Eileen and Michael have been married since 1976. The marriage has been idyllic, supportive, and loving. About ten years ago Eileen began showing signs of dementia, which over time has become a full blown expression of Alzheimer’s Disease. The person she was has become the person she now is. Her emotions are in tact but her capacity to speak, move, feed herself, initiate action has been almost completely diminished. She still smiles and laughs when I say “I love you, you are the most beautiful, wonderful wife anyone could have. Do you love me?” And every once in a while she says, “you bet I do.”
Here are some pieces of writing and some photographs that reveal her goodness, intelligence, and love.
Memories of my father, Ascher Penn-Eileen Posnick, March 2012
My father, Ascher Penn, was born in the Ukraine, but the place he loved most was Havana, Cuba, where he spent many of his formative years. He always spoke about Havana with delight. As a Yiddish writer he did not become a wealthy man, so he would look for ways to augment his income so that my mother, Sylvia Harris Penn, whom he adored, and his children, myself and my brother Ronnie, would enjoy a good and fruitful life. A man of resources, he worked at many different jobs. always related in some way to Yiddishkeit, so that his family could live well.
My father had a wonderful and often mischievous sense of humor. He loved to tease my mother and make her laugh. For example, she would remind him that they were going out that evening and he should dress appropriately. He agreed, and a few minutes later he would greet her wearing only a pair of boxer shorts, a tie around his neck (no shirt), socks, and a fedora hat. He would announce “I’m ready!”
Though my father’s name was Ascher, he was also called Usher, but the name he was called at home and by his dearest friends, was Yascha.