By Sharon Wisch-Ray
It was a typical Texas summer evening when I first met the Beckerman family in 1970.
Shortly before my fifth birthday, mom had invited our new Hildring Drive East neighbors, Greta and David and their children Iris, Neil and Heidi over for swimming and dinner. Iris’ fiancé Sid was also on hand.
It was a magical evening that was punctuated with 10-year-old Heidi crashing through our sliding glass door and requiring stitches to her lip and hand.
It was one of my earliest memories of how quick my dad Jimmy responded in a crisis. Something I witnessed on more than one occasion. He quickly began treatment and helped get Heidi to the ER.
The Beckermans were one of several Jewish families who had a member that worked for Radio Shack and received a corporate transfer from Boston to Fort Worth to be on-site at the Tandy Corporation headquarters here.
Greta and David quickly became part of the Fort Worth Jewish community and secular community landscape — David in his quiet, thoughtful and precise way with tremendous business acumen, and Greta with her larger than life, vivacious, full-speed ahead demeanor.
I have so many wonderful memories of the Wisches spending many milestones with the Beckermans and the Bogarts that they are too many to enumerate.
It was great, however, to celebrate Greta’s 85th with her and the Beckerman clan hosted by Greta’s children, Heidi Kirby and Neil Beckerman, at Neil’s beautiful North Dallas home Jan. 18. Greta’s actual birthday was Jan. 17.
In attendance, along with Neil, were his children Michelle and Drew Beckerman. Michelle, who holds her master’s in special education, is a special-ed teacher at Dan D. Rogers Elementary School in Dallas. Drew is a recent graduate of Claremont McKenna College and will soon be moving to the Seattle area to begin his career as a financial analyst with Microsoft.
Daughter Heidi Kirby and her son Daniel were also there to celebrate. Heidi’s husband Michael was down with the flu and her older son Matthew could not make it in from Fort Collins, Colo. Daniel is a freshman at OU, where he is studying sports management/business and is a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. College life seems to be agreeing with him.
Not able to attend from Boston were Greta’s daughter and son-in-law Iris and Sid Newman and their daughter Jill, who teaches dance in Boston.
Greta’s nephew Steve Adelman, her sister Claire’s son, now lives in Dallas, and was also there for the celebration.
It was fun to hear Greta get a call from her older sister, Claire, who couldn’t be there in person.
Joining me along with my husband Alex, were my sisters Judy Wisch and Susan Wisch, and cousins Richard Kahn and Barry Pierce all of Dallas.
Also celebrating were Robin Levine Steinberg of Dallas and Harry Kahn, Nancy Sheinberg and Rich and Terri Hollander all of Fort Worth.
Close friend Patricia Ndugwa also joined the fun.
I thought I knew just about everything about the Beckerman family, but I did learn something new that night: the classic Beckerman toast for a special occasion. It goes like this:
I drink to your health when I’m with you.
I drink to your health when I’m alone.
I drink to your health so often,
I’m damn near losing my own!
A small plug for chicken soup
The flu hit our family hard earlier this month.
No. 3 Jimmy came down with it Jan. 7 and missed a week of school, seemed to improve for a couple of days and then got sidelined with double pneumonia.
The day I got his diagnosis, I was pretty frazzled. Alex was out of town on business. We were on deadline at the TJP and I was trying to figure out how to get it done and whip up a batch of chicken soup.
I needed the big guns, Campbells and an out of the box mix wouldn’t suffice.
The same day, I received an email from Betsy Maselek, owner of grandmaschickensoup.com. Betsy’s unique company will ship you chicken soup, matzoh balls and all, fresh and ready to eat.
I told Betsy about the plight of flu in the area, and she shipped a batch to us on the double. I had it Wednesday, neatly packaged and semi-frozen with a lovely kosher challah.
It was delicious, and would make a great care package for someone in college, a loved one who’s under the weather or just because.
Nothing says “I love you” like a comforting bowl of Jewish penicillin, and if your loved one is far away, this is a great option.