Our Family Biographies


You were the eldest son of Felix and Julia. Your mother welcomed you and you clung to her with a tightly twisted cord, a tiny rival of your father. George, I see that the warp threads of your tapestry are taut — purple threads of pride and white strings of morality, like thin lips pulled tight over the teeth.

Beyond the fringed edges of your tapestry, the shuttle has woven strands of brown and beige herringbone, rough irregular threads of mischief and childhood rebellion — often couched with the red specks of anger. From the time of your adolescence, George, your tapestry displayed awkward uneven patterns. At school you could not coordinate Spenserian script or run at a graceful pace. You withdrew; the colors of your tapestry darkened as sad gray pessimism descended: your eyes blurred behind thick glasses, your cheeks became scarred, and your legs like sticks, were knobbed at the knees. Your disappointment drew the purple threads of pride into a twist with the chartreuse strands of envy, envy of your father’s honors. Yet there are a few fuchsia cords winding through the weft: “George is so good to me,” your mother said.

At last you grew to manhood. Yarns of dark blue and orange-red wove across metallic bands and white strings of the warp, as your anger championed the legal rights of others. Yet when you spoke what you thought truth in your punctilious way, the sharpness of your words often cut the threads of your tapestry.

As the eldest son, you wished to be the pere de famille, but you could not take that role. You wanted others to heed your advice, but advising others required understanding based on love. Now looking at your tapestry, George, I see that there are few soft pastels of compassion, but rather most of the hues are dark and harsh.

However, across the middle of your tapestry, are dots of cinnamon brown, your childhood sense of fun and mischief as you played with your nieces and nephews who called you “Unk.” You married late, and your marriage loosened tight threads, softening the sharpness of your tapestry’s later patterns. George, you died in your middle years, leaving then a grieving wife who admired you. Where some saw cruelty, she saw beauty in the flaming reds, in the strands of purple, in the dark hues, and even in the rigid patterns of your tapestry.