By Mayne, Seymour
Midstream , Vol. 54, No. 4
It was on a Friday, a few days before my fourth birthday mid-May, as my mother was fond of telling it. The night before I had had a bad bout of coughing. Although we had been enjoying spring I was still nursing the chronic winter bronchitis that brought me to Dr. Goldberg's office on Cote Ste Catherine Road. All through the winter I was subjected to constant injections. Dr. Goldberg was not going to allow any young patient of his to surrender to such an obnoxious bug.
It was still a year to the time I would be going to kindergarten. Growing up in the Mile End neighbourhood of Montreal, I could attend any number of Jewish schools, each representing yet another ideological denomination among Montreal Jewry.
We sat in the waiting room to Dr. Goldberg's office, which, in fact, was the downstairs living room in his small mansion. He practised out of his home.
He was a distinguished and kindly gentleman, probably in his fifties then, and he always bore a smile which had an edge of pain to it. Something that had to do with his family life, it was rumoured. He always spoke softly, knowing that his patients hung on every word.
We were here again to have my chest checked and to decide how my bronchitis could be put into full retreat for the summer months.
"Do you know what day this is, Mrs. Mayne?" Dr. Goldberg asked as soon as we entered the examining room.
"What day?" she repeated.
"Yes, what day is it? It's a great momentous day in which we are privileged to witness a miraculous event."
"Miraculous, Dr. Goldberg?"
"Yes, a great miracle of our time. Just a little while ago the Jewish State was declared in Tel Aviv. I should shut my office and dance in the street."
"State of Israel?"
"Don't you follow the news and especially what is happening in Palestine?"
"I have a full-time job, Dr. Goldberg, a son who has not been well, and a household to maintain. I don't have time to follow the news. State of Israel, you said?"
The conversation continued and Dr. Goldberg for the first time ever forgot to take his stethoscope and examine my chest. He got more and more animated as he explained what had happened that very day on the other side of the world. …