Tuesday, September 29, 2009

[Kol Nidre, My Grandpa Abe and The Fires Burning in Iran, Paki/Afgan, The Palisade's Air & Hollywood's Magical Spirit]

Lewis Haidt remembers his grandpa,
Abe Haidt

This High Holiday season, I find myself reflecting on the life of Abraham Haidt, my paternal grandfather. Abe was born in 1917 and grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

He was the second child to my great-grandfather, Samuel Haidt, a man who had three wives and four children. Abe’s mother, Rose, (Samuel’s second wife) died in the flu epidemic of 1918. Samuel soon married Rose’s sister, Rebecca Davidson. Samuel’s last two kids - my great-aunt Frances and great-uncle Harold (the baby) Haidt - were born.

It was the height of the Depression.

After Samuel’s death in 1936, Abe helped the family, dropped out of school and found a job. His siblings were able to finish high school and go on to college. My grandfather joined the Army. When World War II began, he re-enlisted and served in Europe. He received the Bronze Star (Ed. Note: 5313 stars awarded to division for WWII service) and France’s Croix de Guerre medal.

In my 20s, as an aspiring independent producer, my focus was on my Great Aunt’s glamour, her Chelsea penthouse and larger-than-life personality. I wish that my focus had expanded; that my grandpa and I had time to share stories, just to listen more to each other. I was too young, too seduced by my own magical thinking, too myopic to give him the psychic due credit, far too imbalanced in my attention and focus.

This quiet gentleman in front of me was ignored.

But now he has received some long over-due recognition and my gratitude, respect and love.

(re-published from Ikar 5770 Yizkor Book (Memorial testimony for deceased family and friends - 250 word limit. Title added.)