a good time. Dad and I would play catch in the yard, I’d help him rake and of course jump in the leaves after. He also took me to several Washington Senators games. Every Sunday mom’s (Marjorie Louise B. Freiburger) parents, brother and others would come over for the afternoon and dinner. This meant during the summer after a stop at the county fair and later Wonder bread bakeries, we would go to the wharf and pick up a bushel of hard shell crabs for that night. Larry and Doll would always get into it over dinner. Larry would always say to Doll, “You are wrong; you don’t have the facts .” Several summers we would go to Atlantic City or Virgina Beach for a week. They were good times. Other summers we would leave the house around midnight and head for Fort Wayne sometimes stay for a night at nana’s then head to Wisconsin to see the Hellers. They had a summer home on a lake and eventually we would end up there. Dad loved mom and when she died the Father I knew changed. I will always remember the good times, the trips to the bakery, Sundays, the vacations etc. The new carpet! Ellen’s room had a new wall to wall carpet. Ellen used a fountain pen. She managed to knock an entire bottle of ink on the carpet. Mom and Dad were out. Ellen got me and we somehow moved the furniture and carpet so the ink stain was under the bed. Mom and Dad came in just as we had finished so we both made it to our beds and no one was the wiser. Three or four days later Mom & Dad were on the screened in porch having a drink before dinner. They asked us to come out and join them. The maid had vacuumed under the bed. They were not happy with us and let us know. Happy 50th Ellen and Bernard Love, Paula
24: By Betsey Freiburger Keene When Sadie and Herman gave birth to their son, Leopold Freiburger (my great grandfather) ran to the bank and opened an account in the name “Leo.” I do not know where the nickname “Bud” came from but he was always called Bud. He grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana and went to Culver Prep. He used to sing the alma mater at the dinner table along with the Michigan fight song when he was in the mood. There were two other songs he loved to sing in the car: “Clementine” and “Dunderbeck.” Speaking of car rides, did you know that he never had a ticket of any kind? He reminded us of that whenever we were cited. He loved to play tennis and bridge and was very successful at both hobbies. I played on the tennis team in college and he could still beat me at the age of 71. He would play cards with anyone who knew the game. Pop always had us turn the lights off when we left a room even if we were coming right back. He complained about the electricity. He also would make this moaning sound every time he bent over to pick something up off the ground. It is understandable though because he was 6’ 6” tall. I understand more as I get older. | Leo H. Freiburger (Bud) 1909-1988
25: A car was not important to Pop. It did not give him his identity. He drove a Dotson B210 and a red Chevy Citation which he got a deal on but my mother named it the “Bloody Stump.” His favorite joke was asking us: “Constantinople” is a hard word to spell; how do you spell it? The answer of course is – “IT.” My mother was a very passionate person and he was a very calm person so he said she had an even disposition—which was “always excited.” Pop taught me about the stock market when I was 15 years old. I had a project at school to pick some stocks and follow them through the year. I beat all the rest of my classmates in profits. We always knew when there was trouble in paradise when Pop would come out of the bedroom in his black and blue uniform. He never picked out his clothes so he was mismatched. We all had a good laugh. We all loved chocolate. Pop would hide his stash. Richard and I would get the chairs out and look in the highest place in closets and cabinets. We could always find it. As I said, he was 6’ 6” and thought he could keep it out of our reach. He was married to my mother for 26 years. He had a good life. We lost him to chronic lymph node leukemia after a five-year battle going back and forth to Johns Hopkins. He is buried in Fort Wayne, Indiana in the family plot.
27: Part 3: The Rourke Children
28: By Douglas Rourke For approximately two weeks, the mornings started with the same routine. At 7:00 AM I would hear the dull drone of Uncle Doug and Uncle Greg attempting to be “quiet” as they started their exchange of insults. The gentle rumblings of early insults would move quickly to Uncle Doug hurling “MORON” at Uncle Greg, who returned the zinger with “STONES!!!” Seeing one of my bleary eyes open, they would throw caution to the wind and scream in unison, “THAT’S A MAXI!!!" You might wonder under what circumstances these exchanges took place. In the summer of 2010, our family went to Turkey accompanied by Uncle Doug, Uncle Greg and Auntie Margo. As the token male on our side, Uncle Doug and Uncle Greg graciously agreed to share a room with me as long as I took the “special” cots. Before I learned the true story behind the Maxis I had imagined that somehow in their childhood Maxi pads had been traded much in the way Pokémon or baseball cards are, and they had enjoyed sharing their own personal collection of Maxi pads with each other. The truth was slightly less exciting, so in my own mind I would continue to imagine them as children playing with Maxi pads, rather than it just being Popop’s genius way to try and keep them under control. In reality, Popop had a system where he would dispatch mini and maxi black marks to his children as punishment for minor and major transgressions. In his system, four minis were equal to one maxi and the number minis and maxis per child determined the number of rides they were allowed to go on at the highly anticipated trip to Disney World. | In Turkey with Two Turkeys
29: In addition, there were many beloved sayings which I learned in my two weeks as my Uncles’ roommate, and a few particularly special ones come to mind. My personal favorite was “When god was handing out brains you thought he said trains so you said I’ll take a slow one!” It evoked imagery that was both brilliant and tragic, and I had many hours to meditate on the profoundness of this statement while we went from hotel to hotel in Turkey. Another highly popular nugget of wisdom was, “When I want your opinion, I’ll TELL YOU what it is!!!” I have a slightly harder time describing the two of them rapidly winding up their arms in a similar manner to fourteen-year-olds at their first heavy metal concert trying to fist pump to the music. Moreover, they would accompany these bizarre | motions with high pitched screeching approximating a chimpanzee preparing to hurl its own feces at passersby. I was incessantly impressed with their ability to string together the various literary phrases including “moron” and “stones” throughout the day to create unique conversations that would last for hours on end. Perhaps my favorite phrase of all was "You're boarding the Sass Express on a one-way trip to MaxiLand." I walked away from this trip learning a valuable lesson about the limitations of higher education. Just because my uncles have masters degrees from distinguished universities does not guarantee a high level of discourse. In fact, one could go so far as to say that their conversation occasionally bordered on moronic. Nevertheless, Uncle Doug and Uncle Greg were highly entertaining roommates and added a special flavor to an already exotic trip. | The Titular Turkeys
30: By Emily Rourke There are aspects of one's appearance and disposition that are transcribed genetically and passed from one generation to the next. Within our family we can note Uncle John’s and William’s identical piercing blue eyes, Poppop’s and Mom’s shared competitive edge, and a widespread love of literature. But there are also certain genes that occur less frequently, and therefore often skip generations before reappearing. In our family we need only look as far as the stupidly crude sense of humor shared by Poppop and Douglas (Rourke), or Nana’s and William’s mutual love of cooking shows. But perhaps the most strikingly accurate example is a characteristic unique in our family to Nana, Claudia and myself: an insatiable love of shopping. Both Claudia and I are thoroughly out of place in families that simply cannot understand the joy of a lengthy mall trip. No one in my family has the necessary stamina for braving store after store, whereas I gain additional vigor as the hours lengthen. Shopping with my mom has produced many moments of frustration as we clash on the right time to pack it in. Recently I agreed to accompany Mom in her endeavors for an updated summer wardrobe, and after relative success at Store #1 (Ann Taylor in this case), she declared herself ready to “stop while she was ahead.” I was flabbergasted. She wanted a complete wardrobe update and was content to conclude our excursion after 30 minutes in a single store? I wasn’t having it, and after some arm-twisting I convinced her to extend the trip for a little longer. But I remain unable to comprehend how successful purchases could lead her to desire an end rather than a bolstered drive for a continued hunt. | The Shopping Gene
31: From approximately her 2nd birthday, Claudia has been exactly the same way. I remember hearing Auntie Margo’s endless stream of frustration as Target trips with 4-year-old Claudia turned into day-long undertakings where there was no question who was in charge. And when the shoe section came into view, her eyes would widen to the size of dinner plates and the endless begging, pleading, and eventual tears would commence. As the outliers of our respective families in terms of shopping mentality, Claudia and I naturally look to the root of our genetic disposition as a source of reassurance and camaraderie. We therefore turn to Nana, the lone family member who shares our shopping pleasure, and a mall trip with Nana is a treat that is highly anticipated. This past summer at Rehoboth, we had our first shopping experience with just the 3 of us, with no Debbie-downers to rain on our parade of retail therapy. After logging some serious hours at “Justice,” the store that “features the very latest in girls clothing and preteen fashion” (alternately known as Claudia’s Mecca), we sallied forth to Gap, Hollister, and a number of other stops along the way. We returned much later in the day with an overflowing trunk, sore legs and moderate dehydration, but our spirits were high. Although our immediate families cannot directly relate, Claudia and I can find reassurance from Nana’s understanding of the exhilaration of mall excursions. Just as William and Nana can share lengthy cooking channel sessions or Douglas and Poppop can chuckle together over bathroom humor jokes, the three of us can band together, and compare frustration at our broader family’s failure to understand the joy of shopping.
32: By Caroline Rourke In March of 2006 Nana, Emily, mom and I traveled to Italy for a week. You might expect that what stood out most were the Coliseum, Vatican City, the Uffizi, the David or even the Trevi Fountain; however, what I remember most about the trip are the funny incidents along the way. We sometimes forget the effect jetlag has on us; however, Nana reminded us of the toll it can take. For example, when we first got to Rome and checked in to our hotel we were about to head to our room when Nana said, “Should we take the umbrella up?” We were all a little confused about what umbrella Nana might be referring to as none of us had taken an umbrella with us and it was not even raining outside. After looking at her for a few minutes she corrected herself, she meant elevator not umbrella, two easily confusable words. We then got to our rooms and settled in and were ready to head out to dinner when Nana looked at me and said, “Are you ready to go to the umbrella?” I was able to figure out pretty quickly what she meant this time, but then as we were riding the elevator down, Nana tried to defend herself by claiming that at least both words start with the same letter. We then convinced Nana that “u” and “e” were in fact different letters and headed out to dinner. While we were at dinner Emily and I were still laughing about the umbrella elevator mix up when Nana looked at mom and said, “Why would we take these girls to France?!” Well she didn’t take us to France, we were in Italy. At least she didn’t claim the countries started with the same letter. | Travels with Nana
33: In addition to struggling with jetlag, we all had some good laughs at the mistranslations at the restaurants we went to throughout the trip. We got to one restaurant and saw that one of the offerings was “flayed horse.” We were all smiling, happily envisioning some well whipped horse. A little later we realized they probably meant a fillet of horse, but I’m sure beaten horse would have been good too. At a different restaurant we saw an option of “owen baked chicken.” Although we realized they probably meant oven baked chicken all I could imagine was my cousin Owen, who was 5 at the time, sitting there in a chef’s hat baking us chicken. However, although the Italians might not get it right with their translations they do know how to live in style. Nana is not one to stay in a Holiday Inn and although we did not expect a fleabag hotel she still managed to amaze us with the luxury living conditions. We got to our hotel in Florence and were all shocked to find out that it used to be a palace. We got to our room and saw that we had a huge bedroom, two bathrooms, and one big and one smaller lounge. After staring in amazement for a few minutes at the beautiful rooms with the high painted ceilings we also realized that there were many soap samples sitting out. We read the little card with them a found out that you can smell all the soaps and then leave out whichever one you want to get a full bar of. I have still not seen another hotel with soap selection. Not only do the Italians have extravagant accommodations, but their food was outstanding. We could always count on a good homemade pasta wherever we went to eat but one of their most memorable foods was their hot chocolate. We first encountered it when were staying at the palace. Emily and I both ordered a cup for breakfast and found out that it was much more like chocolate pudding than hot chocolate. You could not sip this hot chocolate, you had to eat it with a spoon. Needless to say it was also the best chocolate pudding any of us had ever had. All in all the trip created a lot of good laughs and memories. It was really special to travel with the three generations of women and I hope to get the opportunity to do it again soon.
35: Part 4: The Fantastic Four
36: By Ayana Young When I look back, I have many memories of being with you, Nana and Popop. I would like to share six of my favorite ones. The first gift that I loved was when Nana made me my blanket. I love how it’s my favorite color and I never let it get dirty. I sleep with it every night and it keeps me very warm. I also take it everywhere I go. I bring it on trips, to sleepovers and many other places. I wouldn’t have anything to remind me of you when I go to sleep. I absolutely love my blanket. Giving me the blanket wasn’t the only gift that made me so happy. You gave me lots of other presents for my birthday. The best present you gave me was the MP3 player. I was so happy to have something that I can listen to. When I opened the present, I couldn’t believe that you gave me such a memorable gift for my birthday. I’ll always remember the trips that you took me on. The first trip that I loved was going to Lake Tahoe. I loved the beautiful view of the blue-green water and walking on the deck. I remember seeing how calm the water was. Lake Tahoe is the most beautiful place I have ever been. The second thing I would love to do again is the Celebrity Solstice cruise. We went to many different islands and I learned so many things from it. It was nice to see how different each country was. I remember hiking in a jungle on one of the islands. There was green everywhere and the flowers were colorful. There were white, purple, orange, yellow, red, and blue flowers and plants everywhere. It was beautiful. On another island, I remember | Nana and Popop
37: the castles that we went through. The castles were the remains from the war, generations ago and the remains of the castle remind me of the ruins in Rome. It reminded me of a dream that I had. There were also dogs and cats everywhere at the islands and I thought that it was nice to see animals again. I loved it. I also remember going through a place with just grass everywhere and I was with Uncle John, William, my dad and Owen. We all had a great time on the cruise and the places we went to. My favorite place or trip that I always love to go to is the Rehoboth Beach. I’m always excited to be there and see you, Nana and Popop, and all my cousins every year. Since I don’t live near the beach, I love seeing the beautiful water coming up on the sand. I always have the best time ever at Rehoboth beach. I had the greatest time on the many trips you have taken me on, but I had the best time at Nana’s 70th birthday party. I loved how the birthday was only for girls. I had on the prettiest dress that I had in my suitcase. It was great to meet some of your friends at the party. I had lots of fun. I played with Claudia most of the time, and we danced around in the huge mirror and I loved the food there too! I love how you are so giving to me and I give lots of thanks to you, Nana and Popop. Thank you for taking me on trips and to places that are so beautiful. I especially liked the cruise-The islands were the most beautiful places I have ever been and I thank you, again, for taking me to all these awesome places. You’re the best grandparents I have ever had.
38: By Owen Young Roses are red and violets are blue, did you know that I love you! Looking back in to the years, these are the memories that I mostly love about you two. Nana, even though I have a lot of memories about you, these are few best memories. First, I will never forget when you took me to get my hair cut and to the game store. Everybody liked my new hair cut style. It was as spiky as a tip of a bow and arrow with light brown colored dye on the tips. Then you were so generous to buy me a new toy. My new game Rush Hour was perfect to play with my cousin. Second of all, your hugs are really phonaminal. Your hugs are sweet and warm at the same time. They make feel happy and cared for. Those are my two favorite memories about you Nana. If someone asked me what was your favorite memory about my Popop, I would say there are at least three. First, we walked to the ice-cream store every night when we visited the beach. I will always remember when you shared your chocolate shake. Another memory is when we went to the crab restaurant. I could taste the crab meat in the air. It was funny breaking the crab shell with a hammer. Last, when I jumped on you I felt excited. We pretended to fight and then we both laughed. Those are several special memories of you Popop. | The Fascinating Different Memories of Nana and Popop
39: Here are a few memories about the places we have been to as a family. To start with, we have gone on a celebrity solstice cruise. I loved the cruise because we got to swim in the pool every morning and see beautiful mountains out the window. We went to four different beautiful and fascinating places. St. Kits and St. Martin were the most memorable. The dogs and cats were rooming around the streets, but I got to pet one dog. Porto Rico had a magnificent castle that might have been in a lot of wars. The walls were black and they were falling apart. I have never been to a real castle before and it was just like the real castles in a picture. St. Thomas had a huge vine that we swung on. When it was my turn I felt like I was a monkey. I will never forget when I first drank coconut milk. The straw fit through the top. I could not believe how disgusting it was. Next, we went to steamboat and you Popop skied as hard as you could. I was really impressed on how you skied, you were amazing! Then you were so nice to bring us to Reheoth beach and let us play for like 24 hours, close to that really! We usually play in the pool a lot. I get scared when there was a big huge wave in the ocean. Then I get used to it so I play with my cousins in the fun big waves. I will always remember going close to the White House. It was as big as a mansion. I only wish that I could have hugged Barak Obama. Finally, you took us to Fun Land pretty much every day of our vacation. When my mom goes to Fun Land with me, we usually get a whole bunch of stuffed animals at the crane. I rode on a huge merry go round with my great cousins and we were all scared especially William. As you can see, you have brought us to a lot of different places. I can't believe how many memories I have of you two! All I have to say is roses are red violets are blue did you know know that I love you!
40: By Claudia Young | Poems | Poems for Nana and Popop The beach is so fun Playing in the sea, freezing Rides and cold ice cream | Poem for Nana Your cooking is cool Taste like a marvelous thing Yum yum it’s so fun !!!!!! | Poem for Poppop (A Limerick) There once was a Poppy so silly He loved to eat ice cream and chili Since he ate all that food He’s in such a good mood But now he’s got such a big belly!
41: Dear Nana and Popop, Here are the things that I remember doing with you: cooking with you, playing rubber band ball with you, and the thing that I really loved to do with you was going on the cruise. These are all great memories that we did together and we still do it sometimes and most of it is just with us but it doesn’t matter. When our whole family comes you make it twice as much as it’s supposed to be. Plus, for my birthday you give me hard shell crabs for dinner and Julia cake and I love both of them so much. At the beach, we had so much fun. The rides were so much fun: the Ferris wheel the gravitron, and so on. The part of the beach I liked was eating the hard shell crabs and since we were at the beach, there were huge crabs and they were way better than the ones at Maryland. These two memories are better than the first memories so they were better but the first ones are still good. I hope these memories are good ones. Best memories, William
43: Part 5: The Cohens
44: By Nancy and Marty Cohen EFY and BJY met through his mother, Louise Meyer Young Simons, so that theirs was akin to an arranged marriage. They were both from DC with friends in place and as their acquaintances grew they remained loyal to so many people they knew long ago. A further link with the past occurred at their rehearsal dinner which was held at the Westchester Apartments where Elmer and Louise raised their family. The grounds sparkled; a perfect place to start the celebration of love. Louise wanted her children and grandchildren to regard each other as family so she financed trips to the beach during their early years. We all enjoyed Virginia Beach and Ventnor, NJ, where good times were had by all. Pets were an important part of the Youngs’ lives. We honor them all at this time: the cats and the boxer and the labs and most especially the amazing 110 pound Thor, their first mixed breed that proved that papers alone don’t describe the heart of the beast! Thor and our | In Honor of the 50 Years of Marriage Uniting Ellen Lee Freiburger and Bernard Joseph Young
45: wonderful mixed beagle, Taffy, a medium small dog, would have great walks on the C&O canal accompanied by the 2 sibs. Thor would take to the water and all would have a wonderful time. Our Thanksgivings were especially happy when our beloved Willie Mae was helping and socializing in the kitchen. Those became treasured moments as families later grew and moved to different parts of this super country. We had a great trip to Africa and we will each carry the panoramics of the many animals in our minds’ eye forever. During our stay, BJY and NYC played gin together. Usually the games were quite equal because we had the same strategy which we learned from our dad who played a lot when we were growing up. Now bridge has taken over and we have all four enjoyed sitting around the card table during visits. Sadly there are two people who never met their grandchildren all gathered together tonight. We know how proud Margery and Elmer would be of you all and of their great grandchildren as well. With love from Marty and Nancy and the wish for many more happy anniversaries.
46: Ed Cohen Some of my favorite times with Aunt Ellen and Uncle Bernard have been at the beach, from my ages of 3 to 49! In the early years, we loved to bury each other in the warm sand. Another enduring milestone occurred (also hopefully in the early years) when Uncle Bernard coined the name “Prince Bertram the Bad” for lovely me. The nickname lasted for longer than I’d prefer to admit. Grandma Louise affirmed her approval of the name when she gave me the hairbrush treatment, which wasn’t exactly a Barbie Doll grooming simulation. Fortunately, there are alternatives to awkward memories. I recall many yummy meals at Ellen and Bernard’s homes on Nebraska Avenue and Pyle Road. The trips to their homes were sufficiently frequent so that I also got to know their yards well. My first noteworthy yard experience was making numerous large mud pies with Lisa and probably others at Nebraska Avenue. Later in life I had the “privilege” of helping to carry and move a huge pile of rocks at Ellen and Bernard’s Pyle Road house. While I wasn’t a successful artist in this case, the rocks were later transformed by Ellen into a Japanese rock garden, which was exceedingly pleasant to look at.
47: George Young Jon, Ed, and I (George) (Marty and Nancy Cohen’s kids) grew up hanging out with Aunt Ellen and Uncle Bernard’s kids at each other’s houses and we went out to lunches with our Grandma together. We lived 15 minutes away. We played ping-pong, tether ball, soccer, had snow ball fights, climbed trees, rode bikes on the Potomac River canal and played the first hand-held “football” video game in car rides (you tried to "run" a blinking light past "defender" blinking lights before they “ran" into you). The kids were all really friendly and went on weekend road trips together in high school, sometimes camping out and sometimes in hotels. We appreciate Uncle Bernard and Aunt Ellen’s hospitality at their house and all the lunches and dinners that Aunt Ellen made. We were very happy to have her try out new recipes on us (I love anybody that makes me a hot meal!). Thanks for getting us together for all the “play dates”. Love, George--and my wife Dina and our kids George and Bella. Happy 50th anniversary!
48: Jon Cohen The old house on Nebraska Avenue was a neat house to me. For one thing, there always seemed to be another room somewhere, so it was filled with a kind of mystery. I think the children found a place to play in every part of the house. I remember playing blind man’s bluff in the garage, for one thing. Blind Man’s bluff is a game where a person tries to tag people while wearing a cloth blocking the eyes. Grandma’s house off MaCarthur Blvd held a similar kind of mystery to me, and since there were some places where there was never access, that kind of added to the mystery. There were a lot of hills at the Nebraska Avenue House, which was neat to me. I am sure we played a lot of King of the Hill there. King of the Hill is a game where one person tries to be at the top of a hill and pushes everyone down who tries to take his or her place. I liked the little play house cabin at the top of the backyard. It was quite big and we were able to really fit in there. I think there was tether ball in the backyard for a while. I remember that the Young kids had one of the first video games. Plastic sheets with illustrations had to be placed in front of the TV with this. I liked Pong, which was a very simple game where you had to get a blip past a little rectangle. There was also an amazing non-video game which used air where a person tried to knock down targets in a little shooting gallery. There was a haunted house game that was on the upper floor that I liked. Lisa and Margo must have liked that game because that is where they were. I remember watching the Redskins versus Miami in the Super Bowl in Aunt Ellen and Uncle Bernard’s room. I think there was a full house in there. Two touchdowns for the Redskins may have been lost due to passes hitting the goal posts in the end zone. The goal posts were moved back the next year. One thing that I remember that seems kind of surreal is Uncle Bernard went out at night when we were in Atlantic City and we dug up clams with a shovel and the help of a flashlight from the sand at the edge of the ocean. We ate those clams and they were good,
49: but I soon developed an allergy to clams, developing severe gas from them, and had to stop eating them. I always wondered why we only did the clam digging that once. Also, my guess is today due to environmental changes a person could not go to Atlantic City and dig up clams. I saw Margo or the first time at Atlantic City. There was a crib for her and Aunt Ellen would put it on the porch. Margo was the first cousin I had where I could feel I was big and could admire a baby. It seemed like adults never went swimming at Atlantic City, but I guess that is kind of an illusion. Adults just don’t stay in the water nearly as long as kids. I get that today. I remember Aunt Ellen used to swim in the Woodmont meets that were held once every summer. I remember she did really well although not many women participated. I don’t remember men participating in the meets at all. I entered a meet once and was embarrassed by my poor showing and never did it again. I always enjoyed the penny hunt though where kids dived down to retrieve pennies marked with brown tape for prizes such as a free hour of raft rental. I was able to dive down and get pennies. I remember Dad and Uncle Bernard used to play paddle tennis together. For a long time it was a mystery to me what paddle tennis was and where it was. I wonder if Woodmont still has paddle tennis courts because it seems to have slipped in popularity a bit. My guess is no. I used to go fishing at Woodmont for bluegills in their golf course ponds. I used pickles as bait. I tried using pickles to catch fish in Florida recently, and it didn’t work. I think Bluegills may have lost their taste for vegetables because the Carp that are now present eat all the vegetation. I remember Aunt Ellen was quite a duckpin bowler. I think we used to bowl at Bowl America on Westbard Road quite a bit. I also remember the station wagon. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. We used to jam pack in there but I remember it being pretty fun. I think we had to lie down if we were in the back section of the car. I remember going to Peter Pan restaurant in the Station Wagon in the back section. That was a fairly long ride. They had hush puppies and a live Peacock there. Peacocks are neat because they can extend their purple polk- a-dot tails like fans. Hush Puppies were basically corn fritters and the name was exciting because there was a brand of children’s shoes back then called “Hush Puppies.” I am pretty sure I owned my share of Hush Puppies shoes. We used to have a Seder every year at Grandma’s. Grandma had mugs with the name of every grandchild on them, but those weren’t at the Seder. My Dad used to read the Hebrew extremely well in the Passover book (Haggadah). He and Uncle Bernard used to joke around at the Seder. I thought it was funny for the most part. Diana has enjoyed visiting with Aunt Ellen and Uncle Bernard at the beach and their homes, and think they are a fine couple as I do.
51: Part 6: The Schneibergs
52: Dear Bernard and Ellen-- Here is much love and congratulations On your 50th anniversary celebration. We are so happy to be here to join in the toast To a couple who really are quite the most! The years at the beach with the families in tow Funnel cakes, milk shakes, cheese fries to go. Waiting for Douglas and Greg to come back with our goodies- we could have fainted waiting for our foodies! We look back in wonder when we rode in the waves We were young, we were dumb, we were totally brave. St. Thomas, Bahamas, the Riviera-Tropez and let's not forget Stingray City-Oy Vey. Always The Palm with our lobsters butter-greasy our elbows all covered, our tummies all queasy. The plays that we sat through and some we walked out on M&Ms at Walkure-we should have to home gone. What could be better than 50 years of all this here's to many more together all filled with bliss. Love, Wilma and Harold