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Glancing at my sixth grade autograph album, I was not surprised to see the name of my paternal grandfather, John Wolfsohn, listed opposite the category my hero. For the past fifty-five years this name has been synonymous with my hero, most influential person in my life etc. He was not large in stature, had no particular aura that was noticeable, and held no position which entitled him to sallies of admiration or to a passel of sycophants, yet the respect he received from well known politicians to next door neighbors never wavered.
John Wolfsohn, unlike many friends’ grandfathers, was born in America. I have never been sure about his upbringing and do not know much about his parents, but I am eternally connected to my paternal great grandfather, Tobias, hence my middle name.
My earliest non-recollection of my grandfather was a family tale of his seizing possession of me, an infant, when one of my parents accidentally let my foot drop into a cup of hot liquid. As always, he must have been dressed in white shirt, separate collar, and a tie. Whether he was attending a wedding or painting the house, his daily attire did not change. Obviously, he must have been dressed in a similar fashion when he took apart the family piano to fulfill my request for a sand box and a swing. These he constructed at his home in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, which was a one-minute walk from the one bedroom apartment we inhabited on the next block.
His home, where he lived with my beautiful grand mother, Sadie, and my Aunt Helen, a prominent attorney, was a haven for me whenever my sea of life became tempestuous. Even my Dad, a formidable figure indeed, would not confront my hero at these times. Extradition was not a factor when I opened the gate and entered the property at 1901 82nd Street. There I basked in the sunlight of unconditional love and acceptance, which only grandparents can generate.
Throughout twenty-one years never did I hear a harsh word or profanity from Grandpa John. I now believe not only was it not his nature, but he knew that I would be subjected to more than my share of acrimony from the rest of the world. His respect and devotion to my grandmother were of similar ilk. Indeed he would have loved life in these mountains




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