Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Tales from the Old Country II - The Jazz Singer

My father's grandfather was a successful businessman. He owned a small leather goods factory and when he found out that his eldest son did not want to take over the family business he was very disappointed. However, when he found out that instead, his son wanted to be a jazz saxophone player he became apoplectic. "A respectable Jew does not play jazz in taverns!" Harsh words were spoken and my great uncle was thrown out of the family and disowned.

The young man got on a boat and came to America, but he wasn't really able to make ends meet so when the US entered WWI, he enlisted. Some time later he was killed in battle.

Meanwhile, the situation in the Ukraine was dire. Due to the Civil War, famine and disease were ravaging the land. My great grandfather's factory was confiscated by the Communists and the family was in trouble.

Miraculously, the US government found our family and paid them death benefits throughout the famine, essentially saving the family from starvation. And my great grandmother never forgave her husband for throwing her son out of his house.


Blogger Shoshana said...

It goes to show that we show nurture our children's dreams. I hope to do so for my children.

I'm around - lurking a bit, will probably be back to blogging next week.

February 02, 2006 6:37 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Yeah, it's a tough balance because you also can't just say to your child - whatever you want is OK. It's a tough relationship, parent and child. On the one hand, a child eventually becomes independent and should have a right to decide their own future. On the other hand, it's tough being a parent and basically giving so much of yourself for so many years and then being asked to stand aside.

Although even if my child decided to do something that I completely didn't approve of, I don't know if I would have the heart to totally sever all ties.

February 02, 2006 7:26 AM  
Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

My goodness, this is the second disowning story I'm reading on blogs. Both families come from the same area of the world... Which leads me to believe that disownership is probably more of a cultural tradition (if I can call it that) than a real necessity... Then again, I may be wrong. However, these days I see parents being a lot more tolerant to their children's choices than "in the old days". I think you're right, and parents should figure out where to draw the line. Excessive permissiveness is not a sign of love. I have no idea what my children would have to do for me to disown them; I don't even have children yet. But it must be an incredibly difficult thing to do - and probably not very helpful in the long run.

February 02, 2006 9:22 AM  

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