My Uncle Herbie was a faint memory for most of my young life. I was still a little girl at the time he married and moved to California. He wasn't there for holidays, birthdays and all the other special occasions.
California always had a magnetic pull for me, so when I was old enough to travel on my own, I ventured west. Uncle Herbie, Aunt Elaine and their daughters were quite hospitable. We toured all the highlights of Los Angeles, including Grauman's Chinese Theatre, where I matched my hands with the cement prints of Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn and Ava Gardner.
Aunt Elaine passed away in the early '90s. My uncle needed a change, so he sold his Chatsworth home for a Las Vegas residence in 1999, the same year my dad passed away. That year I got it into my head that I wanted to visit my uncle. He was my only connection to my dad, so establishing a relationship with him became important.
One visit turned into another and another. My uncle is similar to my dad, yet different in so many ways. Both have this uncanny knack for aesthetics. My dad was the one who decorated our house. My dad was always impeccably dressed, and he chose my mother's wardrobe.
I giggled the first time I saw Uncle Herbie's new house in Vegas. Everything looked like it was pulled from a page of Better Homes and Gardens. I went shopping with my uncle on that first trip there. He was accessorizing his new home and came upon a delicate china bowl decorated with blue trim. When we got it home and he placed that bowl on the sofa table, I wasn't surprised that it was indeed the finishing touch.
During my uncle's first year in Vegas, he met a lovely woman. Good fortune would have it that they developed a strong union. Her name is Faye, the same as my mother's. What are the odds of that?
My relationship with my uncle has grown over these past 16 years. We talk about everything. He offers advice, I listen. I offer advice, he listens -- I think. We have a bond; we're simpatico. He looks forward to my yearly visit as much as I do and we plan our itinerary. Honestly, sitting across from my uncle is more than enough. We really don't have to do anything; just being together is what counts.
Barbara Anne Kirshner,
PUTTING MY STAMP ON THE 1939-'40 WORLD'S FAIR
I was an employee of the 1939 and 1940 New York World's Fair. During January or February 1939, I was hired as a mail clerk by the New York World's Fair Corp.
My job was to distribute mail in the administration building and throughout the New York World's Fair grounds to contractors, engineers and those who were in the process of putting together buildings and exhibits for the opening day.
Additionally, the mailroom distributed mailings, posters and other promotional material throughout the metropolitan area and the country.
My immediate supervisor was a young man named Dave Daly, who was an attorney but not quite into practicing law as yet. The director of information and all administrative services was a very good-looking woman from Texas named Kathryn Brough Gray. Harvey Gibson was chairman and Grover Whelan was president of New York World's Fair Corp.
During the fair's operating months, May through September or October, Ms. Gray was interested in my development and overall attitude and promoted me from mail clerk to information guide. My salary was raised from $18 per week to $30.
I was assigned, as were many other information personnel, to booths throughout the fairgrounds -- state exhibits, world, country, transportation, entertainment -- on a day-to-day basis.
As information experts, we knew the times of various shows or displays at General Motors, Ford, General Electric, etc. The General Motors exhibit and the fireworks display each evening at the Lagoon were very popular, as were many others.
During the fall of 1939, I was reassigned to the mailroom and again, in the spring of 1940, reassigned to the information group.
For your information, I was 19 and 20 during those very wonderful and memorable years. I turned 95 in June. I also did visit the 1964/1965 World's Fair, but as great as it was, it could never equal the 1939/1940 World's Fair. With all due respect and utmost humility, I did want to share some of my memories.
Joseph B. Leone,
TWO WORKDAYS THAT WEREN'T PAR FOR THE COURSE
My hole-in-one was not achieved on a lush green golf course, but was played on artificial grass over an asphalt pavement.
It was in the 1970s and I was employed as a civil engineer for the Town of Hempstead. Once a year, an "Industrial Fair" was sponsored by various sellers of construction equipment. The fair was set up in our parking field and we were given a buffet lunch.
To attract interest in their equipment, they would organize a "Hole-in-One" game that consisted of a large horizontal disc. It slowly rotated and had a small opening on its periphery.
The object was to putt the golf ball into the small opening as it revolved.
Most of my colleagues were avid golfers and were anxious to sink a hole-in-one. One by one they lined up and putted, and one by one they all missed. Since I was not a golfer, I was reluctant to participate.
Of course, you know what happened: As everyone watched, I stepped up and putted that ball into the revolving hole. There was momentary silence, then I heard someone say, "What luck!" The prize for this achievement was a ceramic mug with the sponsor's name on it. I proudly displayed it on a shelf in my office.
Shortly after the fair, the following event occurred: One of our secretaries, who was handicapped, was assigned a parking space right next to our building. What I remember about her car, was that it was large.
One morning as she maneuvered her vehicle into her parking space, she mistook the accelerator for the brake and crashed into the wall. I had just entered the lobby and was walking to my office when I heard a very loud noise and the lobby was filled with smoke and dust. The wall of the building she hit was shared by our bathroom, which was occupied at the time. I saw the occupant shoot out of the bathroom trying to pull his pants up while running and clutching a copy of Newsday in his other hand.
Luckily, our secretary did not have a scratch. Eventually, the wall was repaired and things got back to normal on 1580 Merrick Rd.
LET US HEAR FROM YOU Letters and essays for MY TURN are original works by readers that have never appeared in print or online. Share special memories, traditions, friendships, life-changing decisions, observations of life, or unforgettable moments for possible publication. Email email@example.com, or write to Act 2 Editor, Newsday Newsroom, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747. Include name, address and phone numbers. Edited stories may be republished in any format.