One of the true signs of spring when we lived at 21 Hopperton Drive was the blossoming of the flowers on our trees in the front yard. Alicia is standing under the tree, likely some time in the late 1970s. BTW: our house not the one you see here, it’s to the left of the picture. These pink petals would last for maybe a week on the tree and then several weeks on the grass and driveway.
While they looked small, these were actually pretty good climbing trees. The left and middle ones particularly had several places to climb and I recall being able to move from tree to tree while near the top. They look pretty small now which is likely a good thing as if one were to fall from them it wouldn’t be far to go.
I checked Google Street View to see what these trees look like now. Sadly, as of 2011 (but likely earlier), the trees are no more:
The picture below was taken in Louis and Essie’s home at 6600 Cavendish apartment 1204, likely in the late 1970s. I’m sitting on my uncle Elliot’s lap and Alicia is sitting on my mom’s lap. Besides the funky looking lamp and picture on the wall, all the furniture you see here is still in use (as of January 2015). The dining room set, including china cabinet, table and buffet (not seen from this angle) are in my house along with the screen behind the couch. Essie and Louie bought this screen on a trip to Mexico. I’m not sure how they managed to get it back to Montreal. The couch is in Alicia’s house but it is now a turquoise type of blue, having been thankfully recovered by Essie in the mid 1980s. The cabinet behind my mom is now located at their country house. This really is an example of reduce, reuse and recycle!
I remember that cabinet was a storehouse of memorabilia. One thing I wish I had kept were some old newspapers including the last Montreal Star which was published on September 25, 1979.
It’s often said that it’s a small world and in the Jewish community it’s even smaller. The story begins when my grandfather Louis Gomberg was dating my grandmother Essie Fox. One day when Louis was over at Essie’s place, he saw this picture on the wall.
Louis was shocked when he saw the picture – his mother and uncle were in the picture! What was this picture doing in Essie’s home? It was a class picture of immigrants to Montreal. I believe they may have been learning English together. Essie’s father, Solomon was also in this picture. The version below is zoomed in on the left side and the three of them are labelled – Solomon Fox (Essie’s father), Esther Lesser (Louis’s mother) and Joseph Lesser (Esther’s brother).
What is most interesting and heartbreaking at the same time is that while Esther and Solomon’s children would go on to marry each other, they likely never saw each other after this class. Esther was diagnosed with diabetes while pregnant with Louis in 1919 and died aged 22 on October 21, 1921 – just 6 months before the discovery of insulin which might have saved her life.
Louis also had a copy of this picture, one of the few mementos and pictures that he had of his mother.
We visited my grandparents in Florida numerous times over the years. Essie and Louis first rented in Century Village, Deerfield for a few years until they decided to buy in Century Village, Boca Raton around 1980. It is amazing that we didn’t start a war with 7 of us staying for over a week in a 2 bedroom condo. Each street in Century Village was made up of 3 to 5 buildings with a shared pool in the middle. For the first several years that we stayed there, the pool was not heated. I recall that on the cooler days we went to one of the other streets that had a heated pool. In order to give us something else to do, Essie borrowed an adult tricycle from her sister-in-law, my great-aunt Phyllis Fox.
I recall driving this thing around. I was about 6 or 7 the first time I used it and I’ll tell you that I wasn’t the right size for it, not even close!
It appears that I rode the bike while Alicia sat on the seat and Darcie had a nice ride in the basket. Back in 1993 after Darcie’s bat mitzvah, my grandmothers were having a lively discussion about various things including this biking adventure in Florida. It seems that Essie thought Alicia had an easy ride but Alicia seemed to recall that she straddled the bar. If the picture above is any indication, I seem to be the one on the bar!
Since my dad had the video camera running during the Essie and Betty conversation, you can hear for yourself what Essie had to say: