Tillie Silverstein and her eight children (Marcy is second
from right standing in suit) c. 1950-51 (credit: Alan Blair )
My grandfather was Marcy Silverstein. He was born around 1900 as one of six brothers and two sisters to Tillie and Max Silverstein, all of whom are pictured in this photo except Max who died years earlier. The picture was taken at a summer outing in or around Peekskill in 1950-51. Except for Irving, I never saw any of the Silversteins after the early 1960s when Tillie died. I visited Irving, who had changed his name to Silverst at his apartment in San Francisco with my brother, Todd around 1981. I had no further contact with him after that. I thank Julie Blair and her brother Alan for sending me this photo. She’s also noted in a comment below the identification of the brothers in the photo as L to R: Irving, Willie, Jack, Jules, Marcy and Harry.
Marcy married Cele Goldsand and moved from Peekskill to Haverstraw, NY in the early 1920s. My uncle Stanley was born around 1923 and my father, Jule followed in 1925. The children were born at home (of course). My grandfather owned a soda fountain-candy store in downtown Haverstraw. He was active in local Democratic politics and served on the Haverstraw school board (his store was a hangout for local high school students since it was only a few blocks away from the school).
I can remember my uncle Stan telling me that Marcy and Jim Farley, who was the Rockland County Democratic boss and later FDR’s political “fixer” as governor and Postmaster General as president), would get in a car and drive down to Madison Square Garden to see “the fights.”
I remember he sold home heating oil (probably in the winters). He was also a volunteer fireman. I remember one terrifying visit to the local fire station where the firemen eagerly showed off their gleaming red engine and asked me to join them for a ride. A shy, retiring child, I was terrified of the machine and wanted nothing to do with it. Imagine that?! Once I was sitting on Marcy’s front porch when the fire horn rang. It had a distinctive pattern and my grandfather told me that from the number of toots of the horn and the rhythmic pattern you could tell where the fire was and which companies were being called to fight it.
My grandfather also liked to eat oranges peel and all. He had a terrible temper and I can remember hearing him bellow at the top of his lungs even as a small child (very frightening). My father too had a bad temper that could be frightening at times.
What’s interesting about all this is that the Silverstein family essentially scattered to the wind in the late 1960s as far as my immediate family was concerned. But Ruth’s daughter, Julie discovered one of my sites and wrote an e mail asking if I was her long lost cousin, Richard. What followed has become an electrifying and welcome reconnection with the long lost Silverstein side of my family.