Brooklyn in Love and at War

History of World War Two Told Through Letters

Alex’s Storytelling Legacy turns 103

Today marks what would have been Alex’s 103rd birthday. With the recent passing of my grandma Sophie, I thought it was especially important to acknowledge this day and the legacies that grandparents leave. Soon they will become great grandparents for the fourth time (also, happy birthday to one of his great-grandchildren, Ceci)!

Grandpa Alex, my brother Zach, my mother and me in new Jersey.

Grandpa Alex on his throne, my brother Zach, our mother Kathy and me in New Jersey.

The letters that this blog focuses on often revolve around the hardships of war, financial worries, separation and longing. Despite a few moments of humor and joy, by and large the letters fail to convey the loving and humorous aspects of Alex’s personality. He was a fantastic storyteller. To me, his best stories were the ones that were the most pointless, the least true and the most painfully drawn out. He told one tale about Hungary’s most famous (non-existent) navy machinist. Late in his life he vividly recalled that when he arrived in America he was greeted by hundreds of people singing “For he’s a jolly good fellow.” (This story came out of his more senile state but was great nonetheless.) A huge opera fan, Alex convinced fellow performance goers at the Met that he was a famous Opera singer (not hard to believe considering his stature and Italian accent). The jig was up when he tripped down the stairs while playing the part.


Once again, I’m returning from DC on his birthday so here is a link to the post I wrote that year after visiting Arlington National Cemetery:

And, a different birthday post in which Alex acknowledges, “Here is once more my birthday. I think my last one was in Boston. At least then I knew that in a few days I would see you. Now its just another day… and the realization that I am not growing younger.“:…alex-50th-post/ Thank you all for reading and letting the memory of Alex to infiltrate your lives in whatever small way.


6 comments on “Alex’s Storytelling Legacy turns 103

  1. David
    March 17, 2015

    Oh my. What beautiful comments. This is so moving. Thank you, Molly. Happy birthday, dad.

  2. Adrienne
    March 17, 2015

    Such a lovely tribute to Dad. I remember the tripping so vividly! And happy birthday to his birthday present herself, Molly Rosner!

    • Molly
      March 17, 2015

      Thank you! Love you. Was it a stumble or a full on fall down the stairs? I imagine a fall but maybe I’m exaggerating the story now.

  3. Dad
    March 17, 2015

    Also, one of the things that was so absurd in Dad’s outlandish stories was the hidden ironies: Hungary is a land-locked country. I don’t think it ever had a Navy!! He was probably mixing in his father’s history: Grandpa was a machinist in Fiume, which is on the Adriatic but not formally part of Hungary….

    • Molly
      March 17, 2015

      Ha, that’s why I said non-existent, dad. It was the big clue at the beginning of the story that it was entirely made up but I didn’t know Hungary was landlocked the first time I heard it.

  4. Gerald Markowitz
    March 18, 2015

    Thanks so much Molly for this beautiful entry. He was quite a guy and he would be so proud of all his grandchildren and of you especially for writing so lovingly of him. And Happy Birthday to you!!! Much love, Uncle Jerry

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This entry was posted on March 17, 2015 by in Accents, Alex, Family and tagged , , , .
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