Professor Irwin Corey regularly panhandles on the streets of NYC, not for himself, but for a cause.
Professor Irwin Corey, as I noted five years ago, is an in-law of an in-law of mine, who I’ve met on a few occasions. My maternal grandmother Gert, whose brother Ernie had married Charlotte, whose sister Fran had married Irwin, was SO excited when Irwin would show up on the talk shows hosted by Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, and others. Not sure she understood what he was saying, and I’m fairly positive I didn’t always. But her attraction to this tenuous connection to celebrity was very strong. So we’d always watch when we read in the TV Guide, “Irwin’s going to be on!”
And I guess I’ve become my grandmother, keeping track of Irwin sightings:
Before I began blogging myself, I was reading the now frozen-in-time blog of my friend Fred Hembeck, who has a picture of him with some other creative folks. (2004)
The photo portrait of Rosa Parks that hangs in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery was taken by IdaBerman BEFORE Rosa refused to yield her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in December 1955.
When Charlotte Berman married Ernest Yates in 1937, it was a pretty radical event at the time. Charlotte was from a family of Jews from eastern Europe, and Ernie was black.
But let’s back up a bit. “Pinches Barosin, a teacher in the small town of Warklian, Latvia, and his wife, Slatte” had five children, the youngest of which, Isaac, was born in 1886. In the US, Barosin became Berman; Isaac married Sara Schmuelowitsch in 1910. They had eight children: Ida, Benjamin, Charlotte, Frances, Jacob, Mary, Samuel, and Arnold, most of whom I got to know to various degrees. Isaac, a trucking company executive, died before I was born, but Sara lived until 1971 and died in my hometown of Binghamton, so I did meet her.
Of the children, I’ll take Charlotte (1914-2003), the third child, out of order, because she’s the link to me. Ernie Yates, who she married, was the brother of my maternal grandmother, Gert. Ernie and Charlotte’s kids were my mother’s first cousins. And until Ernie died, shortly after I was born, they lived in Binghamton. Even after they moved to St. Albans, Queens in New York City, we saw Charlotte, her kids, and eventually her grandkids all the time. The photo is of Charlotte (I think Ernie is just out of the frame), my grandmother, my mother and me, at my grandmother’s house.
Ben (1912-1989) I knew not well, but like his siblings, I would see at him at the weddings of Charlotte’s children and other events.
Fran (1916-2011) married Professor Irwin Corey, the comedian, c 1940, and it was exciting to see him on Ed Sullivan or some other TV variety show. For some reason, Charlotte once took us to Fran and Irwin’s house when they weren’t there. I saw Fran and Irwin at a couple of birthday parties for Charlotte in 1994 (her 80th) and 2002 (her 88th, and last).
The kids of Jack (1918-2001) and Berta, known as Chicha, grew up in Binghamton; they were born between 1948 and 1957, around my time. Didn’t know them well, and was unclear to me at the time of their relationship to me.
Mary (1922-2006), who married Sam Rosen, I don’t really recall; she wasn’t living in New York State, though she probably showed up at some family events too. But her youngest son, Jonny Rosen, is one of the leaders of the Albany area band Annie & the Hedonists, “an eclectic mix of acoustic blues, vintage jazz and swing, and folk roots Americana.” They are, BTW, really good. (n.b., Sharp Little Pencil – I think you’d like them). I just saw them play this past Mother’s Day.
Charlotte always referred to her two younger brothers collectively as “the boys,” even when they were adults. Sam (b. 1923), who is still alive, and married to Vivian, was a folk singer. I wonder if he influenced my father somehow?
Arnold (b. 1924), a widower (Miriam), is not only alive; he put together this extensive website on the Barosin/Berman family. He also recalls a trip Charlotte and my sister Leslie took to Mexico in the summer of 1972: “[His wife] Miriam and I visited while [Charlotte] was there. I know that Ida was there at the time. My most striking memory in that visit was Leslie, that beautiful, tall Black girl who attracted so much attention from the local short Mexicans as we traveled by bus through the small villages.” Leslie got a kick out of THAT.
There are some gaps on the website – Charlotte’s youngest, Robert isn’t represented, e,g. – but it is filled with fascinating stuff. There are photos, many taken by Ida, and videos. I highly recommend that you check it out. ABC Wednesday – Round 13
My father and sister sang at our wedding reception. I think I did too.
When I married Carol Powell on May 15, 1999, it was not only a blending of families, it was a mixing of family sizes. My family is very small, while hers is ginormous. Since both of my parents were only children, and all of my grandparents, by that point, were deceased, this was pretty much it on my side of the ledger: (L-R) my niece Rebecca, her mother/my sister Leslie, Carol, me, my mother Trudy, my late father Les, my niece Alexandria, and her mother/my sister Marcia.
Whereas my new wife had LOTS of relatives. My mother-in-law had seven siblings, my father-in-law two. My wife had three brothers and over 30 first cousins. I, of course, had no first cousins since I had no uncles or aunts. So when they wanted a picture of my side of the family, you might wonder: who ARE all of these people? Most of these are direct descendants of my late great aunt Charlotte, the little woman in the front right of this photo above.
My mother’s mother Gert had three siblings that reached adulthood, but only one, Ernest, who married Charlotte, had children while my mother was growing up. So even though they were a decade or more younger than my mother, my mother’s first cousins by Ernest, who died back in the 1950s, and Charlotte, were the closest child relatives she had. And even though they lived in Queens, New York City, Charlotte’s grandkids were the closest child relatives my sisters and I had, besides each other, likewise 10 years or more younger than we were. Charlotte, BTW, was the sister-in-law of Professor Irwin Corey.
So the folks in the photo are one of Charlotte’s sons (and spouse) near the center of the photo, two of her granddaughters (plus a spouse), and a couple of her great-grandkids, along with the folks in the first picture. Whereas the picture on my wife’s side was a virtual mob scene by comparison.
This is the Yates side of the family that showed up at my niece Rebecca’s wedding to Rico in 2005. There was some difficulty between the bride’s mother and the groom’s mother, who wondered why the first cousin of the bride’s grandmother should be indicated in the program. As I described here, ultimately the extended family was listed, though the bride’s uncle, i.e., I, was inadvertently left off.
Oh, at Carol’s and my reception, my father and sister sang. I think I sang one song with them, Rebecca probably performed a number or two, and even niece Alex sang Yellow Submarine with her young cousins. Leslie also sang at the wedding. I’ve been thinking a lot about weddings because my daughter is going to be in her first one this coming month, the Pakistani event of her babysitter, which will be an elaborate affair. More on that after the fact. If you’re also planning to tie the know with your soulmate soon, you’re probably already trying to find those tungsten wedding rings for him.