Did you ever see the 1998 movie “Sliding Doors” with Gweneth Paltrow? If not, it might be a good one to watch over the holidays with your family. It’s about the choices we make in life, and the outcomes. Gweneth lives parallel lives that change according to one small decision she makes; will she catch that train?
The Flapper met my Father while waiting for a tram in Scranton, PA. She was at that train stop every morning outside his drugstore and he would watch her from the big store window while waiting on customers. Whatever made him chase after that tram one day, and introduce himself, we’ll never know. Was it the way she smoked a cigarette? The way she brushed her platinum hair out of her eyes? It was 1933, and she was quite a dame.
After our Father died in our Year of Living Dangerously, around 1955, the Flapper was able to walk again and she wanted to pick up and move to Rockaway, NJ so she could be close to me. We’d live near each other, and I’d get to know my brothers and sister. And my real, biological Mother. But she needed a job.
She met Eugene Ginsburg who owned Rockaway Sales through an ad in the newspaper. He had started this prequel to a Big Box Store long before anybody had ever heard of a Best Buy. He was selling mostly hunting and fishing, camping and outdoor gear. This part of Morris County was still considered rural. And he needed a book keeper. My Mother needed a job and so she told him she knew how to keep accounts, which she didn’t. But he gave her the job and his lovely wife, Hope, taught her how to do it.
Eventually she told Mr Ginsberg that he should start selling toys! Because at Christmas people would want to buy toys for their children – and so the store morphed into a mix of Gander meets Toys R Us. Then the Flapper caught the eye of the store’s attorney, and they married and I moved into their house in Dover, NJ; gaining a step brother and sister to boot! I convinced the Flapper that I just had to go to public school, so long Sacred Heart.
Hello Dover Senior High School. If the Flapper didn’t meet the attorney, my stepfather, I would have probably been raised in Rockaway, the next town over and never met my husband Bob. Or what if she didn’t move to NJ, if she insisted I move back to PA? There were so many crossroads in my early life.
And meeting Eugene Ginsberg that day, having the chutzpah to tell him she could do something when she knew nothing about book keeping, well that was another train steering our lives in a certain direction. Gene became a life-long friend of our combined families, and my heart goes out to his family today.
He lived a courageous and exemplary life. One in which he helped so many people without public acclaim. He was humble and truly the kindest, sweetest 93 year old in the whole world. He had a twinkle in his eye at Ada’s birthday party, but I will always remember the dashing young, business man who traveled the world and gave my Mother a chance to build a life with me. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailyrecord/obituary.aspx?n=eugene-ginsberg&pid=173441912&