The last five days were spent with my grandsons Nate and, for two of those days, Remy. Nate came back to our house for three days, and I just had the best time with him, doing not much of anything special, but just enjoying him and seeing life through his eyes. Being with my grandsons makes me think about how important those first few years of life are—how they form us, teach us about the world, and introduce us to relationships, love, trust, friendship, and family.
I was fortunate to get a box of old photographs from my cousin Jody a few weeks ago, and I spent one day last week scanning those photos, many of which will eventually get posted on the blog. But for today, as I think about being with Nate and Remy, I want to recognize those people I spent most of my time with during the early years of my own life—my parents, my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, and my older cousin Jeff. We all lived within a few minutes of each other in Parkchester, a large apartment complex in the Bronx, and I probably saw them every day or almost every day during those years. We also spent summers together near Lake Mahopac, New York, on Long Pond. They called me Kugel, or Amy Kugel, or sometimes just Kug–the only people who ever did. (My mother still occasionally does.)
They made me feel loved, and they gave me a sense of family that has stayed with me all my life. I can only hope that we are doing the same for Nate and Remy, even though we don’t live close enough to be with them as much as I was able to be with my grandparents at their ages. Although I don’t have many specific concrete memories of those years, these photographs capture those magical years of my early life.