Fifty years ago, July 27, 1963, a family was lost.
The Lerner family consisted of a vibrant, playful mother; a confident and charismatic father; a six-year-old girl who was already filled with a love of music and performing for an audience; and a ten-year-old boy—the beloved firstborn son, the bright if sometimes hard-to-teach student, the prankster but loving older brother, the leader of his generation of cousins, the rough-and-tumble athlete.
The foursome lived in East Meadow, a Long Island town that was home to families who weren’t wealthy but were certainly more comfortable than their parents had been. The mother and father’s parents were all immigrant Jews who had known dire conditions both in American and in their various native Eastern European homes. But the mother and father were 1st generation Americans, married in 1950 right in the center of the 20th century, where enough work, talent and hope allegedly guaranteed you a prosperous and gilded future.
The Lerners were on track to fulfill this promise. Home movies from this time show softball games, picnics, the daughter dancing and pirouetting and preening for the camera, the mother smiling with pride and love, the father pulling amusing faces and coaching the various games, the boy running and playing and laughing because he was happy and healthy and likely felt as immortal as most loved, cared-for, and care-free children do. Continue reading “A Family’s Loss” »