Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sidney is on his way to Arizona

My wife, Chava, and I stopped by Batya's yesterday afternoon (Shabbat) to say our farewells to her father, Sidney.

I offered to have him move in with us. He could share our son's bunk bed. I asked him if he wanted the top or bottom bed. He laughed and said "top".

He said that he was going to see Shirley. Shirley has been his wife for as long as Israel has been an independent state. 63 years.

Having arrived here in Shiloh almost 8 months ago, he has become a bright part of our lives. When neither Batya nor Yisrael were available, one of us often sat in their living room, doing what we called Sidney-sitting. At 89 he is no baby. In fact, he objected to the idea of being babysat, and it wasn't until Chava explained that it was Batya's comfort zone, that if something should somehow need Hebrew, she felt more comfortable if someone was there who spoke it, that he accepted the company graciously.

When Sidney first arrived, our 13 yr old son spent time with him most afternoons watching videos, playing cards and talking. Sidney likes WWII movies and musical comedies.

Yesterday Sidney was in a reflective mood. He mentioned several times how "all those boys" had died. The ship he had been stationed on when he was in the Navy for WWII was sunk just a week after he was transferred off it. He was known as "the Jew" on his ship. Said he didn't know if there were others or not, but they didn't let it be known if they were.

And the only thing that brightened that somber mood was mentioning Arizona. "I'm going to see Shirley!" Spoken in a tone of reverence. It's so inspiring to see someone so crazy in love with his wife after over six decades. Batya gave us a blessing that I should talk like that about Chava when I was 90. And our response was that Sidney should be healthy and in love with Shirley for another 120...

He will be missed here in Shiloh.


Anonymous said...

beautiful post.

Batya said...

Hillel, thanks so much for everthing. You know that my father would have preferred my mother moving to Shiloh, or at least to Jerusalem, but there was no debate. He prefers my mother over all other options.