My Weekend, Up and Down

April 10, 2017

My weekend, up and down.

My mom died 24 weeks ago. Since then a former law partner, hero and role model’s wife departed. (The former law partner is Lowell Rothschild. More on him below.) A great, great attorney and larger than life man, Steven Phillips—who was a landlord, mentor, and dear friend—died suddenly the day after Thanksgiving. Just before the end of the year, friends for 50 years lost their wife and mom. She was the woman who asked me and her oldest daughter, driving us home from high school one day, why the school did not teach elocution. (No answer, for I had to look up the word in my dictionary, but I’ve never forgotten the fact that Joan D. thought we needed to worry about how we speak to one another.) Sadly, many others have left us since the end of 2016. Which brings me to the weekend we just left behind.

Saturday Morning

Our dear family friend, Robert S. Hirsch, M.D., crossed over the other side on Saturday morning. Bob—he was Dr. Hirsch for a long time until I grew up—was a family friend and, really, mishpocha, for 55 years.

Bob was a great doctor. For a hypochondriac like me—not the worst kind, for sure, but a worrier—he sometimes seemed a bit casual. Over time I came to recognize the virtue associated with his non-alarmist approach. (When we were back door neighbors for more than 15 years, he hospitalized me for five days—I was 15—on account of pneumonia. Good call!)*

Bob also never stopped doctoring, even though he retired a long time ago. With care about not having kept up, and concern about interfering with treatments, he was always available for advice and wise judgment.

Bob was a leader in his profession. From memory—I expect that his obituary will be a better source—he led both the Pima County Medical Society and the Arizona Medical Association. Bob was also active in the Jewish community, and he and his wife Harriet were active members of the Tucson community. We will miss Bob sorely. Condolences to Harriet, children Julie and David, grandchildren, family, and friends.

Saturday Evening

On Saturday evening Tucson’s January 8th Foundation had a friend-raising event to heighten awareness about the January 8th memorial. The memorial, which will almost surely be a part of the National Parks system, will be within and just west of the old Pima County Courthouse. Tucsonans who don’t focus on downtown often: think tile dome and pink—now tan, and G-d bless historians—building on Church St. between Alameda and Pennington.

Mayor Jonathan Rothschild volunteered me as counsel for the Foundation. Lucky me, truly, for I am far more appreciated than I deserve to be, and I’m associated with a truly great project.

I wish with all of my heart that Christopher Reeve was alive, that by acting as Superman he got super power, and that he could make the Earth spin backwards until that fateful morning, and undo the dreadful damage which occurred. Alas, Mr. Reeve is gone, and in Studio 360’s show, American Icon’s: Superman, someone suggested that Superman putting the Earth in reverse was implausible. Implausible? Really?

So, we take what comes. For me, on Saturday evening, that meant being amongst survivors, including Pam Simon (a good speller, and a lovely woman), Ron Barber (a mensch, truly), and the incomparable Gabby aka Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Uplifted to the max, for these people went through hell and came back, reminding us all that even in our darkest times goodness abounds.


At a luncheon meeting about a new case I heard about Tucson’s Lowell Rothschild Reflects on Legal Career that Spans 6 Decades, a story in the Sunday Arizona Daily Star. Mr. Rothschild aka Mr. R—regular readers, and there was and will be again a time when there was stuff here to read regularly, will recall references to him—is one my heroes and role models. He’s a great attorney, and an interested and interesting man. Kind too, and kinder than he was when I bumped up against him 30+ years ago as a toddler lawyer.

Mr. R had a luncheon the other week, on the 65th anniversary of his becoming an attorney. He told some of his great stories, beat the over / under on how many seconds before he’d cry—it was 17 seconds, and he creamed it—and noted that he is one of only seven attorneys in his family, with one more on the way. The first, and the oldest, but one of only eight.

The lesson from all of this? Sadly, loss comes, and it will keep coming, but with the pain comes joyful remembrances, and opportunities to share our blessed lives with others. One other lesson. Work works. Mr. R will be at his desk this morning, I’m sure. As will Irwin Sattinger who’s a year older than Mr. R, my stepdad, and plenty young more than halfway between 90 and 91.

*There were many more good calls. When Bob retired I went through several doctors before I found the right one.

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