By what standards do you measure a man? Do you count the number of degrees he has after his name? If that is your standard then Dad, Nat, would not measure too highly. Dad had little formal education. He grew up in the rough and tumble world of the poor in New York City. He was one of eight children and his childhood was not easy. He was always telling us stories about the exploits he and his friends and his brothers had as they were growing up. We never tired of listening to those stories either because they brought alive to us his life as he experienced it.
It used to make me angry when he apologized for not being educated or genteelly brought up because he had nothing to apologize for. What he lacked in formal education he more than made up for in the kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness for others that was him.
He worked very hard all his life to provide for his family. And despite all the odds and the ups and downs he did that extremely well. He wanted a better life for his children than he had and he succeeded in creating that life for them with Mom.
In his last few weeks when he was in the hospital and we were living at Mom and Dad's residence in North Park with Mom, we were stopped countless times by people who told us what a wonderful couple they were and how Dad added to their lives. His love of dancing and his bent for show biz made him the hit of the happy hours. One woman told Joel that she didn't even want to go to the happy hour if Nat wasn't there to liven it up with his unique dancing. I know that the shows in which Mother and Dad played such a big part with their waltzing will never be the same.
The other day I dropped Mom, Joel and Richard off at the hospital and I came back to North Park to get something when the woman who cleaned up the grounds and washed off the patios every morning stopped me and asked if I was related to the Beckers. It seemed they greeted her every morning and stopped to chat. She was from Long Island and they talked about the mutual interest they had here. She told me that they were the nicest kindest people living there.
It is the basic goodness of a man; his kindness, his generosity, his thoughtfulness, his caring, the love that is communicated by him. That is the measure of a man. That is the measure of Dad, Nat Becker. That is what Dad passed on to his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. That is what will live on in them. And while Dad is gone from us in this life that is the essence of him that will live forever.
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Copyright © 1998 by Dorothy Becker and Richard L. Becker