It all started with a blind date and evolved into an amazing sibling relationship 72 years later.  This is a story of what happened between those two events.  Harry and Fritzi, our parents, met on a blind date in 1937.  I am not quite sure why we call our parents Harry and Fritzi when we speak about them, as opposed to Mom and Dad.  We just always have.  We do call them Mom and Dad when we talk directly to them, though.  So, before getting into the story I should give you a little background information on our parents.


Harry was born in NYC in 1914 to Ella (Liz) and Abram (Al) Davis.  He had and older brother Dave, born in 1910, and an older sister, Lillian, born in 1912.  He lived most of his pre-blind date life in Jamaica, NY.  He was forced to leave high school to work and help support his Mom, after her divorce, and his sister.  His main source of income was as a pressroom foreman for a company called Standard Folding Cartons, Inc. in Jackson Heights, New York. 


Fritzi was also born in NYC in 1914 in August to August (Gusty) and Frieda Kisker.  She had two younger sisters, Bobbe born in 1916, and Edy born in 1921.  Fritzi completed high school and received her diploma in 1932 from Bryant High School.  Her first job was in the correspondence section of the Franklin Society for Home Loans in Manhattan.  She was very good at her job and continued working until they were married. 


Now the main part of the story begins.  I never knew how my parents met.  I guess I never asked.  I found out when reading a fill-in-the blanks book Fritzi filled out years ago.  I did know that she dated my best friend’s father, Bill Huber.  I remember asking her why she didn’t marry Bill and she replied “he was too fresh”.  I asked her if Harry was fresh and she said “yes, but in a much smoother way”.  My Mom and my Dad both had a great sense of humor.  Their blind date sometime in 1937 led to their marriage on June 2, 1938. 


Soon after they got married, Harry started to take flying lessons and soloed in a Taylor Cub aircraft on December 26, 1938.  I have his original log book that covers his flying from 1938 until 1942.  My Mom flew with him a few times, but he scared her enough to make her quit flying with him.  He owned only one airplane, an Aeronca C-2 (an ugly and underpowered aircraft), but rented many.  He discovered the Aeronca airplane hanging in someone’s garage.  He asked what they wanted for it and Harry wound up swapping his car for the airplane. 


I came along on February 26, 1942 and that brought some changes to my Dad’s way of life.  First, my Mom “persuaded” him to change jobs.  In June 1942 he became a firefighter in the NYC Fire Department.  About that same time my Mom also convinced him that he should give up the dangerous sport of flying now that he had a son.  So his last flight was on June 3, 1942, their fourth anniversary.


It was about this time that they moved into their first house.  It was located in Astoria, NY.  Life had settled in for them.  Harry loved the Fire Department and Fritzi was “moderately” content being a stay-at-home mom.  The next big event on the horizon was the birth of my sister, Lynn, on June 6, 1944 (D-Day).  In 1945 we moved from Astoria to Richmond Hill.  This house was much bigger and, in fact, had tenants to subsidize our monthly income.  In 1950 we moved again to a really nice house located in Flushing, NY.   As soon as both Lynn and I started school, Fritzi went back to work.  This time she worked for the New York City Board of Education as an administrative secretary in a local public school.  She loved the job. 


Harry had a great work schedule as a firefighter and Fritzi had summers off.  We set up camp at Wildwood State Park out on Long Island, about 60 miles from home.  It was here we spent our summers.  Harry would commute to work and Fritzi, Lynn and I would stay in the tent and enjoy our days swimming in the Long Island Sound.  Life was good.


In 1959 I got my diploma from Jamaica High School and started college locally at New York University.  In 1961 Lynn got her diploma, also from Jamaica High School.  Lynn applied to and was accepted at Cortland State Teachers College.  I also decided that it was time for me to leave the nest, or maybe I was kicked out of the house; I can’t remember which was the case, but I was off to Florida State University.  Either way, kicked out or left on my own accord, Harry and Fritzi were now going to be alone with each other.  Scary!  So our replacement was dog rescued from the Bide-a-Way animal shelter who they named Biddy. 


I finished college in April 1963 and promptly returned to the nest (free room and board).  Lynn got her degree and then went to graduate school at Penn State University.  After two years of life guarding, teaching swimming to kids at Bayside High School, and generally goofing off, the military draft caught up with me.  Soon I was off to Texas to be commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Air Force   In March 1966 I was reassigned to pilot training and completed a year later.  When I started pilot training Harry started flying again.  In June 1967 he retired from the fire department with the rank of Captain.  This was an exact reversal of what he did in 1942 when he quit flying and joined the fire department.   Harry was very successful in the fire department.  He was handpicked to work at one of five heavy rescue units in New York city.  He was first a lieutenant at Rescue 4 and then the Captain.  All together he worked at Rescue 4 for nine of his 25 years in the department.  His final position was as Captain in the Division of Training.


Harry and Fritzi were very active in the local Unitarian church.  Harry eventually became the church president and played a huge role in the building of a new church building.  Their social life consisted mostly of church friends.


In 1969 Harry and Fritzi “followed” Lynn to Point Lookout out on Long Island where they bought, what I thought, was their nicest house.  They had a short walk to a beautiful private beach on the Atlantic Ocean.  Harry got a job with the NYC Board of Education as an Industrial Arts teacher in a junior high school in the Bronx.  It was a job he was good at and he enjoyed working in the labs with kids.  When they moved to Point Lookout, Fritzi retired from the Board of Education. 


In 1973, at my suggestion, they made the big break from “The City” and moved to Tacoma, WA.  Fritzi got a job with the Census Bureau.  Harry tried census work but didn’t like it.  They lasted three years in Tacoma and the drizzle finally drove them south.  They again “followed” Lynn and moved to Southern California to a 55+ community called Leisure World.  I thought they were much too young for that, but agreed to visit them anyway.  Harry played golf and Fritzi counted heads for the upcoming census.  They truly enjoyed their new environment. 


It was here that Fritzi discovered the second love of her life, Scrabble.  She joined the local Scrabble club and quickly improved to a level where she was competing as the national level.  Traveling, golf, and scrabble became the routine.  They were living the good life. 


In 1978, when I was stationed in Germany, Harry and Fritzi came for a visit.  One of the main reasons for the trip was she was going to get a chance to meet her father’s brother and see the actual room where her father was born.  We accompanied her to Bielefeld and were a part of this amazing reunion.  I am sure it was one of the highlights of Fritzi’s life.


Life throughout the 80s and 90s was pretty much the same for them.  They moved into their last home in Leisure World in 1979.  They continued being active in the community.  In the late 90s, Harry developed Alzheimer’s disease.  He was becoming too much for Fritzi to handle so he was placed in a long term care facility in early 2000.  On January 21, 2001 he passed away peacefully. 


Being the strong person she has always been, Fritzi gathered herself together, got things in order, and got on with her life.  She continued to play scrabble and travel.  She was a great-grandmother and a “great” grandmother.  She had a good life.  On May 31, 2009 Fritzi passed away in her home, surrounded by family.  This just the way she wanted it to happen.  For three weeks she knew what was coming and couldn’t understand why she was not able to change her prognosis.  She was always able to fix all her other problems, but not this one.  She was happy with her life, but wanted more.


Now back to the amazing sibling relationship I mentioned in the first sentence.   Lynn and I always had a sibling relationship, good, but not great.  We came from the same background but somehow developed different philosophies and beliefs about life and the world.  Lynn was liberal in her political beliefs and I grew to be conservative.  I was in the military, I hunted, I became a firefighter (another story)--all these had the potential to get in the way of a great sibling relationship.  But then something happened.  We are not sure of what this something was, but it may have been that our mother, Fritzi, had gotten between us somehow.  What the something was/is not really important.  What is important is that we now have a great sibling relationship and it all started with a blind date 72 years ago.  We are still working on solving the problems of the world.