Dad in Hospital 2004

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View from Hospital Window (looking west on 33rd street)

I really did try to photograph just about every part of life, including hospital visits.  My sisters were usually shocked by this “invasion of privacy,” but I asked dad if he’d mind a shot or two.  And he perked up.  He was in the hospital (I think) for a stent.  This was after the operation where they put a tube in your leg that travels to the heart where they do their thing to open up whatever is clogged.

Obviously, I don’t know much about the procedure.  But I did know my subject, and he was a ham, big-time.

His reaction was to send my sisters out, and then he said: Why shouldn’t you shoot this.  It’s all part of life.

I’m the same way – if you want to take pics of me the next time I’m in the hospital (and I’ve been there a lot during the last year) fire away.

Me and my parents spent lots of time in the hospital.

p.s. He died a few years ago.  I still think of him just about every day.  He and I fought like cats and dogs for years, mostly over my desire to “throw away” security and do photography.  Both of us were just very stubborn.  I guess, I still am.

He wasn’t a perfect father.  But he also (like my mom) lived what seems to me an incredible life.  Maybe I’ll have time to write more about him.  One little item: during WWII, when the German POW and Concentration camps were liberated – he was there.

He had gone in search for his older brother Hy who had been shot down in a bomber, and survived in a POW camp.  They never met up, but he was going from camp to camp looking for him.

He didn’t really want to go back to the states after the war.  That’s another story.  He’d be returning to deliver groceries for his parents who owned a small grocery store on Bainbridge Avenue in the Bronx.  It’s a pretty common story – after having had tremendous responsibility during the war – he patrolled the infamous hedgerows a few days after the D Day invasion; and it was terrifying.

Because he spoke Yiddish, he became an interpreter at camps for captured German soldiers.  He said that the German soldiers, as they talked to him, told him to treat them well, and when this war was over, they’d treat him well.

He eventually returned to the crappy grocery store, where he went back to being a delivery boy.  He had brought a 45 pistol back with him; and was suicidal.  He says that for about six months after returning home, he’d go up to the roof of his Bronx building, with the 45 and think about using it.

He was set up on a blind date – more like a delivery to her apt. with groceries, and that was how he met my mom.  Both were wounded people.  But somehow, through sheer strength of will, they helped each other through life.  It wasn’t always smooth, but she had been an abused child; and I think he was as well.  Both by their fathers.

These are the terms we’d use today – abuse, PTSD etc. but back then, a lot of this stuff wasn’t talked about.  He ended up as a college professor (a long way from his vocational high school days at Chelsea HS where he specialized in fixing radios.)

A very long arduous trip.

Dad in Hospital 2004

2 thoughts on “Dad in Hospital 2004

  1. My father also guarded a POW camp up in NY state, also because he spoke Yiddish. I have photos of the camp and guards, who had a pretty cake job. The prisoners were all well-educated upper class Germans who, dressed in white jumpsuits, would perform musical concerts for the guards. I can only imagine what kind of atrocities some of these guys must have committed during the war.

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