Monday, May 3, 2010


My Air Canada direct flight to Pittsburgh on April 23rd was smooth and uneventful. I had to wait only five minutes for the bus between the airport and Carnegie-Mellon University where one of my hosts, Joel Merenstein, was waiting to pick me up. The weekend began with Nancy Merenstein’s delicious Friday night dinner followed by friendly conversation.

The rain on Saturday did not spoil lunch at the Casbah Restaurant with Emil and Barbara Trellis. They have been among my strongest supporters since I shared an early manuscript of The Unveiling with them. They continue to go out of their way to bring the book to the attention of potential readers and reviewers.

Saturday night dinner was with close cousins at the home of Cyma and Jerry Dolan. My past visits with these cousins have always been special as we share memories of past joyful events and catch up on more recent activities. This get-together was remarkably different in a positive way.

During the last few months the cousins had read The Unveiling, and they say it gave them new insights into my mother’s courage. They wanted to know more about my father’s illness and felt comfortable asking about him. We all agreed that in the past people in the family did not talk about him or his mental illness. I felt lifted to another level of liberation as I shared more details with these cousins I care for so much.

Sunday brought a big surprise when I got the email from Lisa, my daughter, telling me she was flying to Pittsburgh to help celebrate the 100th birthday of my Uncle Jack Rubin, my father’s only surviving brother. Lisa and I were both delighted to see him looking well and able to share happy greetings with everyone. Being together with Uncle Jack, my cousins and their kids and grandkids and others who are close to the family was uplifting. (That's Jeff, Larry, Kenny Rubin and me in the photo.) My conversation with a distant cousin, whom I met for the first time, led to some information about my father that I had never heard before.

I made one last connection on Sunday night. Marlene Rebb, sister of Ann Stone, an old friend from Peabody High school, invited me to dinner along with Shirley Katz, who had been the Executive Director of the Foreward-Shady Apartments when my mother lived there. Shirley was enthusiastic about The Unveiling, and liked the idea that she actually inspired a character in one scene in the book. Not only did she remember the occasion, but she also recalled what she had said. Shirley and Marlene both promised to help spread the word about The Unveiling among their Pittsburgh network. The dinner was a delight, and the memories of my mother shared by Shirley put the finishing touches on a memorable weekend.

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