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(no subject) [Dec. 21st, 2012|12:00 am]
[music |4:50AM (Go Fishing) - The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking]

Most of my posts are locked. Leave a comment here and if I like the look of you, you may come in.
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My words [May. 21st, 2010|09:54 pm]
I delivered the remarks below pretty much exactly as prepared today.

I would like to take this time to commemorate 3 of the best things about my grandfather, Burton Goldberg.

First, his joyous nature. He would join any interaction he could with a snippet of song or verse. Whether it was a radio jingle from the 1930s, or a sonnet, or a scene from a play, he freighted it with the rhythm and joy of his soul. The passion he applied to his life and all his works made these "outbursts" one of my favorite things about him -- he would fill a room with his presence and transport all listeners to far away lands and bygone times with a clarity and sophistication that truly dazzled. It was truly fun to listen to him, no matter what sort of verse he was delivering.

Second, his sense of mischief. Sometimes, he'd take us to far away lands with actual plane tickets, and there, on the other side of the globe, he put the loco into loco parentis by spoiling us rotten. In Israel, during a 14 day trip, I kept tally as I was permitted just over 20 vanilla milk shakes. When I finally feared I might get in trouble with my mom and dad – who I fully expected to grill me on what I had eaten in the Promised Land – and asked my grandfather what we should do, he took me by the hand, on the promenade of the Mediterranean Sea where I was having a milkshake with him, and he said "Jon, it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission."

Lastly, I would like to remark on his personal strength, as he remains one of my greatest inspirations. During our final conversation, by telephone, just 100 hours ago, he asked me towards the wrap-up "Is there anything else you'd like to say to me?" Although I was far more ready for that question than I'd have expected, it truly blows my mind that here was a man who had so resolutely accepted where he was headed, and whose last glimmering thoughts were only of how he might lend some of his remaining strength and some bit of his character to me, his grandson, in the continuation of my own life's journey, without him. Here was a man who was hand-crafted, using all natural ingredients, in a time when people were poured through a crucible of war and here was a man who so fittingly wore the raiment of "The Greatest Generation." Through every struggle he faced, and his three year tour in the hellish jungles of the Philippines was just one of many, he remained emblematic of the quiet, unprepossessing nature of someone who truly knew his own strength, who knew his strength was legendary, but who also knew how to use it: not to beat on his chest, cow and intimidate, but to empower others. When you shook his hand, he would let out a fierce growl and say of you "Now THAT is POWER."
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(no subject) [May. 20th, 2010|09:59 pm]
GOLDBERG--Burton A., May 18, 2010, World War II Veteran, aged 86. Survived by Rita Goldberg, his wife of 61 years, and children Andrew, Suzan, Joshua and Mitchell, and grandchildren Martin, Jonathan, Mollie, Scott, Alexander and Elizabeth. He was involved in the real estate business in New York, and in his retirement became a patron of the performing arts, especially in the field of dramatic writing, with involvements at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Hunter College, The Lark Theatre Company, and The Jewish Museum. He also served on the board of The Academy of American Poets. Known for his lively sense of humor, he combined remarkable savvy as a businessman with a poetic spirit. He was a man of considerable substance. Memorial service to be held on Friday, May 21, 1:30pm at Riverside Memorial Chapel, 21 West Broad Street, Mount Vernon, NY 10552.


This above, which is the death notice for my grandfather in today's and tomorrow's NYTimes, is the second hardest thing I think I've ever written.

The hardest is shaping up to be the remarks I am preparing for tomorrow.
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When I Google my grandfather [May. 20th, 2010|10:30 am]
after a few bio pages at various University involvements, I start to find peoples' resumes and literary/academic CVs. And I find his name on their resumes followed by words like "Prize" or "Master Playwright" as in the "Burton Goldberg Prize" or "The Burton Goldberg Master Playwright of 2004."

Some of this stuff we knew about because occasionally there would be a cocktail party, but every day I peel back this onion and see what other records there are of him on the internet, I find out about more and more involvements that he just never talked about. Never bragged and never boasted about.

He sustained hundreds of people. And he wore a $20 watch from Target.
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(no subject) [May. 20th, 2010|12:45 am]
Far better to be me than the person, undeserving, who cannot return my love.
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As it turns out [May. 18th, 2010|06:40 pm]
the shock, horror and grief I endured earlier this spring was merely the trial run.

It turns out to be petty, trivial and inconsequential next to the scale and scope of the loss that came for me and my entire family today. The least that I can say is that he was strong and well-prepared -- fully at peace with where he was heading. And to the greatest extent possible, I was prepared as well, though as I am repeatedly learning, one can never be fully prepared for these things.

His last words to me yesterday were "Is there anything else you'd like to say to me?" and after I said them, he said "Thank you. I'm going to put your grandma on the phone." I last saw him on Saturday, and though he was barely conscious, he smiled when I squeezed his hand.

He taught me the best handshake on Earth.

Burton Arthur Goldberg, April 9, 1924 to May 18, 2010. Father to my mother, profound and consequential man. You taught me how to have a big heart, and also what it means to be strong, wise and generous.

It was a challenge but an honor to be the amanuensis who will furnish his obituary. Look for it in the Times on Thursday.
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My favorite person on Earth [May. 18th, 2010|12:58 pm]
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(no subject) [May. 17th, 2010|08:53 pm]
Creepy people who know they are unwelcome continue to follow my livejournal. They should grow up. They have been contacted directly and asked to let go. So far, they are not doing so.

Look at my user info. There are 10 people who follow my journal that are not my mutual friends, and 3 have been asked to remove me from their lists. You know who you are.

Fucking let go already. There's nothing to see here. You do not belong. You are not my friends. I am ashamed that I ever let any of you into my home. Get the hell out of here and live your own lives.

I am not a part of it.
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(no subject) [May. 16th, 2010|01:57 pm]
Every day there is more sunlight and less illness in my home. Even the cat seems happier than ever.
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Dear Canary in a Coal Mine [May. 15th, 2010|08:36 pm]
I am flattered that you read this but you really ought to stop; remove me from your friends list.

Let it go. Isn't that how the song goes?
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