My maternal grandfather was unique in many ways. He was extremely handsome, extremely talented, and quite opinionated. Grandpa Rosenblum worked as a fur cutter in the garment district of New York. Recognizing his raw talented and creativity, his bosses allowed him to take the “scraps” of fur left over from the cuttings. From these scraps, he created a mink stole for my grandmother – which she proudly wore over the most humble garments. I was blessed with a hat and a muffler for my hands.
When the garment workers were being recruited to join the Unions, by brother and I were recruited to march on Saturdays in the Union lines. After all, no one, not even the most ardent anti-union individual would attack a child. Afterwards, we were “rewarded” with a magic show and cake. We were thrilled – and the Unions succeeded.
As I’ve previously written, Grandpa had his vices – in which he partook, like all else in life, with a passion. Friday nights were reserved for pinochle and schnapps. On Sundays we might ride in his ancient, and rarely used, Buick around Harlem. He knew everybody. Grandma received some lovely dinnerware (some in my possession now) at a really “hot price.”
When Grandpa died he left a hole in many lives – especially my grandmother’s. And – to our surprise – a Parisian daughter whom he had fathered during the many years he had lived in France before coming to the United States. Grandpa always provided “something special” – and he continued to do so, even when he had departed.