It's a tribute to the man that all the living Powazeks gathered in Arizona for the funeral. The old house was filled with Yiddish and stories. Even my Uncle Charlie, 92 years old, was there, leading the minyan.
I heard stories I'd never heard before. About the war, and, even better, about before the war, when the Powazeks lived in a little town called Dubrah, Poland. My grandfather brought us from that world to this new one, without his parents or brothers or friends. He and his wife and kids (my dad) were poor immigrants, without money or literacy or roots.
And in two short generations they have a grandson who's "into computers" and won't eat chicken for some reason. My grandmother's eyes welled up with pride and tears as I educated my uncle about the web.
"Such a professional," she said.
I'm the oldest grandson. The first of the American Powazeks. I will carry the name ... and the stories.
I only hope I can tell them right.
Kiss your parents.