9

The Family Story

The only time I ever saw my father run was in the summer of 1954. I was seven, a budding speed demon myself, and he was visiting me for the weekend at camp in the Poconos. The shock of seeing him sprint made me laugh out loud. I remember people pointing at him in astonishment as he raced toward first base, saying, “Look at that little guy go!”

He was as fast as I'd imagined, but that wasn't what did it. My father ran like a horse. His gait was full gallop with a skip that sent him airborne between steps. No one ran like he did. A wild horse with a fat Havana cigar in its mouth.

The family story was that my father had competed in the 1928 Olympic trials. He was a high school hundred-yard-dash whiz from Brooklyn hoping to go to Amsterdam and trounce the great Percy Williams of Canada. But he was tripped in the finals by the runner beside him. Having lost his right eye as a child, my father ran blind on that side; he never even saw the guy, who must have strayed from the next lane and gotten away with it. After that, my father went to work in the family business, the wholesale Kosher slaughter of poultry.

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In the Shadow of Memory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • In the Shadow of Memory *
  • Contents *
  • Preface *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • 1 - Gray Area *
  • 1 - Gray Area: Thinking with a Damaged Brain *
  • 2 - Wild in the Woods: Confessions of a Demented Man *
  • 3 - In the Shadow of Memory *
  • 4 - Reeling Through the World: Thoughts on the Loss of Balance *
  • 5 - Living Memory *
  • 2 - The Family Story *
  • 6 - The Painstaking Historian *
  • 7 - Zip *
  • 8 - Dating Slapsie *
  • 9 - The Family Story *
  • 10 - The Year of the 49-Star Flag *
  • 3 - A Measure of Acceptance *
  • 11 - Kismet *
  • 12 - Counteracting the Powers of Darkness *
  • 13 - What is This and What Do I Do with It? *
  • 14 - A Measure of Acceptance *
  • 15 - Jangled Bells: Meditations on Hamlet and the Power to Know *
  • 16 - The Watery Labyrinth 218
  • 17 - Tomorrow Will Be Today *
  • In the American Lives Series *
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