My long-lost cousin, Walter Greenberg, came for a visit last week. I have not seen him for over 20 years. He lives in Los Angeles. He is the younger child (now over 60) of my Uncle Sol and my Aunt Minnie. My father had three brothers.
Walter arrived with his lovely wife, Marsha, and his two lively boys, Benjamin, 16 and Sam, 13. They have come to see Manhattan and to be introduced to the East Coast. The boys were very inquisitive about the flora and fauna around my Jericho home.
Walter was a puzzle to me when we were kids. All my cousins were ballplayers. Walter was a gymnast. He was agile, fit, and athletic, but not a ballplayer. He never was a ballplayer as a child and that set him apart from the rest of the Greenbergs. He went to Penn State on a full gymnastic scholarship. He was that good. All my uncles were fine soccer players and my Uncle Walter’s father, Sol, played on a semi-pro team. He played on a team whose home field was under the 59th Street bridge.
My father would take me to soccer games all over the metropolitan area. But to me soccer was a game played by foreigners. I had no interest in it. Later in life, when I moved to Hicksville, I learned to love the game. I coached many years for the Hicksville Americans.
Marsha is a physical therapist and my wife Lorraine and she discussed rehabilitation. Lorraine is a speech therapist. Marsha was a lovely interesting person.
We made a dinner for our California guests and invited my sister and my cousins over. It was a pleasure and also very interesting to discuss family matters again. Walter brought documents about his parents and my grandparents that were entirely new to me. His mother, Minnie, was the family historian.
Walter is a psychologist in Los Angeles. He works with a psychiatrist and he said he treats many famous people in the movie and television industry. Of course he would mention no names as that is a confidential matter.
I enjoyed our conversations. He is a very “together person” with a deep understanding of the human condition. We bonded almost immediately.
Finding a worthwhile person is great. Finding a worthwhile person in your own family is even better.
Thinking back to bygone days because of our new-found cousins was a gratifying experience.