Thursday, December 22, 2016

For Paul - Sometimes They Leave Too Soon

This is a house in Norwalk, CT.  Although it did not always look like this, my family lived in this house until sometime in 1966 I believe.  Mom, Dad, Lee, Paul, and 1 year old me.  I was thinking about this house the other day.  Our Uncle Win also lived in Norwalk, not far from here.  His neighborhood had split-level homes on much larger wooded lots.

A few days ago I was watching an episode of House Hunters with Jill, and a couple was home shopping in Norwalk.  One of the houses, a split-level with a wooded lot, looked familiar.  It wasn't Uncle Win's house.  It WAS a few houses down the street though.  I immediately wanted to share this revelation with my family.  When things like this happen that's the first instinct.  We want to pick up the phone and call the people who appreciate these little moments in life.  These "hey look at this" moments.  I called Lee.  Not that talking to my brother is any sort of disappointment.  No, on the contrary.  Lee and I have great conversations about all things past, present, and future.  The problem is I wanted to tell Mom.  I couldn't.  I wanted to tell Dad.  I couldn't.  And, I wanted to tell Paul.  I couldn't.

At least once a week, usually more, I see something, or read something that I want to share with them.  It's those moments that will never let me forget.  And especially now, on the ninth anniversary of losing Paul, I want to know what he would have been doing to prepare for the arrival of his grandchild, and my parents with them seeing great-grandchildren on the way.

We can't keep them forever
We can keep their memories for longer than forever, but...

Sometimes they leave too soon

We miss you Mom, Dad, and Paul.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Kitchen Stories

My brother Paul has been gone 8 years today.  I think about him every day, but on this day every year I tend to get a bit more melancholy.  About a week and a half ago, I was baking a cake for our family Hanukkah get-together.  The cake was our mother's famous sour cream coffee cake.  Always a hit.  As I remember this recipe, and all the times that mom made it, I was thinking about Paul and his creative side in the kitchen.  He was like me in the kitchen.  More of a Chemist than a Cook.

There were the good things.  The chocolate chip pancakes, The famous pizza omelette (he had a special "Uncle Buck" frying pan for that one), the cakes, ohhh the cakes.  He made special decorated cakes for special occasions like Lee's thirtieth birthday party.  Then there were the not so good things.  Chocolate scrambled eggs rises to the top of the list I think.  Words cannot describe this.  One of my favorite kitchen faux pas had to be the caramel.
Mom and dad were not around.  Paul had been left in charge of me, and was spending time in the kitchen creating something.  I was in my room, not paying attention, until I began to hear banging, and noticed a burnt-sugar smell.  As I went into the kitchen to see what was going on I saw Paul, chipping away at something that was hardened on the stove.

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He had consulted a few cookbooks, and was trying to make caramel candy.  Everything was going fine until he poured the caramel into a plastic container to let it cool.  The container stretched, and broke.  The caramel, which was more at a hard-candy stage at that point instantly cooled and solidified on the stainless steel stove.  He was whacking away at it with a knife handle to get it all off.

For each story like this, I have so many more memories of going to his place to share a meal of home made ribs, sukiyaki, and so much more.  If you can hear me Paul, hear this:  I have carried on the torch.  Jill, and the kids can verify that I have definitely taken over mad scientist duties in the kitchen.  Chances are that you know this.  Take care, and try not to laugh too hard when I burn things.

Your Brother,

A Poem for Paul

A Poem for Paul
December 22,2015

Tidings Of Comfort And Joy

God Rest Ye Merry Paul Goldstein
Let Nothing You Dismay
We've Celebrated You At Chanukah
And Will On Christmas Day
With Stockings Hung Up By The Fire
As Santa We Await

Oh Tidings of (Southern) Comfort And Joy
Comfort And Joy
Oh Tidings of Comfort And Joy

God Rest Ye Merry Paul Goldstein
Let Nothing You Dismay
You've Been Gone 8 Long Years Ago
This 22nd Of December Day
To Journey Toward Your Heavenly Home
That Seems So Far Away

Oh Tidings of Comfort And Joy
Comfort And Joy
Oh Tidings Of Comfort And Joy

God Rest Ye Merry Paul Goldstein
Let Nothing You Dismay
With Hearts And Hands And Voices
We Bless You This Special Day
We'll Bake Your Special Cinnamon Buns
Make Rice Salad & Bake A Cake

And Toast To Your Comfort And Joy
Comfort And Joy
Oh Tidings Of Comfort And Joy

Dear Paul,
Thank you for making this time of year special for me, full of love, surprises, and abundant joy. All of them overflowed in you this time of year, and touched everyone around you. Christmas is not the same without you. I hold in my heart the memories of Good Times, Great Food (Chinese), and a Dear Friend. Miss you Always & Always, Sue

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Happy Birthday to my Brother Paul - 2015

Well, today would have been your 57th birthday. I've been missing you quite a bit lately as so much has been going on that I know I would have been talking endlessly with you about.  The world is a huge paradox these days. We're careening down a path towards financial and social destruction, while being a part of innovations that are changing the way we do everything.  I'm hoping that we reach a point soon where one cancels the other out finally. The other thing that scares me is the world we are giving our children. They are coming age, and should be running the show now, but I see so much apathy, and disconnection in their faces that I don't think they understand what's wrong.

I have a feeling that every generation when it reaches middle age looks at the next generation this way. I hope that's the case, and these are just the ramblings of an aging curmudgeon-to-be.  Otherwise, things are good here.  I am a much happier person at age 50 than I was at age 30. It would be better if you were still here though.  Happy Birthday Paul.

--Brother Neil

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Poem for Paul 1958-2007 by Sue

A Poem for Paul 1958-2007


Seven years have passed,
Since I saw you last
Where has all the time gone?
It's flown by like the wind,
Lifting the bird's wings,
Higher, and higher until it
Flickers over the horizon for
One final wave goodbye.

Wasn't it yesterday when
You sat in my kitchen?
I must be dreaming
That was back in '77.
A lifetime ago, a blink of an eye
You're still gone & I often
Wonder why?
Not a day goes by, that I don't think of you.

I found a seashell in a jar
One we picked up from the
Beach at the Cape Cod Shore.
I wonder if it has travelled as far
As you are.

How far is Heaven?
I don't know
Just know that you've been
There for Seven

Until we meet again my friend
Rest in Peace, Love, & Joy.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas
Your most favorite time of year is here.
We'll keep it for you as in years passed
Whether it's 25, 30, 50 or just Seven.

Love, Always & Always

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Paul!

Happy birthday to my brother Paul who would have been 56 today.  For some reason the story that came to mind had to do with a vacation that Paul took back in the early eighties.  You see, Paul had re-programmed most of our business's computer system, and was therefore the only one who could fix the damned thing when it broke.  After not being able to get away for a long time he finally got in the car and hit the road.

What happened?  You guessed it.  Something broke.  When they finally got a hold of him, he was relaying information from Mount Washington in New Hampshire on a payphone.  No cells yet. I've always had this vision of Paul yelling into that remote payphone in the mountains with a line of people waiting to use it.  "No!  I said RE-BOOT"

I hope everyone else continues to remember stories like this.  We miss you Paul.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A letter to Paul - 2013

Here we go again.  Another move during the holidays.  It's a house this time.  Everything has been
falling into place lately.  I wish you could be here to see how everyone has grown (even the adults).  All of the cousins are either in, or done with college.  I've been reading a lot, but my reading time is about to be re-purposed for schoolwork, as I finally try to finish college myself.  I've got a little more grey upstairs, and need to be a little more careful with my health these days, but we're going to try to stick around to see all of the cousins turn grey.  Lee and Dawn, and Jill and I have been spending vacations together, and looking forward to more.  It's hard not having you, and mom, and dad around for the holidays, but I wanted you to know that we'll keep the rest of the clan together as much as possible.  Maybe even re-start the old Bruntil "family meeting" tradition.  We'll see.

Say hi to the folks, and any aunts, uncles, and grandparents you may run into.  Take care, and check in on us once in awhile.

Lots of love,