Attitude and Gratitude: Epilogue

I related previously in my memoirs events through 1986 that I felt would prove interesting to the reader; except for unusual occurrences that were part of my life that took place subsequent to that date. I omitted events i.e. weddings, bar and bat-mitzvas and births which are part of all families; not only mine.

Now, I would like to express my philosophy of life which strengthened me throughout my 90 years of existence.

Whether this attitude is a reflection of genetics, environment or a strong belief in God is difficult to ascertain. Perhaps, it is all three. As far as genetics is concerned, I feel that I inherited my father’s genes. He was a man who earned very little money in his life and could care less. He loved music and spent much of his idle time reading. His family was the source of his happiness. He had a great sense of humor and would amuse us with tales of his boyhood and his serving in the Russian Army. Never did we hear any complaints or regrets relative to his service. He would tell us about his love affair with a girl as a single man while he was stationed in an armory close to this girl whose name was Chasha.

It is quite possible that I inherited this attitude as I served in the U.S. Navy during World War 2 and I too never complained nor regretted my enlisting, nor service. Fortunately, two of my siblings joined me in his philosophy of life that imbued us with a zest for life and created three happy individuals. However, my mother was not a very happy person. Although she was a very intelligent woman, her glass was always half empty. In her case, genetics played a very important role in her life. Whenever she was down in spirits, I remember my father saying “what can you expect from Sarah’s daughter?” Unfortunately, one sibling inherited her disposition and met a tragic and untimely death. I always say that I inherited her aggressiveness. If I had inherited my father’s aggressiveness, I would have been satisfied to get a job in civil service. As I stated in these memoirs, if my mother was the wage earner, we would have been better off financially. Thus, I was fortunate in inheriting the best of both parents.

As regards environment, my home was neither a sad home nor a jovial abode. Considering the fact that I grew up in the midst of a severe economic depression, it is amazing that we experienced many jolly moments. My mother, although a very serious person, would make us laugh with her excellent imitations of people we knew. In addition, I still repeat to my children and grandchildren her frequent sayings that were wise and funny. Thus, as you can surmise, she was not always sad. Perhaps the fact that my two sisters never married did not add to her happiness.

My father’s disposition was quite different. It is possible that there were events in his life that were not joyful; however, he reacted differently. I assume that since he could not control these happenings, he accepted the adage “if you can’t beat them, join them.” As a teenager, my sibling relationship was mainly with my sister, Irene. While attending City College at Lexington Avenue and 23rd Street, she and I would travel together daily. We walked to the subway station and traveled on the subway together; she getting off one station before mine.

My strong faith in God may have been the most powerful in structuring my attitude and philosophy of life. From the earliest phase of my life, He has been a spiritual part of me. I have always felt that I have two fathers – my biological and spiritual. My love for and dependence on both permeates my being. Since I attribute some events, good or bad, in my life to Him, I feel they were beyond my control. Thus, my attitude is fashioned based on His desires. Now you know why I titled my memoirs, “Attitude and Gratitude.”

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