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‘Moving Article’ Rekindles an Old Friendship

We meet again . . . Len Brewer and his wife Ros with Ilan Hirschowitz (right)

"Ilan", Rhonda from ESRAmagazine offices asked, "do you mind if I give Len your number?" "No problem" I replied.

I called Len and learnt that he was visiting Israel with his wife Ros.

"I have to meet you" was all that he would cryptically say.

My wife and I were at Louise's coffee shop in Netanya, waiting at the arranged hour. To our surprise, as we saw Len and Ros, we remembered them from playing badminton 20 years ago in Kfar Sava. Sadly, not long after that they had returned to the UK and we have not been in touch since.

Now it all came flooding back.

Len is Elaine's brother and had read the article, "Heroes", which I wrote for ESRAmagazine #167 and in which I had mentioned Elaine's bench in Nitza Boulevard where we had by chance sat. He was so moved by the article that he wanted to contact me. He also had no idea that we knew each other from many years ago.

As we sat reminiscing about Elaine, whom he told us was buried in Oakland California over the bay, I thought of my recent trip out there and the song by Otis Redding which was playing in the bus as we crossed the Golden Gate bridge.

"Sitting on the dock of the bay

Watching the tide roll away

I'm just sitting on the dock of the bay

Wasting time

Sittin' here resting my bones

And this loneliness won't leave me alone

Its two thousand miles I roamed

Just to make this dock my home".
Len spoke about missing Elaine - her kind nature, her wonderful generosity as a dedicated aunt, and the fact that she was buried so far away. He felt a strong need to go back and say a prayer at her graveside.

After I came home I went into our garden and selected a beautiful round pebble that was washed smooth from one of the ancient rivers of the Land of Israel. I took the pebble and put it in my suitcase. Hopefully I'll be travelling to Sacramento in August. If my work engagement comes off I will make the two-hour drive to San Francisco, cross over the bridge to Oakland, place my pebble on Elaine's grave and say a short prayer for all the good people still living in our small world - for Len. 



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Monday, 22 July 2024

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