Today is my Grandfather’s birthday. Had he lived, he would be 110.
He left us when he was the tender age of 95. Fifteen years of missing him.
When he passed away, the nursing home where he and Granny lived, provided her with a teddy bear to hold in his absence. As some of you know, when she died at the age of 100, I inherited the Bear.
On my washing line today, I hung Mr O’s rather threadbare top to pay tribute to a remarkable man, so that I may sleep in it tonight.
He was kind and clever. Self-taught from the age of twelve. A funny, fix-it-with-duct-tape man.
I remember the time he painted the tv remote with red nail polish so that Gran would know which button to press for power.
Every occasion, no matter how large or small, would be one for him to compose and recite a poem.
He founded and worked tirelessly with many charities, giving of himself unselfishly for decades.
He was instrumental in the inception and construction of a Wall of Remembrance in the Jewish section of the cemetery in Johannesburg where he was ultimately laid to rest.
His generosity and good works are talked about still.
I’m proud to have been his granddaughter. He was a true mensch.
Most of my family are now Members of this Group, which has been another blessing in my life.
So please join me as I raise a glass of orange juice to Lionel, to toast his memory and tell him how very much he was, and is, still admired and adored even after all these years.
He’s dancing now with Ray up in their tiny lemon-linoleum’d kitchen in the sky, just as they did every morning for 72 years.