Fridays with Manny


I usually do not read obituaries. What was different this time was the title in The Wall Street Journal on January 7-8, 2023, “Real Estate Mogul Rescued Soviet Jews”. This deceased person was Albert Reichmann (1929-2022). Our family left the former Soviet Union in 1972, and I am grateful to people like Mr. Reichmann, since it took us three years to get out. I also noticed the photograph in the obituary, showing a man in his 50s. He died at the age of 93. I am sure he looked differently. In the book “West of Eden” Jean Stein writes that when Ann Warner, the wife of Jack Warner, one of the brothers who created Warner Brothers Studio, died, her step son Jack Warren Jr. noticed that the newspaper that published her obituary placed a photograph of another person.

When we are alive, many of us are usually very much concerned about how we look. And then, when we are gone, who we were and how we looked disappears together with so many things which seemed so important to us while we were alive. I do not think that knowing that will make any difference in our lives. There is saying in Russian, “While I am alive, I am hopeful”. We are remembered by our deeds, not by our looks.

There is a joke about the man who was reading the obituaries every day. A friend asked him why he was doing that. “I want to be sure my name is not there.” When my time will come, I would like to have a very short obituary – “Manny lived, laughed, loved and was loved”. I captured three images of the fading away lilies in the last moment of their lives.

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