Author Archive

Gnaddie. Gnaddie. Gnaddie.

I remember in the sad and fragile period after Mikey died, when I was so certain that my father’s heart was irreversibly broken, with what surprise and relief I realized that ... read more...


Coconut hairs in my mouth

If my father saw a blind man stranded at the curb of a busy intersection, he would stop his car in the middle of traffic and, unconcerned by honking horns and screaming motori... read more...


You Make a Better Door than a Window

Samuel Reuben delighted in delighting his children. We knew how very much we were loved by him, and we had the good sense to appreciate what we had. From his deliberately obtu... read more...


Sleeping Sam Stories

Samuel Reuben had an incredible mind. It danced forward, backward, up and down on a tightrope of unpredictability, always surprising, delighting, never losing its sense of tim... read more...


You are my daughter

January 5, 1975 Dear Shelly, There is a blanket of snow over everything outside. It is great for making snowballs and temporary fortifications, also igloos… Chucky is going... read more...


Iconoclastic observations

General Headquarters Office of Samuel Reuben June 17, 1974 Dear Selma, Shelly, Linda & Chucky, I am writing this letter in quadruples to insure cooperational uniformity of... read more...


Do you know how Ollie is?

When I called Ollie during my rare trips home, he remembered me. Every time. But I never gave him the chance not to. I always told him that I was Mikey’s sister or Mr. Reuben’... read more...


My father and Ollie

Ever since I left home, I always asked about Ollie when I came back. It wasn’t that it was at the forefront of my mind, or that I had it on any obligatory list of things to do... read more...


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...



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