Friday, June 03, 2011

George Epstein as requested by Mike

It took me awhile to catch on. People often referred to the Epsteins as "your cousins".

Only when I noticed in an old city directory the firm named Barer & Epstein and asked some questions did I find that at the turn of the 20Th century Uncle Ike was married briefly to the matriarch of the Epstein family.

There were three surviving brothers, one died as a result of a childhood game that went awry and ended in tragedy.

They were in the recycling business in direct competition with our family recycling interests but after close of the business day we were friends.

I think the term Shakespeare used was "star crossed".

Louis, the oldest, was an ardent fisherman.

He was with a group of his fishing buddies in an isolated area of the Yukon dragging in the big ones when he apparently suffered a heart attack and was swept away by the swift flowing river that emptied into the Arctic.

The fact that native trackers could not find the body led to rumors that there might be some mystery involved. Even that the disappearance might have been staged. People in his party saw the body with his distinctive jacket being carried away by the wild river and were unable to help him in the wilderness.

Abe and George had a recycling business next door to Louis.

Abe married a nice young woman from Portland.

George remained a bachelor spending his after work hours at his office desk reading a magazine and chatting with passersby or lingering in a diner schmoozing with the waitresses.

He surprised everyone one day. He packed his valise and hopped a train for New York.

In the early days of network radio much of the programming came from New York and George was an avid listener so he knew what to do when he got there.
He attended Yankees games and in those days the "Brooklyn" Dodgers as well as the famous night spots.

What a wonderful adventure for a small town guy. He had stories to tell for years.

In the late 1960's Abe passed away and it was up to George to liquidate the business over a period of a couple of years.

Abe's wife, Violet, had been a proxy mom to George. She was was in a panic to find that after he put a final lock on the business door he disappeared.

No amount of tracing could find him.

Months went by and not a word.

Then the call came.

George, remembering his great time ten years before and telling no one again did the trip to New York.

Only, this time with dire results. On arrival he was mugged, stripped of his money and ID and left in an alley.

He was found by a policeman and shipped off to a hospital ward reserved for derelicts.

An examination revealed throat cancer and necessitated the removal of part of his tongue. For months he lingered in a coma.

As he recovered, he was able to convey the message that he wanted pad and paper.

Violet was contacted and rushed to New York to help him return home.

He lived on for a few years possibly a gift from the people who intended evil but may have saved his life by forcing him to the hospital,


Blogger Mike Barer said...

George loved baseball and because of his age, had a good historical prospective. He loved to watch the NBC Saturday game of the week on the TVs for sale at the Book Nook. I would sometimes walk over and watch with him. He was fun to talk to. He loved talking about Baseball.

9:44 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home