My cousin Alan Barer posted this true story about my Dad — Uncle Dave to him — on his blog. I am reposting it here:
Dave was about ten when he came to the U. S. While my father never lost
his accent, Uncle Dave was comfortable in switching from Yiddish to
English and back with no trace of accent.
Enrolled in an English
as a second language program at Sharpstein school he was quickly
mainstreamed His goal was to memorize a page of this dictionary each
He loved to play basketball and was heartbroken to not be
allowed to finish the eighth grade ruling out high school and a chance
to make the basketball team.
In 1984 a group of the Whitman
College class of "34" in town for their fiftieth reunion came to my
office to inquire as why their "classmate" Dave was not attending the
reunion. An avid tennis player and Clark Gable look-a-like he was a
popular man on campus tho not an enrolled student.
Shortly before his graduation his father, grandfather Barel, had an attack of asthma.
only known paliative was to spend time in Arizona. The absence of mold
and pollen in the desert climate provided temporary relief. This was
the sheep shearing season. The family income was derived mostly in a
short time each year by purchasing crops of wool from ranchers and
reselling to Pendleton Woolen Mills.
David entered the wool
buying business with vigor. In fact his early successes in the business
lead to a run in with the Leher family.
Suave Joe Leher was an
established wool buyer in the Walla Walla area. Year to year he
contracted in advance to buy the crops of the major wool producers in
the area. Grandfather Barel new to the business and with limited
English had to compete with him.
David began by calling on the biggest producers and buying from some of them.
day he received a summons to report to the prosecuting attourney’s
office. After sitting in a waiting room for some time wondering what it
was about, he was summoned into the office of the deputy prosecuting
attourney Bernie Leher the Harvaed Law School graduate son of Joe Leher.
glaring across the the desk for a suitable amount of time he consulted
a document and began, "Young man, it has come to this office’s
attention that you have conspired with the following wool growers —-
to break existing contracts.
This is a serious offense in the state of Washington of which you can be tried and convicted."
up your trial," replied the teen age David. "I am sure the judge would
like to know that you are using your public office for the benefit of
your father’s business". He turned his back to the flustered Bernie and
walked out of the office.