Monday, July 24, 2017

MY FRIEND HY (1921-2017)

Recently I lost a dear and loved friend. HY, 96 years young, was a charismatic and unique man, who lived  life on his own  terms. His  recent obituary,written by his family, was vetted by HY,many years ago. He made certain that both his family and many friends were mentioned.. I am deeply honoured to be included in that list of friends.
 I first met Hy some 5 years ago when I volunteered with a Jewish agency.Told that they had an elderly man who had requested weekly visits with a volunteer who spoke Yiddish I  quickly volunteered ..Having been raised by a mother who spoke Yiddish to our German maid , I learned  a few basis phrases,( in truth mostly swear words I taught my grandchildren),I decided I was qualified for this assignment.
I arrived at Hy's home , to be met by a short,well groomed man , who seemed much younger than his stated age. He exhibited considerable energy, was highly animated and seem pleased to see me. We sat down in his kitchen, a ritual we followed on many occasions and Hy proceeded to tell me the most interesting stories of his youth on Kent Street, international travels including his beloved love of Bermuda and the Barbados, his incredible accomplishments in the music-recording industries and his brief but intriguing time in the military.I was memorized by this natural born raconteur.
 Later I began to bring  him soup from a local restaurant. A ritual we both enjoyed. On many occasions I went on outings with him to places he visited as a youth.He would introduce me to his friends ,now elderly, like a proud father and tell me stories associated with these places.

As you can surmise I quickly developed a close bond with HY. His irreverence,rebelliousness and don't give a damn attitude resonated with me.We became comfortable with each other and I always looked forward to our weekly encounters.Often times , Hy would pass on his life lessons that I valued greatly.
HY, was a mensch( a honourable man),who had a heart of gold(E.G. adopting his Vietnam family).and incredible love of life.
 Rest in peace.You have lived a long and meaningful life.
Thank you for allowing me to be your friend.