I just came back from an impromptu trip to Fort Lauderdale to attend the funeral service for my grandfather, Israel “Irving” Liss. He was born in a small town in Russia on December 20, 1917, and survived a pogram, emmigration to Israel, and eventually moved to Brooklyn. He was a professional soccer player, playing for the New York Americans after coming back from decorated service in the 101st Airborne paratroopers. And I did not know most of this a week ago.
For reasons which still aren’t apparent to me now, familial estrangement kept me from knowing my grandfather as well as I would have liked. I do remember his dry humor, his penchant for anything vintage or collectable, and his kindness to me, no matter what the circumstances. I’m happy to have reconnected with my uncle and cousins… But I think I’d be foolish not to carry a lesson away from all of this: never take your family for granted, you only get one of them, and it’s surprising the things you wished you knew about them until it’s too late.
*Update: I put an entire set of photos online of this, and am posting more as I receive them — *