Friday, May 9, 2014

Reuben (R.I.P.)

I found myself online long past midnight when an email appeared in my inbox from one of my brothers. He sent a link from my hometown paper of an obituary for Reuben Silver, a longtime friend of my parents who died yesterday. Reuben was a lifelong consummate theatre professional whose enormous talent for the dramatic arts was surpassed only by the love for his wife Dorothy and their three sons. Growing up, the Silver's lived down the street from us- mere houses away- and they were fixtures of my childhood.  My parents took us to countless plays in which Reuben and Dorothy either acted or were the director and their artistry made a huge impression on me. His voice carried a unique authority and he radiated an intensity when he appeared onstage. During my teen years, I sometimes babysat their three boys, and alone in their house, surrounded by the many books, scripts and artifacts of their busy lives I was transfixed. I remember how impressed I was that their house was often less than neat and yet they seemed happy and engaged. My mother once told me of her admiration for Dorothy who could ignore her domestic chaos and focus on her art, something my mother was unable to do, but I digress.

As a younger man, Reuben was a creature of huge appetites. My mother used to tell me to "Hide the corned beef!" when they came over as Reuben ate with a relish and gusto I rarely saw my parents display. Always when he greeted me, his eyes twinkled with a delight that warmed me to my core and made me smile.

The world is a lesser place without him in it and my heart goes out to his family as I know how much they loved and will miss him.  And I, whose life has taken me 500 miles to the east, mourn him profoundly. He was a very special individual whose time here improved us all and a rare man among men.

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