Sixty five years ago in Bad Worishofen,West Germany, I was born to Luba and Abraham Schabrinski. I was named Moses. My parents left their native Poland in the spring of ’46 and settled in the resort town outside of Munich.
They were the only ones in their immediate families who survived the Holocaust. In August 1949, we arrived in America and lived on the lower East Side until 1953, when we moved to an airy four room apartment in the west Bronx, a couple of blocks from the University Heights campus of NYU, which now houses Bronx Community College. In June 1959, I became a U.S.citizen, taking the oath to uphold the Constitution in the federal court house in lower Manhattan.
Yesterday, was the 65th anniversary of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the iconic Christmas movie about redemption, loyalty, and family. When I first saw the movie decades ago, it struck a chord about what life would be like if…In my case, what if my parents decided not to leave Poland? What if my parents decided to go to Argentina, where my father’s uncle was living? What if they decided to move to Australia? What if after arriving in West Germany, they decided to stay and not come to America? What if upon arriving in America, they moved to Los Angeles, where my mother’s uncle was living? What if…?
There are endless what ifs in life. The one “what if” I dread to contemplate is what if I had not met Florence nearly fifty years ago and not started dating her in 1965. We got engaged in 1967 and married in 1968. I could not imagine being without her. We have been together through thick and thin for nearly 44 years.
At the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Harry Bailey makes a toast to his brother George, after a bank run nearly destroys the Bailey Building and Loan, which George has headed up since his father died. Although George Bailey is a struggling small time banker, his brother says, “A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town!”
In many ways, most of us are George Bailey. We are “rich,” in our own way, not trying to amass a “fortune” but by being productive and seeking to have a “comfortable” life. In addition, we are rich, in another way in my humble opinion, if we follow the Golden Rule, a fundamental idea I learned at a very young age. Virtually all the world’s ills would disappear if everyone embraced the Golden Rule. Why people don’t is beyond my ability to probe into the human soul and psyche.
Nevertheless, turning 65 today is hard to believe inasmuch as that age was considered old, very old, when we were growing up in the Bronx, more than five decades ago. But if 65 is the new 55 or 45, I will take another 30-40 years to make sure the next several decades are the most productive yet. Retirement is out of the question. Just ask Florence.
What’s ahead? Well, if the Mayans and the other prophets are right, my 66th birthday (12/21/12) will be my last as the world ends. This would confirm what I learned decades ago, I will never collect Social Security.
But just in case the Mayans and others are incorrect, I will complete Ponzi Government in the next few months, because the American people need to know how they have been shafted by the political and financial elites for decades and what we the people can do about it.
Today, we will spend a quiet day getting ready to leave for a vacation in the sun. So Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.