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Always We’re All Connected in My Family from Beginning to End – Where We’re From – We’re Always Connected

September 9, 2017

My Father’s Father    Miss Them  Always  – Rudolf Loeb

We’re All Connected in My Family From Beginning to End  –  Where We’re From  –  Always

 

 

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“When I’m in the neighborhood, I make a point of walking down Franklin Street and stopping in front of No. 73. It’s a Victorian building, now being gutted. The gray paint on the front door is chipped, the door’s round, brass handle, scratched and shiny from decades of use. Painted, cast-iron columns still flank the entrance. On one of them is a handsome plaque with the number “73.”

My family used to have a lace importing and manufacturing business in this building. In fact, they may have owned it. I don’t know for sure, but I do know that my grandfather, Rudolf Loeb, used to work there. After he emigrated to the United States from Germany in the late 19th century, he was employed in the family business, where he learned the trade before opening his own factory for the manufacture of embroidered curtains and bedspreads.

So I stop at No. 73 Franklin St. to visit with my grandfather. He died 71 years ago, but sometimes I can still feel his presence there. Yesterday, I ascended the worn, iron steps at the entrance to the building and peered through the dirty glass in the front door. Inside, the high-ceilinged room was completely empty, stripped of any vestige of the past. I lingered for several minutes, but I felt as though my grandfather had departed.

I descended the steps to the street and turned to look back, one last time. And then I saw something strange. At my feet, a half-smoked cigar was lying on the sidewalk, directly in front of the entrance to the building. Next to it, clinging to the iron filigree of the step, was a feather. It wasn’t the coarse, strong, wing feather of a pigeon. It was delicate and downy.

My grandfather used to smoke cigars. When I was little, he would give me the paper cigar rings to wear. And then he would blow smoke rings for me, and I would prance around the room, trying to catch them on my finger.

I was only three years old when he died, but I remember this so well.

As I continued down the street, I knew. My grandfather hadn’t left No. 73 Franklin St. after all. He was still there.”

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