IraSez…in the Twilight Zone

Posted by: on Mar 26, 2019 | No Comments

IraSez…in the Twilight Zone

Before I get to the point of this one, here’s a little background info. 10 days ago, my 94-year-old father, who lives in Florida, was taken to the hospital for the 2nd time in the last 2 months. When you get to be that age, one thing leads to another and another, and he’s got a few issues at this point.

I flew down to Florida last Friday and returned home early yesterday. As one of the nurses at the hospital said to me “It’s a good thing the halls aren’t carpeted – you would be wearing them out!” You might say I was pacing the hallways quite a bit.

Now that you have a little background on my life the past few daze, I’ll get to the point.

Sometimes the universe appears to be sending you a message, only you don’t know what that message is. I’m not much of reader, although I do tend to read on plane rides. Last Thursday night I was packing for Florida, looking for a book when I randomly grabbed an old book of short stories by Isaac Asimov, one of my favorite authors. No idea why I grabbed that book, when we have others I haven’t read. I shoved it in my bag, never took it out during the flight (tried watching The Favourite) or while I was in Florida. As I’m sure you can imagine, I had a very emotional few days sitting with my dad, watching him suffer through various ailments, and I will tell you that I had a good cry every day I was in Florida…sometimes more than one.

Early this morning, I packed the book in my carry-on that goes in the overhead bin, never expecting to open it. For some reason, at the last minute I moved the book to my backpack, which goes under the seat. We boarded early so I decided to leaf through the book, to see if any of the titles caught my eye before the inflight entertainment started (I watched Ralph Breaks the Internet…in case you are wondering, and the Disney princesses were way too funny). Before each of the stories, Asimov wrote a little blurb about each. None of them really caught my eye except for the very last one in the book – “Unto The Fourth Generation.” In the little blurb, Asimov mentioned this is his only story where his Judaism came into play.

The story tells of an anxious young salesman – Samuel Marten – who keeps seeing the name Lefkowitz at every turn, only it’s spelled differently – Lefovich, Levkovich, Lafkowitz, etc. He follows the trail of this name (and it’s various spellings) on a journey through Manhattan, which finally leads him to Central Park where he encounters his great great grandfather from Russia (or at least some spiritual form of that man). The old man explains that one of his daughters went to America and he never saw her again. The rest of his family had passed on, leaving him alone, and his dying wish was to see the first born son in his family – who is Samuel himself. Before his final passage, he is granted these last 2 hours. The old man blesses his great great grandson and goes to his final resting place in peace, leaving Samuel free of the anxiety which had so affected his life.

As I said, I think the universe is trying to tell me something. The fact that I chose the only story in the book to deal with Judaism. The similarities in the last names both ending in “kowitz” – Lefkowitz and Berkowitz. One of variations of Lefkowitz is an accountant, like my dad. The ending of the story takes place in Central Park, which just happens to be one of my favorite places and where I’ve spent many happy times for over 40 years. Life, family, anxiety, thinking of death….all the things running through my head and my heart, and the universe just said to me “Here…read this.”