Felenstein Family

Cousin love from Leslie

A review of Cousin Love - The Sequel:

Filled with vivid descriptions of family connections and heartfelt desire to maintain meaningful ties, Walter Ruby has captured what countless families experience as geography and life directions separate them over time. What is powerful about this account is the realization that those involved are, and have always been, quite fond of one another. Cousins in common, yet cousins distanced from one another, for the most part, in their post-youth years. Siblings who have remained closely connected, while feeling that they each have the tiniest of extended families - "compact" as he says.

Looking forward to additional episodes of this engaging story - this reunion of sorts. 
-- Leslie B
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Walter, thank you for your recent intentions to keep us aware of and connected to our cousins. The people we have known for oh-so-long, yet have had time pass by in any routine interactions. It doesn't matter how much time has passed, my own memories of my cousins remain the times when we were together as youth (much fewer times with my IL branch, and a little bit more frequent with my NY ones). And then, later on, some wonderful memories of my newer IL cousins (the Kleins). Also way too infrequent. And being in the company of my Uncle Alan (who I always refer to as my truly favorite uncle, and it has meaning anyway, even though he is my only uncle)!! 
I will see Walter on Saturday, as I join him and dad in RI. It is extremely cool that you are accompanying Mel to his WWII 87th Infantry Division Reunion.  I am eager to be a part of the Saturday events and the evening banquet with the veterans. When I accompanied my father a few years ago, to Harrisburg, PA, that event was one of the more emotional features of the reunion for me. Standing and singing the national anthem together, with veterans and their extended families, was incredibly moving. It is not the type of experience we often get to share in our lives. And the fact that the group has dwindled down since then, means that it will have even more significance, me thinks. Amy and Janis both had similar experiences when they accompanied dad on past reunion trips. Thanks, again, Walter, for getting dad there this year. 
Please let us know what Robert's test result outcome is. His ordeal is quite unimaginable. Give him a giant, warm hug from me tomorrow. 
Cousins, love, corresponding, and more. 
Leslie 

Cousin love from Danny

I know that Walter is visiting Robert again this morning, and I'll will send along all my warm wishes through him. Bob, I love you. Across the distance and even across the years. I know you are fighting hard to beat this thing. And showing grace in enduring the struggle.

From one Rabinowitz-Tulbowitz relation to another - both sharing the blessings and possible curse of our family history - our lives have meaning beyond the day-to-day concerns and occupations. Those we touch and that touch us have been changed in some way. We make our way in the world, and we leave our mark.

And if you ever doubt that, you won't believe what can turn up on the Internet [grin]

Blessings to you and Jane for the fight you are making. Having the will to win is at least as important as any treatment they give you. I am so grateful that Walter has been able to be there on the scene for you. I feel so inadequate that I'm not able to be there too. Please know that I love you and am thinking of you daily.

Your cousin Danny

Cousin love, the sequel — a night out with Bob Felenstein


Thanks to Walter for emailing this report on the visit by cousin Marsha Fields to her ailing brother Robert Felenstein, who is recovering from his latest round of cancer treatments. It is shocking to see Bob looking frail, but you can see vitality in his bearing in the photo as he connects with his sister during a dinner out with family members. I wish I had been among them, and I intend to make it to New York for a visit soon.

I'll add further thoughts in the comments, but on to Walter's moving account.

Dear Cousins, spouses, children, grandchldren and assorted other loved ones,

First I owe Marsha and all of you an apology for sending you so belatedly this account of Marsha's wonderful visit to Robert in which Tanya and I participated, which happened last weekend. Last Saturday, Tanya and I joined Marsha in taking Rob, Jane and her mother Ruth (who is 83 and still plays golf and runs marathons) to a favorite restaurant of theirs on Merrick Road a few miles from their home. As you can see from the accompanying photos, Robert is quite frail and without hair from the chemo he has been getting the past 3 months, but the doctor has offered him some hope that the chemo may have greatly shrunk the tumor in his lung--Jane told me tonight that he will have a CAT scan this coming Monday and they will get the results by next Wednesday. I will stop out there on the morning of Thursday Aug 2 on my way out to Sandy and Mel to drive Mel to the WW2 Reunion in Rhode Island...Lets pray there is good news that day... 

In any case, I digress from the wonderful encounter we all had last weekend...It was emotionally uplifting beyond words to see the joy that Robert expressed and manifested to see and embrace his sister and to know that Marsha made the trip from Denver to be with him and give him so much love and compassion...It was clear to all at that dinner that Marsha's visit made a huge difference for him, is a hugely strengthening for him as he struggles with all of the indescribably difficult things he is going through right now.

It was fascinating to me to watch Robert and Marsha interact, to understand how similar is their warmth, sense of humor and wry outlook on the world...so much of it an expression of their wonderful late mother Joan. Marsha and I really connected also--we have spent much too little time getting to know each other; which I hope is something we will now remedy. I might even get Marsha and Shelly involved in my crazy Muslim-Jewish activities, if we manage to an event up and running in Denver this fall...Marsha, will keep you posted on that... 

Anyway, I was left with the sense of what a lovely extended family we have, compact though it is; the Felensteins, Brenners and Rubys, and how good it is that we are reconnecting with each other, better late than never, but we should do much more of it. The wonderful work that Danny has done over the past six years in tabulating our Ruby Family History http://familyhistorymachine.com/files/blogger_importer leaves me increasingly with a deeply spiritual sense of how we are all interconnected--the living and the dead--all the Tulbowitzes and Rabinowitzes going back more than 150 years--all of the precious history, mostly forgotten, that we have managed to dig up and bring back to life--life experience going back to forgotten shtetls in Latvia and Russia--all of their struggles, tragedies and joys and triumphs as they moved to America and found their feet and lived such diverse, fascinating lives and produced generation and generation, all of that coursing through history and producing and impacting each of us in ways that we are only dimly aware of. 

Life is a precious web--Charlotte's web--glistening with dew, fragile but radiant in the morning sun, and (to channel the Beatles), its all one and life goes on and on within you and without you. The next song on that album (was it Sgt Pepper?) as I recall was 'When I'm 64', which some of us have already reached and other are fast approaching..But its OK, because its a joy to be alive and taste every moment, be chol zot (in spite of eveything)....Anyway, I just want to say that I love you all, even if I dont know many of you all that well, which is something we should remedy as much as possible, so lets not be strangers, cousins and children and assorted life partners, lets bond to the maximum extent possible, because none of lasts forever. That wish goes out to all of you, to members of my generation and the one after that...So pass this message on  if any you would like, to assorted loved ones to family members whose e-mails I dont have, like Marsha's wonderful daughter Melissa and her kids and to Josh Funt and the rest of Wendy's chldren and grandchildren...and anyone else who feels appropriate... 

Nu, Walter, enough of the New Age sermons, already...Please all of you, keep Robert (and Jane too) in your hearts and prayers and we'll do everything we can on this end to pull him through...

Love, Walter  

P.S. sorry that several of the photos are blurry...

Josh Funt checks in

Our first cousin once removed, Josh Funt, the oldest son of Wendy Felenstein, checked in from Sarasota FL by email after having discovered this blog, probably after learning of it from his aunt Marsha. Here is the text of his email, along with a great photo of his family.

It's wonderful to hear from you, Josh. Needless to say, we're excited to learn the location of Grammy's Walter Ruby scrapbook, and hope to be able to post scans of some of the photos and clippings here. -- Danny

This is Josh, Wendy Felenstein's son. I was the recipient of a number of items when my mother died that are directly related to this blog. I have an old scrapbook that has clippings of Walter Ruby's accomplishments, and I also have a number of items from Selma.

These things are unique and I treasure them. There are a number of pictures of Walter Ruby from the days of Errol Flynn and Clark Gable. He has that studio type portrait and it looks so like the old 8X10s from that era. I also have a number of clippings showing the invention of Rum and Coke as well as some of his manufactured inventions revolving around the spirits business.

I love what you did with the family history and it is very cool to learn about the old history of our family.

I have saved this blog as a favorite and I plan to revisit it often. I keep in touch with Marsha and Robert, but I am not really in touch with anyone else on Joan's side of the family.

I would be happy to scan and send you some of the items I have. Let me know if you are interested.

All the best to you all.

Josh

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