Friday, August 31

Me And "Uncle Ruby"

A got a very nice surprise today.

My cell phone rang while I was at work. I picked it up. The caller, a woman, asked if I was Dave Simanoff.

Yes, I said.

She asked if I was busy.

I was, but I said I wasn't.

Then she told me I look a lot like my grandfather.

That's not something I hear a lot. In fact, it's something I have never heard before.

My grandfather, Rubin Simanoff, died ages before I was born. I've seen him in a handful of yellowing photographs, but I don't really have a good idea of what he looked like. I know he had dark hair and wore glasses and was barrel-chested.

The caller was named Sherry. She and her husband moved to Tampa not too long ago, and she recognized me as a relative after catching my business reports on WFLA and seeing my byline in the Tribune. (Let's face it -- there aren't too many Simanoffs in the world. It's not like my name is David Smith, right?)

My grandmother was Sherry's great aunt. Britt says that makes me and Sherry third cousins. Sherry remembers my grandparents fondly. She says she called my grandfather Uncle Ruby, and said my grandmother had a great sense of humor -- "not like Lucille Ball, but she was funny." She also remembers what my dad was like as a little kid.

Sherry originally tried to get in touch with me by sending me an e-mail at work, but I didn't receive it. It's possible it was eaten up by the spam filter, and it's just as likely that I accidentally deleted it. I try to stay on top of hundreds of e-mail messages a day, and I'm sure I've accidentally axed a few that I should have opened.

When I didn't reply to her e-mail message, Sherry got my phone number through some relatives in New York. Then she gave me a call this afternoon and told me I look like my grandfather. Which, when you hear it for the first time, is a wonderful and warm compliment to receive. It's a reminder that the family members who aren't around still play an important roles in our lives.

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