This post is dedicated to Leonard Berg, my fiancee's grandfather who passed away last month after 94 years of life on our planet.
I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know "Poppy" (the name he went by with family) in the last four years. As I mentioned before my fiancée and I spent just about every weekend at his grandparents home. They were generous enough to allow us to start a vegetable garden in their backyard. We have learned some much about growing your own food just from this experience and from Poppy and Nina.
I miss hearing all of his stories about the Totem Pole, the Bolero Room as well as other night clubs from the swing era. Poppy was quite the dancer and gentlemen and he could sing a tune. The title of this post is one of his famous songs he wrote many years ago. He would tell me how he would get up to sing this song at some of the night clubs in Boston and the girls would all have one tear running down their cheek towards the end. He was also a Marine during WWII, and he had many countless stories about his experiences while he was overseas in Okinawa and a few islands off the coast of Japan. My fiancees mother Cora found an old tin of his from WWII and it was full of old photographs , letters and memorabilia he kept with him while he was overseas. It was fascinating to look at all this stuff and to know that he kept these items close to him during his time overseas.
This is some of his artwork that he painted many years ago. He would always talk about picking up watercolor painting again, and you can tell by these that he did have an eye for it. He often talked about how realistic those paintings of my fiancées father surfing were.
Among his many stories of life during WWII and the Swing Era he told me about his childhood and what he had to do to make money while the other kids would be swimming in the lake during the summers in Massachusetts. One of these jobs was thinning carrots for 10 cents and hour, another was picking strawberries. These things do not seem foreign to me as my own parents and grandparents had to do similar odd jobs o make money in Russia. Although Russia did not experience the great depression like the US did , for everyone around the world the times were tough, which meant that everyone had to make do with what they had readily available.
Poppy you are greatly missed and will always be loved and your life stories will never be forgotten.