Dear Aunt Esther,


Sandy nelson & esther

Uncle Nelson, Aunt Esther and my sister Sandy – Corydon IN circa 1946

Did you know how profoundly you informed my view of the world? I was only in fourth grade when in the wake of your death you left behind your two little boys in Cleveland, Ohio.

Growing up in a small Southern Indiana town with only two Jewish residents, who I later realized traveled 60 miles round trip to synagogue, I was ignorant of your faith, heritage and culture. Until one day my mother wisely handed me an age-appropriate book about Judaism. I was fascinated and intrigued (though I couldn’t have named it as such then) by your religion, which only made you more beautiful in my eyes, and even stronger in character.

One of the last times I saw you, I was ill with juvenile kidney disease, bedridden for several months and being a royal pain to my mother. You sat on the edge of my mattress and penned me with those almond-shaped brown eyes, and let me know you loved me, you empathized, but my behavior was unacceptable. I’m not sure I had ever loved anyone as much as I did you at that moment. Mad at you? Yes! But you spoke the truth.

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