Author Archive

The natural history of the soul

What follows is the first letter I received from my father after my brother, Michael, died. April 3, 1974 Dear Shelly, When nature has work to be done, she creat... read more...


Good morning, Sam

My brother, Mikey, died on a beautiful day. The temperature was eighty degrees. He had borrowed his friend’s raft. It was a delicious spring morning, perfectly suited to float... read more...


A father to the very core of his being

After everyone else had gone home from Michael’s funeral, I stayed on with Mom, Dad and my brother Chucky, and I learned more about dignity from my Father that week than I eve... read more...


What do you do when you see a mountain cry?

My brother, Michael Asher Reuben, was a talented, passionate, virile, handsome young man who wanted to write scripts, produce movies, compose music and do great deeds. Like ma... read more...


A tough racket …

July 28, 1973 My dear Shelly, Why don’t you give up on New York City and come back to Chicago and Highland Park. Besides that, quit smoking. It is a bad habit and can lead o... read more...


He loved not wisely, but too well

To be a landlord is to be imprisoned in the last form of sanctioned slavery in this country. It is the only job that the worker cannot quit if he so desires. Whether his tenan... read more...


For Sale By Owner

I grew up during the bad years. Urban Renewal had come within block of my father’s buildings. New government-subsidized housing projects were competing with old, store-front ... read more...


Changing neighborhoods

In the early 1900’s, my grandfather, Shepsel Reuben, opened a little general store at 656 Maxwell Street in Chicago. Maxwell Street was an island of pushcarts. To compete with... read more...


Coming to America

Samuel Reuben loved Chicago. When my mother made him leave the gray stucco house at 4907 North Bernard Street, where I was born, and move to the brick Tudor house in Glencoe, ... read more...


My Darling Daughter…

When my father wrote me these letters, I was living in Princeton, New Jersey, commuting to my job in Manhattan, and working part-time at the local airport in exchange for flyi... read more...


Iconoclasm…here we come

Question: What, exactly, was my father? Answer: He was the personification of his favorite word, which he both used and misused with equal delight. First, last, and always, ... read more...


Who knew what "covet" meant anyway?

One thing I always liked most about having been brought up in a conservative Jewish home, was that the religious services I was forced to attend were conducted in Hebrew. Ther... read more...


And bring all of your manuscripts with you

It was infinitely possible for me to leave home and become an adventuress, because I was so secure in the knowledge that my father would always be there for me, would always l... read more...


I am standing behind you to prevent starvation!

AUTHOR NOTE: I don’t know how I happened to get a hold of this next letter, but I’m grateful that it landed up among those I got from my father, even though it was written to ... read more...


What a piece of work is man!

My father and I are the only members of our family unencumbered by a college education. Clearly, the lack of a diploma did Samuel Reuben no harm. November 29, 1970 Dear ... read more...



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