07 October 2005

Rememberin' Sam

How time changes things. It used to be I'd feel guilty for not posting once a month. Now 10 days go by, and I start wondering why I'm ignoring the ol' blog. Not that I think I've got a devoted daily readership, but it's nice to know that folks who do drop by get a new experience with each visit.

Things haven't been all sunshine and roses lately. My great-uncle Sam Bushman passed away almost 2 weeks ago. We found out he'd been admitted to the hospital on Saturday 9/24 after pretty much not eating for two weeks. He was in the late stages of throat cancer and could barely speak. He wasn't conscious when we came to see him the next day, but it was nice to say goodbye while he was still breathing. He lived long enough to catch the entire Eagles-Raiders game, including the thrilling finish when David Akers kicked through the winning field goal with a torn hammy.

Sam was one of the original old-school press agents in Philadelphia. He worked pretty much up until the end, at 91, on his old manual typewriter. His passing got mentions in both the Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Here's Inquirer blogger Dan Rubin's piece on his passing.

Neat stuff, but I only knew about it all peripherally. Sam and my late grandfather, Lester, weren't very close despite their proximity. I saw Sam once a year or so at Passover or Rosh Hashanah. I was one of the chuppah holders at his wedding to Brenda Freedman (who attended high school with my father). Sam talked about his work as much as Grandpa Les showed off his artwork, which is to say never. He was always more interested in what his nephews and nieces were doing with their lives.

At the funeral, I found out that he had been very close with Brenda's nieces (given Sam and Brenda's age disparity, this wasn't too surprising), but it was very strange to hear tales told about an uncle that I didn't really know. Strange in a good way, that is. I felt a little guilty sitting in one of the dozen or so "mourner's chairs" when these folks who knew the man so much better than I were standing. I wish I'd had longer to talk to the nieces, but I had to get Howie back to the airport. Perhaps another time.

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