My Adolescent and Early School Years
I define my teenage years as beginning when I reached 9th grade and turning 13 years old. This was a pivotal time in my life. My Dad had leukemia and I was just beginning to realize that something was really wrong with his health yet not yet fully understanding the ramifications of that illness would have on my family. I recall that at least once a year he would be admitted to the hospital for a blood transfusion. Upon returning home he would be tired and required much rest and took numerous medicines. All of the medication he took made a lasting impression on me throughout my life. While I take medication I have always done so judiciously and as for the last resort. My Mom commented often that Dad should not take so much medicine and it has stayed with me all of my life.
1959 was very much a pivotal time in my life. I turned 13 and in the Jewish religion, I was to be regarded as ready to observe religious precepts and be eligible to take part in public worship. I studied intensely for 1 year in order to do a complete Sabbath service and read from the Torah and also a Haftarah. The Haftarah reading follows the Torah reading on the Sabbath. The Temple was full of my family and friends and I was really nervous. As an aside, my dad took me to Diamond Brothers for my first suit. It was a hand tailored 3 piece suit, that I had to return 3 times for the fittings. I really felt like a grown up and for the rest of my life I would say " if you can't impress them with what you know impress them with the way you look". I believe that I was flawless in conducting the service, at least that what I was told by all. That evening the dinner party was held at the Walnut Park Plaza Hotel in the Ballroom. I do not remember what was served but I do remember there was much caviar and it was the first time that I was exposed to the delicacy. There was a dance band that played 50's music so I concluded that this party was as much for my parents, family and their friends as it was for me and my friends.