Blog – Heroes

The facilitator in the writing course I am taking makes suggestions about what to write about.

One of the suggestions this week was to write about your hero.  I am not big on heroes

The only public figure I have who I consider a hero is Jackie Robinson.  I saw him in person a few times at the old Brooklyn ballpark, Ebbetts Field, and he once addressed an assembly at my public school.  Jackie overcame a tremendous amount of hostility to become the great person and great baseball player that he became.  He was a great athlete, a fearless and  highly intelligent person and a he set a wonderful example for both young and old.  When people asked me who my hero was, the only name that came to mind immediately was Jackie Robinson.

After thinking about it I realized I did have other heroes.  My other heroes are all relatives.

My aunt, Bertha,  became a widow at around 40 years of age.  She had 4 children, ages 2, 4, 6, and 8 when she lost her husband, my uncle Benny.  Because of the ages of her children she could not work.  She had almost no skills that were transferrable to a decent paying job.  Life gave her lemons but I didn’t know that and she didn’t act like it.  When I visited my aunt and cousins I always had a great time.  I did not know that  they were poor.  I remember a lot of smiling,  laughing and pure joy.  My aunt and my four cousins were always special to me and I don’t know if I ever told them that.  The four of them all went on to become college graduates and they have either seven or eight degrees between them.

My dad was a housepainter, about 5ft 4in tall , considered very intelligent.  When I was growing up he worked an average of 50 – 60 hours every week to support his family. He had a wonderful sense of humor and personality.  To look at him you wouldn’t think he could be tough as nails.  We lived in a very tough neighborhood in Brooklyn.  When he was 50 years he fought off a mugger armed with a knife.  Dad looked like an easy mark but the mugger didn’t stand a chance.  At the age of 71, he stopped a young thug from stealing an elderly woman’s purse.  He tackled the thug and held him on the ground until the police came.  When the police arrived they told my father he should have been a cop.  He told them he was too short.

My biggest hero is my wife, Kathy.  She refused to let life knock her down.  She believed God would not give her more than she could handle. She handled epilepsy throughout her life and cancer at the end of her life with more courage and grace than you would expect any person to have.    She did not treat people as she would wish to be treated.  She treated people better than she wished to be treated.  If you needed a friend she would be your best friend. Whatever you needed she would be there for you.  You wouldn’t think of it to look at her, but, Kat was tough, too,  just like dad.  Maybe that is why they got along so well.  To perform her job as a caseworker she fearlessly walked through the most dangerous neighborhoods in Brooklyn as a young, beautiful woman.  She fought off a mugger who tried to steal her purse in the NYC subway system while she was 7 months pregnant.   If you read my writing  since her passing you know the life she gave me.  How could she not be my hero?

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