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: