Remembering Joan Through Her Dogs Roscoe and Pucky on Her Birthday

PORTRAIT OF ROSCOEJoan’s self-drawn portrait of Roscoe, her white terrier and last dog, along with Pucky, below.  Roscoe proudly looks down on Joan in Burt’s living room 

Amazing Pucky 2003 rememberingThe ‘Amazing’ Pucky  , above, during several of her travels with us, and  with Roscoe, above



Remembering Joan Through Her Dogs Roscoe and Pucky on Her Birthday


We thought this year , to remember Joan, on her birthday and first day of summer, June  21,  we’d pay tribute to her through her dogs, while remembering them, too, as they were part and parcel of Joan



              Sister Joan had the BEST DOGS of anyone.   For years I wondered how she found such great dogs- and not just Pucky and Roscoe, her last ones.  It began with Aretha and there were Saphire, Mahlia and others in between – they all had SOUL and Joan’s imprint all over them.


It finally dawned on me years later, that pets are, in part, a product of their guardians. And, Joan , helped them become what they were with her kind, generous, doting ways. I remember when Joan first acquired Pucky – who we later learned was an actual FOX-Chihuahua mix(!) – Pucky was all over the place, much like the  ‘wild’ animal part of her. But, over the years, Pucky became the sweetest dog. Roscoe was always sweet and I called him a little lamb, or ‘Wonder Dog’ as we was so calm and gentle, seemingly heaven sent;  he was like a Buddha and I often wondered if he had a physical spine be was so malleable.



                     Joan walked Roscoe and Pucky everyday, usually once in the morning and once at night and I got to enjoy those outings with them on many occasions.  I never saw dogs get so excited when we announced they would be going for a ‘walk, ‘ or ‘wonder walk.’ Sometimes we had to spell the word lest get them TOO excited when we weren’t quite ready to go. We had such fun walking the beautiful neighborhoods of Berkeley and Oakland, then coming home to Joan’s house to visit.  When Joan was diagnosed with C we would spend evenings on the floor  listening to meditation tapes and trying to will away the evil ‘C.’  And, we never lost hope that it would leave Joan’s body – and that’s what kept Joan going, I believe – her indomitable  spirit. Unlike myself, Joan didn’t seem to let things bother her too much, and was convinced that everything was going to be better- so much so that she had me convinced for awhile.


When Joan would later get very sick and couldn’t walk them anymore, I filled in as best I could to carry on the tradition.  I had promised Joan that I would care for Pucky and Roscoe if anything ever happened to her. When Joan did pass I got a call from her caregiver that  our parents were taking Roscoe and and Pucky to the pound, not wanting to ‘burden’ me with them (which was about as far from the truth – burden??? ).  Thank God, I ran over just in time to ‘rescue’ Pucky and  Roscoe and take them back home with me, against our parents’ wishes.



                    The three years with Roscoe and four with Pucky that followed – both dogs lived to 18 – were among the best years of my life. I have so many great memories of both Roscoe and Pucky… running down the streets of Lafayette together (we had no sidewalks) and hiking through fields of thick brush  when they were still able to get around – and other crazy things I perhaps shouldn’t have done, looking back, but have no regrets as I think we all enjoyed it, although did put ourselves at some risk.


When Roscoe wasn’t able to walk much anymore, he was content staying much of the time in the large bathroom in my house, where there were beds, water and food. (See below Holiday photo) Pucky and I would venture out to the ball field, where Pucky would run perfect ‘figure eights.’  I have no idea where this came from  -maybe the fox in her.  I should have probably taken videos but knew it might be too upsetting to look back years later.  I still have the good memories plus regular photos of her.  We met a lot of friends at the ball field, until one day we were told to stop coming to the field, as if this seven pound dog was doing any damage to it.


xmas pic 2 separate beds rosoe18  'been there done that' pucky 14 14

Roscoe (left) and Pucky in the large back bathroom. Will always treasure this photo and last Christmas together.Of course, that’s Joan’s great drawing of Rosco in background


    During this time, my mother had become very ill and had a bone marrow transplant.  It was with great concern and angst that I travelled to Houston and MD Anderson Hospital seven times in 2000-2001 to visit Mom, leaving the dogs in the hands of a caretaker who came by twice a day.  Roscoe was starting to have a tough time, but I had no other choice; I needed to be there for mom; I just prayed that everything thing would be ok. And, we got through that episode. Eventually, we lost mom but I carried on with the love of Roscoe and Pucky and Joan, which came via the dogs; Joan was omni-present , through the dogs and 16 years later I still feel Joan’s  presence.


I became very worried about Roscoe. He was having seizures where he would rotate in circles for long periods of time. I didn’t see how he would survive them, but , he did. Then one day, somehow, he broke through the fence in the back yard, and ended up, somehow in the creek , far below by house. To this day, I have no idea exactly how he got that far, but I always considered it a blessing. Roscoe was in bad shape and if he had to go, that was the way, in the water. At first I couldn’t even find him – and didn’t even think to look that far – but there  he was , and since the animal control was closed on that sunday, I had to venture  down through the worst brush imaginable to bring up Roscoe’s body. I managed to get a tick on the way, but , somehow , was able to carry him all the way back up the hill.  That was April 10, 2010, just after my birthday.


The next year it was just me and Pucky and Pucky was starting to show signs of slippage , at age 17.  My regular vet was all ready to give up on Pucky’s kidney failure but, casually, happened to mention   Encina Vet, which does doggie dialysis, so to speak, since my regular vet was going to out of town for a few days. Without going to any major ‘life saving’ events,  Pucky was able to hang on and have another year of quality life, during which we had  numerous trips and adventures together and Encina has been a Godsend for us and our animals ever since.  We’ll save that story and the last year with Pucky for , perhaps, later in the year.  It was with great sadness when we ‘put down’ Pucky Oct 4, 2002, just weeks before we lost brother Don (who , by the way, until his dying day would ask about Pucky, as they fought life’s battle together.’ We’ll have more on that for another time , too.


Serious illness can be a terrible thing, but, somehow, we managed to turn the tables and make the best out of a bad situation.(It’s easy for me to say, I’m still here_  Our last years together with Joan, Pucky, Roscoe – and, Don, at his home- were perhaps our best years together. Having a common goal, for Joan and Don, Pucky and Roscoe to beat their illnesses brought us closer together.  Past previous familial petty issues floated away and I can say that we actually had some wonderful times together one wouldn’t normally expect under such circumstances.  Same with Dad in his last years -and Mom, too.


Hard to believe it’s been 16 years now since Joan’s earthly departure. I can still visualize Joan, Pucky and Roscoe as it was yesterday and try to hang on to those images – and memories- trying to live life for all of us. What would Joan think of this? What would Joan do in my place? And, so forth.  I’ve passed on many of Roscoe and Pucky stories and tips to other pet lovers and always enjoy sharing these stories and memories .Just  putting this page together has been very cathartic and, thanks for sharing with us as we think of Joan along with her ‘happy hounds’ Roscoe and Pucky.  If I can gather enough memories and, perhaps any pictures,  would love to share more on Joan’s other dogs, too, as Joan lived through them.


Happy Day Joan, wherever you are. Miss you but will always appreciate the wonderful years you DID give us/me and your doggies, who were a part of you.





The Amazing Pucky, going on 18 years of age, lower right, still hangin’ in at Pleasant Hill Dog Park , 2002.   I just came across this photo yesterday, going through old boxes as I try to ‘clean up.’ I expect to find more and look forward.  I can actually remember when we came to this park and the larger almost ‘look alike’dog with Pucky


Posted in Joan Kaufman, Pucky, Roscoe | 2 Comments

Anonymous Patient’s Tribute to Jerry on Father’s Day 2015 – Bartering


"And how do expect to pay for this, Mr Morton?"

“And how do expect to pay for this, Mr Morton?”



Even though we don’t publicize this website, one of Jerry Kaufman’s legions of happy patients found him and left this nice tribute some months back. Nice to share it on Father’s Day, 2015, a touching tribute to him. Not surprised to see this as I/we’ve been stopped many times on the street long after Dad practiced with people thanking/praising him, followed by Dr. Kaufman’s penchant or, shall we say, willingness to accept goods for medical services


‘Jerry Kaufman was one of the finest men I have known–and was by far the best doctor. When I went off to law school, he told me that since I would not have much money, I should just call him when I was sick, so he wouldn’t have to bill me. When the practice of law in a large firm made me physically ill, he talked me out of going on disability. That was the right decision.When my dad died and I was left to care for my blind widowed mother who was 3,000 miles away–and to also deal with my ne’er do well brothers–he said simply, “You’re the father now.” I loved Jerry Kaufman  

– ‘A__’ 


It wasn’t uncommon for Dad (Jerry) to barter for his medical services or offer them free. Among those I remember were the Bergs, who would bring the best home-made pickles I’ve ever had and the nice Italian Deli Man,Morris,  who would bring real Italian salamis and Genova Deli ravioli’s (he worked for Genova in Oakland).

So, many a nights our family dinners were enhanced with these delicacies. I don’t ever remember Dad taking in animals in trade, like the cartoon above, but I’m sure had we lived in farm country, Dad would have considered that, too.


Here’s a recap of   of our last  Father’s Day ‘major’ event together, an excursion across the Bay to Dad’s favorite Romanian Deli and Russian neighborhood in San Francisco.


Russian Bakery with redhead woman walking out. San Francisco, California, USA

Russian Bakery San Francisco, California, USA

Father’s Day June 24, 2011

From Father’s Day to the Hospital and Back

What a week! It was like  the old Helen Reddy song ‘Me against the world’ for awhile but everything’s good again. But, for awhile things were shaky, to say the least – and it wasn’t an earthquake. Credit Dad for yet another remarkable ‘comeback’.
      Sunday , things started out pretty well, Father’s Day. Dad said it was one of his best, though we never quite made it to Muir Woods to see the Giant Redwoods (but maybe this week). We reprised  a favorite journey of Dad’s to San Francisco – re-discovering an old shortcut that saved about 1/2 hour on the way – to the old Russian district. Being of Russian-Rumanian extraction, Dad had rediscovered on our last journey some of the delicacies from his boyhood, particularly cherry veronicas. These are doughy pockets with  cherry filling, not unlike small cherry turnovers, only better. (He’s got me hooked now.) So, there is only one place that makes them and we bought several, to go, after stopping at another Russian deli to sample a variety  of piroshkis, blintzes, poppy seed rolls – but unlike  what you may have had. Excellent!  We continued on across the Golden Gate Bridge, taking in the rustic beauty of the Marin headlands, Sausalito and Mill Valley area before crossing yet a third bridge, the Richmond Bridge, completing the triangle home, where we finished off the Russian delicacies, must me., Dad and Faye (Dad’s primary caretaker).
Dad was also happy this day as he had been ‘promoted’ from Captain to Lieutenant, he said,  receiving a small raise in pension, or whatever you want to call it. .  I was a little concerned that Dad was ‘reaching’ on this one, perhaps some more day dreaming, but in fact, I think he did get some note of recognition in the mail from the Army where he once served; I remember him showing me the Captain silver bar medals years ago.
Caregiver had noted that Dad had not been his old self perhaps the last two weeks.  She didn’t have to tell me and this is why I wanted to get him out this day and the previous four or five. Rather than tire out Dad, we returned home short of planned Muir Woods trip, but at least Dad got out, though he seemed very tired and weak.  I felt like taking Dad to the hospital for a checkup; perhaps he had had a silent mini-stroke of late. Faye suggested we wait another week.
      Next day, Monday, said caregiveer was off to her  weekday  classes and I was caretaker for the day until I would pickup Erwin late afternoon; Erwin would stay until Friday when regular caregiver back from classes in the South Bay.  Dad wasn’t up for going out to lunch so I made him some tuna fish, for the first time in ages, a nice change from the tri-tip sandwiches he had been requesting of late. While eating,  Dad mentioned possibly having a TIA or mni-stroke that morning. I was surprised Dad would admit to something like this – or was he imagining again. I took him at his word and thought it a good opportunity to take him to the hospital, which he agreed to!
       I did call Dad’s old doctor’s office, against his request as much as I hated to upset him. His primary doctor had recently retired and he felt the other doctors were not up to par.  Here we lucked out. Dr. Dowd, one of the old crew, remained on staff and was doing rounds this day at Alta Bates.
I felt rather alone without the help of one of the caretakers – or anyone – as I took Dad to the hospital, all the while praying nothing bad would happen on the way or Dad would change his mind and want to turn around. Well, he did half-heartedly suggest the latter, but I told him we were almost there and it was a good precautionary move and that I was proud of him for bringing up the possible stroke…
       I was able to get Dad past the usual Monday crowd of malingerers  in the emergency waiting room. The wait was about two hours but how could they delay someone with a possible stroke. Don’t put it past them. But, when one of the older nurses recognized Dad – it wasn’t enough that I told the desk person – they rushed him in. The same nurse told the other workers  and from this point on Dad had true VIP treatment  for the most part.   A Dr. Sorrenson ,who was the one who told me Mondays were always bad in ER, also knew Dad and couldn’t have been nicer.
Then Dr. Dowd came by and had a nice reminiscing with Dad, recalling ‘lecturing to each other 30 years ago.’ Dad mentioned the ‘50s and 60s’  upon which Dr. Dowd said ‘ I wish it was still  the 50s and 60s.’
Then the tests… EKG, Neurological and Echo-Cardiogram…
Dad would pass them all, but only after a night’s stay in 6502. This all happened so fast I never got a chance to tell relatives. Just when I was about to, Dad was sprung from the hospital. And, it couldn’t come any sooner for him.

      Dad has seemed to improve each day since being back from Alta Bates, perhaps close to his original state two weeks ago before he started going downhill, if you will. Now to keep up in good health and spirits…. I try to come by every day and take him out for at least a short walk if not a drive somewhere.  So what if my new business ventures will have to go on hold a bit.  Hopefully, with a little help and ‘teamwork’  Dad will be up and running. He just got in his latest JAMA magazine for next Wednesday’s session with his fellow retired Doctor  , this after showing no interest. (I made sure his subscription was renewed)
      I also remembered tuna sandwiches being a family staple years back. I thought it was maybe time to return to this healthy lunch item, along with tomato soup, which I know dad enjoys.  I think that with a good diet and activity  Dad should be good to go for some time.
Erwin, Dad’s #2 care taker, went back to his family in the Phillipines
on Thursday. I can’t believe it’s been almost four years     since he’s been working with Dad – and a gem of a guy.  Joseph will come back to fill his shoes, at least temporarily, Thursdays and Fridays
I’m not one who likes  to tell people what to do but I did  speak up as I felt necessary. I won’t go into details but when it comes to issues of health I will go out of my way to help…

perhaps even helping possible enemies. And, when I see someone not getting attended to correctly , it really bothers me, especially if its someone close to me.
Today, Friday, 6/24, Dad proudly called his sisters to tell them he had not only survived but improved upon his latest hospital visit. I consider that a real success and milestone when Dad can appreciate yet another chance. And this was something for  Dad, not one to pick up the phone often.
It’s been a tough two -plus weeks but the sun is shining again and I hope it will continue for a long time, for Dad and all of us.


Here’s wishing all the Dads out  there a similarly happy Father’s Day! 

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HAPPY 100, JERRY! 11-25-2014

The day that Dad had always aimed for has come – his 100th Birthday, November 25, 2014. He made it just short of 98, as we lost him October 16, 2012, but he lives on in our hearts as we celebrate him today! Here’s one of many inspiration episodes from Dad’s life and times, following one of his many amazing comebacks, this from rectal cancer. I remember Dr. H telling him,  ‘We didn’t get it all but it’s slow growing and something else will probably get you before this will,’ which was true…


dad doing exercise 12-11 w joseph


This beautiful Spring-like morning Dad began the day saying,
‘If I get past today’s appointment
unscathed, I’ll be out in the clear and can begin life anew.’
Not too many people 97 years old – Jerry turned 97 last Friday for those who may have missed it –
speak of ‘starting life anew’ and he has every reason to, but it didn’t come easy.
His rectal cancer surgery, two weeks ago, seemed to go well, but it wasn’t without complication.
Thursday morning , Nov 17, Dad awoke to major bleeding and passed out .
After quick action by the caretaker on duty, Joseph, Dad was taken to the hospital by ambulance,
where he remained several days and five liters of blood later.
He came home three days later with shortness of breath and more bowel problems.
The bowel problems lingered as did the shortness of breath.
On top of that, he had lost some strength, having been bedridden for six days in two weeks.


This past week would be telling as to the future health and life quality of Jerry. Monday morning,Nov. 28, he could barely get out of bed, after a night of light sleep.
He had been sleeping days and wasn’t tired enough to really sleep at night. Tuesday, Nov. 29 was his first physical therapy appointment.
He had little strength or energy but he made it through a series of seated exercises .
All the while our ‘team’ made sure Dad was eating well and moving as much as possible, within reason.
But Jerry was the key team player, who has wanted to ‘return again,’ if he possibly could. Others his age, in a similar predicament, often given up. Not Dad.
Wednesday was his two-week follow-up with the rectal surgeon.
Dr. H gave Dad a good pronouncement, but that he would have to return in four months  for a recheck since future surgery may be necessary, but nothing alarming;
one can get ‘tune-ups,’ as it were. So, that was another hurdle.
Doctor also ruled out that the bleeding after surgery was caused by anything other than
happenstance and nothing that had to do with the patient’s health.
The shortness of breath he believed to be a result of the many fluids given Jerry,  which can temporarily play havoc with one’s heart, temporarily being the key word.
So ,that was more good news.

Dad outside and inside Montclair apartment 12-11, with Burt and visitin old home on hillwood place (lower right)
Friday, today, would be the final and biggest test, as Jerry had an appointment with his cardiac doctor.
At first appearance, Dr. H ( a different Dr H) startled us .
‘You are breathing heavier., aren’t you?’ he said. Jerry sat there, not sure what to say.
Jerry has had an issue with his aortic valve, while not serious enough to date to make it necessary to operate
doctors have been watching it closely.
But then, in a surprise reversal, Dr H changed his mind , after examining Dad.
‘I take it all back.’ I think you’re doing as well as before and I see no reason to do anything differently.
If the time comes when you are really short of breath , you can take these diuretics and call me.’
A final bit of good news… He said that he thought Dad could make it through the heart valve operation –
even at his age, if and when the time came –
and that there is a world-reknown surgeon on staff at Alta Bates-Merritt  that could perform the operation.
After not feeling like eating earlier, Dad announced it was time for lunch and we went down to the Alta Bates Hospital doctors lunch room where he was greeted warmly by many of his old cronies,
none of whom knew what Dad had been through of late (Dad always plays it pretty close to the vest).
They probably just figured here’s that hard-working Dr. Kaufman, still making rounds, the last of a ’dying breed’ (if you will) of doctors – and probably unaware of Jerry’s age, as
Dad was never one to tell anyone his true age since he turned 39 some years ago.
He was one who always worked long hours, long after his younger colleagues had gone home as the clock struck 5 pm
After a grueling week coming out of his rectal cancer surgery, Jerry seems to have the good fortune, biology and determination to have ONCE AGAIN made it back – and to where he was several years ago. With a few more spring-like days out, a little exercise, taking it slow and with postive, good humour, maybe Jerry WILL reach that three-figured pinnacle, but for now, as it’s been for the last five years, ever since his first stroke, one day at a time. Who knew five years ago even that today would come?


From previous year….Looking back

Thanks for sharing and caring.

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Thoughts of Joan on her birthday 6-21-14, Connection with Allan Serman

​Joan’s Portrait of Roscoe on her bed

Hope this finds you well on this first day of summer, June 21, 2-14
Today is also sister Joan’s birthday. She left us many years ago and life hasn’t been quite the same since losing my closest relation and friend. But,  we/I go on. Inspired by her memory and the person she was/is,  we/I try to live my life as best I can   with her a part of it/me.
Joan was a very unique individual, exemplifying the best qualities whether it be her ability to really listen or her empathy or her real common sense when dealing with issues often family-related or otherwise. When there was something troubling me it was often troubling her, too, and she always seemed to understand the situation; even if there was nothing that could be done it would help us deal with the issue simply thru understanding . 
 Joan and I had many common interests; perhaps it was in our blood –  no, I think it was the bond we built up over the years often due to trials and tribulations. One such common interest was music. Joan excelled at the piano.  She was one of the few kids I knew who continued her music – taking lessons for 15 years. Unfortunately, she never went back to it but she always loved music and we would often take rides together to  favorite ‘haunts’ while listening to the soulful strains from Aretha Franklin to Janis Joplin to  Gene Pitney to Jerry Butler to doowop .   When a new record or CD would come out that I knew she would like, I couldn’t wait to bring it along and play in the car on one of our rides, or shall I say ‘cruises’to see her reaction to the new music.
One thing we did NOT have in common was art.  I couldn’t draw my way out of whatever but Joan was excellent, as you can see in her attached portrait of Roscoe ‘the wonder dog’ now featured on my home wall. Roscoe was Joan’s last dog along with his ‘sister’ Pucky.  I need to mention here how Joan had the knack of acquiring the greatest dogs over the years. I think part of it was that they became a product of their guardian, Joan – and she enhanced their great qualities. I would like to talk more about Roscoe and Pucky another time and how I got to enjoy them another four years after Joan’s passing in 1999.

Getting back to music,  I went to hear an author speak last night and thought I’d share some thoughts about ALLAN SHERMAN, the subject of a new book. I don’t remember how Joan took to Sherman but I’m sure she would have appreciated his sometimes cynical lyrics that poked fun at Jews, if not the music itself.  Joan and I had our own  ‘run-ins’ with the religion in our formative years and it helped to listen to Sherman’s own versions. Dad, I know, was a big fan of Sherman’s as was Mom. It was music for all ages, really.  Don was perhaps  a bit young.
As a kid in the early 60s there were two popular songs  that I memorized all the way through. One was the ‘Dodgers Song’ by Danny Kaye (even though I was a Giants fan at the time – and they DID beat out the Dodgers that year) and ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah,’ by Allan Sherman.
A year before ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah,’ there was the breakout album for Sherman, ‘My Son The Folksinger,’ which was really parodying the Jewish culture in America at the time. I remember   relatives gathering around the cardtable in our living room  , actually LISTENING to ‘My Zelda’ (from Belafonte’s ‘Matilda’), ‘Sarah Jackman’ (from Frera Jacques), ‘Streets of Miami’ instead of ‘Streets of Loredo,’ etc. as Sherman both celebrated Jewishness while aptly skewering parts of it at the same time.  It was perhaps the first such ethnic album that became popular with mainstream America, in 1962; even President Kennedy, an Irish Catholic, enjoyed   the album.  I loved it, too, initially   more for the music than the lyrics, most of which I did not understand at the time, but there was something very different and special about this ‘sound’ that Sherman gave us  It certainly brought our family together for one of the few times, again, really LISTENING rather than trying to out-talk one another.

Sherman with President Kennedy, a big fan

If my family had ‘rough  edges,’ Allan Sherman’s had many more. He may have only gotten through the many family moves, parental shifts and so forth by describing the craziness of it all through his writings, and , later, the musical parodies that would hit big  .
He would go on to have three No. 1 albums within a year- My son The Folksinger, My Son the Nut and My Son the Celebrity.’ Though I have only begun the book I am already taken back to my own similar experiences growing up around the kitchen table, being encouraged to ‘eat eat’  and ‘clean your plate’ or in Yiddish, ‘ess, ess,’ while being told it’s better to be seen than heard. So, I took a back seat and witnessed the Jewish culture around me with mixed emotions – a wonderful, historical past with rich, intellectual properties yet sometimes with  the less-desired aspects shoved down my throat.
Sherman’s sordid yet colorful past gave him the ideal life experiences for which he would become famous in the musical parodies he wrote. We learn that those parodies were his means of expression, throwing off  the his  mother’s ‘chains of bondage,’ as it were , as well as other dissatisfactions growing up- all not always Jewish ones. It was not all ethnic, either, as Sherman also mocks the new artificial suburbia that was taking over American in the early Sixties in songs like ‘Here’s to the Crabgrass.’
Mark Cohen takes a subject, Allan Sherman, who has never really been written about in any depth  before, and not only brings him and the ’60s time period back to life in ‘Overweight Sensation ‘ but gives us a very detailed, well researched, documented and footnoted treatise on Sherman and that era.  Cohen has been able to gain access to not only the Sherman estate archives but many of the people who knew him – while they are still with us. The only thing missing from the book are actual multi-media samples of audio and video of Sherman; of course those are obtained through various sources like Youtube; we have also put some up on our tribute to Sherman and this book   It was as if Sherman was right there in the room as Cohen played some of his favorite Sherman parodies and even interview clips with Sherman.
Whether you remember Allan Sherman or not, this book is a fantastic historical time capsule that will bring back memories and a real look into a man who turned his tortured upbringing into a uniquely positive contribution to society and opened doors not only for Jewish but   ethnic group acceptance into mainstream culture. Allan Sherman is pretty much forgotten or unknown  to most  today, other than for his  small resurgence due to this book , but in 1962-1963 he was the biggest thing in comedy, if not music.
Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts on this sometimes difficult day. 


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Memorable Memorial Day – Honoring Family and Veterans from Historic Mountain View Cemetary, Oakland, CA 5-26-14

5-26-14 A special day.I wanted to do something for my family that I hadn’t done. That was spending most of a full day at the cemetary with them. I had only visited once before – perhaps I couldn’t handle it or wasn’t ready – but the experience today was a lot more positive than I expected, as noted below. It gave me a good feeling and I almost felt they were right there with me again. I will repeat this more often, now and look forward to being with the Kaufman family again soon. It does bring some comfort and perhaps -I hate to use the trite word but…closure.








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Remembering Moms and Our Mother on Mother’s Day, 2014 – Her Good Deeds


Wishing you and yours a Happy Day as we honor Moms for all they do, including bringing
us into the world to make it all possible for us. Such can be said for my Grandmothers
Rose and also remembering Aunt Annette among  more immediate circle of relatives,
and, of course, my own mother, Pauline, who is greatly missed. (I like to remember her
and others no longer with us on special days like this. Sister Joan was the best pet ‘mother’ I’ve known; she raised  many happy, wonderful dogs over the years including her last, Pucky and Roscoe. She was also popular ‘mother’    to get through to many Oakland school students.

Celebrated yesterday with Mindy, and her mother, Joyce at the Oakland Zoo, where we saw many other mothers of various species including bats, giraffes, elephants, walabees (in an Australian section), but, most notably the primates, for whom the Oakland Zoo has one of the best offerings… baboons, chimpanzees, gibbons, etc. and especially the lemur ‘sanctuary’ were of great interest.  Mindy is mother to Hershey, wonderful chocolate lab
and the late Stormy and Amber, still with us in spirit as our other departed friends and relatives.    I shared with Mindy and her mother some letters written to me by Mom and Dad, recently come upon while cleaning house and some relatives, too.  Those involved may remember.

Also , thought of how Pauline was ‘mother’ to many lively seniors at the resident Coit Hotel in Oakland during the Sixties and Seventies. My parents treated ‘Goldie,’Mr.Goldman and the ‘lobbyists'(as I called them) gang just like parents, giving them a lot for the $52 HUD monthly rent they paid.  Memories…  And, that got me to thinking of how Mom finally got the city of Oakland to bury the telephone wires below ground so as not to obstruct the beautiful resevoir/fountain views, as well as finally paving the roads; sadly, she had passed away by the time the city actually did the work.

And, speaking of memories especially for us folks who remember the Fifties… a few more , courtesy of Uncle Al and Diamond Films : 
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A New Year’s Blessing to the Kaufmans and Others No Longer With Us

God, we thank You for the gift of memory which unites generation to generation. This hour of memorial bids us be mindful of the  hour which will call us to the realm of eternal rest and gather us to our ancestors, to all the unnumbered generations that have gone before us.

We remember DON, JOAN, PAULINE, JERRY, furry friends and all our beloved who have already reached the goal where we are tending.  We think of the days when they were with us and we rejoiced in the blessing of their companionship  and affection. They are near us even now, though   years have passed over their graves.


IN MEMORY OF JERRY and Other Fathers

Your memory, my dear father, fills my soul at this solemn hour. It revives in me thoughts of the love and friendliness which you bestowed on me. The thought of you inspires me to a life of virtue  until I am again with you .  May God reward you for the faithfulness and kindness you have ever shown me, God grant you eternal peace.


IN MEMORY OF PAULINE and Other Mothers

I remember you in this solemn hour, my dear mother. I remember the days when you did dwell on earth, and your tender love watched over me like a guardian angel. You have gone from me, but the bondwhich unites our souls can never be severed; your image lives within my heart. May God reward  you for the faithfulness and kindness you have ever shown me and grant you eternal peace.



I remember you in this solemn hour, my beloved brother, sister, pets and friends. I remember the days when we lived together in happy companionship and your loving friendship were my delight and support. Though you have gone from me, your image abides with me. I think of you  with gratitude and bless your memory for all the devotion you did show me. May God bless you with everlasting joy, keep you and grant you eternal bliss. Amen.

Here’s a short service you might enjoy, accompanied with accordian (!)  and other instruments and vocals. Just click on the accordian below

Remembering dear Joan, Don, Mom (Pauline),  Dad (Jerry) and indulge me also in remembering our many Furry Friends (we will honor more at another time>) Thinking of them all especially often this year .  It’s hit me harder than ever this year, now, since all my family members are gone from the earth, yet…

So Long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember Pauline, Jerry, Joan and Don and favorite furry friends.


In the rising of the sun and its going down, we remember them.

In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them

In the opening buds and the rebirth of spring, we remember them

In the blueness of the sky and the warmth of summer, we remember them

In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them

In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.

When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them

When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them

So Long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember Pauline, Jerry, Joan and Don and favorite furry friends  (and for others reading this…for your own people you have loved and lost)




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Happy Mother’s Day 5-13 – To Pauline and all the Mothers

Remembering Mom, Pauline Kaufman.  Thinking of her especially often this year along with rest of my family. It’s hit me harder than ever now, since all my family members are gone , yet

So Long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember Pauline, Jerry, Joan and Don and favorite furry friends.

In the rising of the sun and its going down, we remember them.

In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them

In the opening buds and the rebirth of spring, we remember them

In the blueness of the sky and the warmth of summer, we remember them

In the rustling of leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them

In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.

When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them

When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them

So Long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember Pauline, Jerry, Joan and Don and favorite furry friends  (and for others reading this…for your own people you have loved and lost)

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Happy Summer, Remembering Joan (65)

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ONE MONTH LATER-A Few Random Thoughts of Dad

11-15-12 Now a month since Dad’s passing, I’ve been thinking a lot about Dad and some of the things that were so endearing about him…and that I miss.

1)  DAD had it together. He always knew what he wanted and went about his business. Even when he was very sick he still ‘called the shots’  as it were. I was impressed, even if I was still ‘his little boy’ sometimes, not always getting the respect I thought I deserved.

2) Dad never gave up. Though on occasions he would seem so frustrated it would make me very sad I knew that Dad was always in it for the long haul.  Imagine having to deal with people who have given up, just waiting out the days.  With Dad there was always hope, which helped sustained US – his caregivers.  And that’s one other thing, I’d like to compliment all the caregivers, who, unlike some of the nursing staff, NEVER GAVE UP on Dad. That really meant a lot to me, and Dad. No negative thinking (even though we would hear it in the halls, we are all very positive… and with good reason. Dad had bounced back many times and could always do it again…. and did!)  It would have been very sad to see them do that, so  they helped sustain ME. We all worked hard until the last day helping Dad keep going, with the hope of getting better… and he had gotten better many times through this process and positive thinking!!

3.) HUMOR – As I’ve mentioned before, Dad was always a hit with us and the nurses. Even when he wasn’t feeling well he would come up with some good jokes – and unintentional things that made us laugh, such as his new ways of saying things. When perhaps his memory failed a bit he would ask usto lower the elevator,’ ie to make his recliner go down, or, to ‘put me on the floor.’ meaning to lower the bed. Until we understood such expressions we were a bit alarmed, but, no, Dad never showed signs of real dimentia, just a lilttle confusion and loss of memory at times – but I thought the new ways he had of saying things were almost better than the old ones…

4.) Dad never dud go on hospice. Not that hospice is a bad thing, but NOT going on it enabled us to keep the hope alive and the therapy coming. Dad actually was able to stand on his own feet up until the last days (sure we had to help lift him up), but there was always therapy -even if we had to do it ourselves, with the hope of Dad getting stronger again, as he had the months before at Manor Care after many had already given up on him.

4.) Last night I was in the area and drove by Dad’s old apartment. It was hard at first , but then I’m glad I did.  It was night and there were no lights on in the apartment and the window blinds were not even closed. It was as though nobody was there to take his place; the apartment was just waiting, perhaps, for Dad to return…

Luckily, we had many good years together, which are still with me and may always be…  Yes, I will return to Costco again, though it will be sad after the many trips we took there together.  Same for the restaurants like Sizzler, Crogran’s , Grill One, Montclair Bistro…but I WILL go back and have some good bittersweet memories



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