Monday, January 26, 2015

In Loving Memory of Meyer Millman

Today marks the 17th anniversary of my father's death. Serendipitous that my brother Bruce was over yesterday to look through the boxes of army memorabilia that Dad had saved. Sifting through the boxes of photos and postcards from every city he served in, letters (in triplicate) of every order he received or authorized, army-issued books and maps, and even telegrams to our mother, gave us a glimpse of the man he was and the father he was to become.

Coincidently, two days ago I also came across the eulogy I had given at his funeral. I am proud to remember him here, again with those words:

Though a communicator by profession, how hard it is for me to stand up here and convey to you my love for my father and what made him a very special person.

The consummate educator, he taught me many things that have guided and shaped my life and how, hopefully, shape the lives of his grandchildren.

He taught me to be passionate about work, for he truly put his heart and soul into his job. He was dedicated to his students, to his teachers, and to his building.

An honorable man, he taught me right from wrong. His ethics were grounded in his Jewish background and his love of Judaism—which he passed along to me.

He taught me that family comes first. There was always time for us, even after a long day's fight with the district office.

He also taught me that:

  • Money doesn't grown on trees;
  • We don't own the utility company;
  • I wasn't born in a barn;
  • If something is worth doing, it's worth doing right;
  • I could be anything I wanted...though he advised me against being a teacher...but I have to work hard to get what I wanted.
I would like to read from Psalm 15, which describes the character of a man worthy to come into the presence of God. I think my father was such.

Adonai, who shall sojourn in thy tabernacle?
Who shall dwell upon thy holy mountain?

He that walks uprightly, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
That has no slander upon his tongue,
Nor does evil to his fellow,
Nor makes a false charge against his neighbor.
In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
But he honors them that fear Adonai.
He keeps his promise at all costs, and changes not.
He that lends not his money on interest,
Nor takes a bribe to injure the innocent.
He that does these things shall never be moved.

He was a supportive and good husband; a loving father and grandfather. I still miss his calm demeanor, his warm embrace, and his wry (and sometimes dirty) sense of humor. 

Pops, I love you.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Looking Forward to The New Year

Doug and I were fortunate to usher in 2015 singing and dancing with friends at Maggianos—a different experience, to be sure, which hopefully augurs a different and promising new year.

The last few years we have been focused on taking care of parents, on illness, on death and mourning. We've experienced a lot of losses, including both our mothers, one of our dearest friends, and a childhood home. As we've closed out our parents' estates, we've had to get rid of objects that bring back many memories of better times; the good news is that we've also learned that a lot of those "things" are merely that—just stuff. I don't think either of us ever truly appreciated the value of our temple's bazaar, Goodwill, and Craig's list prior to this last year. And how wonderful that our children are now of an age to have apartments of their own; it's quite liberating to get rid of our "crap" and pass it along to them!

Sadly during the last few years, we've had to neglect some of our friends, our home and yard, and even ourselves. There are friends who have taken us off of speed dial, if not deleted us completely from their devices. Perhaps our deletion felt as liberating to them as our getting rid of stuff was to us! I can only hope so. We do, however, regret that we are no longer part of their lives. It's easy to let go of things, not so much people.

Hobbies over the last few years have gone by the wayside. While Doug has continued to play tennis, and I have continued with my book club (thank you my dear ladies for keeping me sane!), I think we both have misplaced some of our passions about other interests.

So as we start 2015, I think we are both ready to shred our shrouds and don brighter colors and, more importantly, refocus on those areas of our lives we have neglected. As a friend (depressingly) reminded me on New Year's Eve, we only 20-40 years left. So, we'd better make each day count.

I'm not big on new year's resolutions (mostly because I seem to break them and/or forget about them by day 2), but I am big about thinking about what my future might look like and what changes need to be made to get closer to that dream.

As a first step, we are changing our environment. Those who know me well know that I have been talking about renovating our kitchen for at least 10 years. We learned (from the same wise friend who reminded me on New Year's Eve about living in the moment) that when you renovate you should work from the top down. If you've been to our house, you also know that our lovely pink bathroom (original to our 1960s home), which is right over our kitchen, is in desperate need of a redo. And, as long as we have a contractor coming in, we might as well fix the den...right?...which has cracked floor tiles held together with clear packing tape, sliding doors with gel leaves on them so no one walks through the glass, and early American-style built-in bookcases (UGLY).

The most exciting part of the renovation will be the installation of a pocket door that will contain a stained glass door from my mother's house. That door holds a lot of memories, and I am happy that our entire family (and friends) will be able to continue enjoying it.

More changes to come—outward and inward. I am, indeed, looking forward to 2015!