Monday, May 14, 2007

The important stuff...

This blog isn't about my family - it's about web products and products in general... But since my Dad died last Tuesday, posting to my blog about web products seemed so unimportant - i felt like I could only continue posting after writing about him in some way...
But this blog isn't about the important stuff, like family and relationships... so, to honor my dad in this post, I guess I'll just focus on the stuff relevant to this blog - his love of technology and the web, his connection to web products and his interest in products in general. I won't mention all the important stuff, such as the relationship I had with him - which, unlike any of my friends relationships with their fathers growing up, was open and honest, based on complete trust and, in many ways, more of a friendship than most experts (or maybe even I, as a dad myself now) might consider healthy. And I won't mention how much I loved him, 'cause even if I tried, there are no words on paper or bits on a web server somewhere which could fairly describe the depth of my love for him... and I won't mention how deeply I trusted him and respected him and how comfortable I was in his unconditional love for me and my wife and my kids - 'cause that certainly isn't relevant here.... and I certainly won't get into his relationship with my mom - which started when they were early teens and started again in their 60's... and I won't get into my Dad's love of his grandchildren (again, no words...), nor his commitment to all the people he helped as patients while he practiced psycho-analysis for 20+ years (after changing the course of his prior 15+ years as a stock-broker - imagine?)...and his love of his profession as a therapist and his passion for life and all the things that brought him joy - I won't mention it! Most of all, I'll skip all the talk of his courage and resilience as he cleverly battled cancer for 7 years, even though the doctors figured his to be less than a 1-year fight - which is forgivable, as they clearly didn't know him and clearly hadn't met his partner in this battle - my mom, who had already beat this evil disease herself and who, with her power of positive thinking (and cooking) could likely cure world hunger - not to mention (which I won't!) the motivation he had, to live to see all 3 of my kids be born, and his other 3 grand-daughters grow into beautiful young women, none of which would not have been possible given his original prognosis... no... all of that is irrelevenat for you, the reader of this un-important blog...


So - what is relevant for this blog then? My dad loved technology... starting with any physical electronic or audio/video gadget, maturing into computing gadgets in the late 80's and more recently turning into a pure love of the web. He was the first person I knew on the web... in fact, he was on the pre-web - on Compuserve's CIS service - getting online help from Gary Yost of Autodesk 3D-Studio fame when we founded Vivid Images together with my Brother-in-law (flying logos for videos). Then he gravitated to the web, where he would give me on an almost daily basis a rundown of the best new sites at a time when only a few hundred were posted per day (on the whole web!). He even started his own column called "How Come?" when he hooked up with a friend who was running the earliest ISP I ever knew. He was the first to tell me about Yahoo, about AOL, about Google (which, even my friends remember as an ironically early foreshadowing of my future employer) - and he was the first to get hooked on Ebay, when he slowly sold off a collection of a few hundred car magazines which were abandoned at our house by an old nomadic friend who reviewed cars and bikes for a living. In fact, he started a site called "SearchAllAuctions" which, before Ebay had cornered that market, allowed people to see search results across all the auction sites (yes, there were actually other players in that space back then). He must have hit a good idea on that one, as Ebay sent him a "cease and desist" on crawling their auction listings ;). He was a pioneer of the web the same way he was an early adopter in all his adult years in audio, CD's, home video production, and anything else electronic. Having secret insight into my future, he was also an avid spreadsheet user - starting with Lotus 1-2-3 and even a hardly-known product called Lucid-3D.
More recently, of course, he maintained a personal DVD Ratings list on Google Spreadsheets, which I subscribe to... and he even, in his last few months, began designing StepParentsOnline.com where his vision was to help people understand and cope with the complex relationships between stepparents and stepchildren.

So - that's the relevant stuff here... not very important, but relevant to most readers of this stream of bytes who, luckily, don't come to my blog to get the stuff which makes life important. The important stuff are the people waiting for you to stop reading this so you can get back to them.

"Burn Slowly the Candle of Life" - Edward Rochelle (original credit to the Moody Blues)

14 comments:

Dawn said...

this is such a beautiful article and how wonderfully you have captured dad's interests - he obviously played an important role in inspiring you -

Anthony said...

Beautifully written. I didn't know your Dad but see what an incredible person he was and knowing you, realize that the "apple doesn't fall far from the tree" is so true. Keep on writing!

David Staschover said...

Beautiful words! Although you didn't talk about "all that other stuff", I would really enjoy reading about the details.. Maybe you can do a personal blog for that one (or even write a book :) He was one in a million, and you couldn't have conveyed that better.

Marilyn said...

Knowing your father, but not as well as I would have liked, I can see such strong similarities. You both are characterized as insightful, caring, capeable, full of knowledge and love. You are both teachers of life's great and small lessons.
I can think of no greater gift from a son to a father as the gifts you have given by touching the lives of all you have met in life. You are admired and loved by so many and I am proud to have you as my "brother".
I know how much pride and joy you have given your parents, with no better gift for a man to give or receive.

Dani said...

Thank you for sending me the link and email cuz. :-) I don't think anyone could have captured the essence of your dad any better than you did. It's nice to see such a memorable testament to someone who truly lived life.

I'm so grateful for the relationship I had with your father and for the impact he's had in my life. From Eddy's death, I am reminded of how significant a role we all have in contributing to a better life for the lives of the people we touch.

Cheers to great memories with everlasting effects.

John said...

My Brother (brother-in-law) Eddy



I must have been about ten. I adored and still do my sister who was oh so sweet sixteen. She had the coolest friends in FR High School. Irwin was a bit off the wall, very funny and like all the others very cool and his rich and sexy/beautiful sue, then there was Peter, my friends older brother, who according to my friend, was perpetually looking for a job by rolling up his bedroom window each morning and whispering "any jobs out there today"...he later became a successful businessman, Eddy H who I think was an entrepreneur when he was born, a whole slew of the coolest kids in the high school...you know the kind, everyone does. the kids who always had it made. Had the great times. Then there was Eddy, he was stealing away my precious Linda but he was worthy of her. Tall, always sun tanned dark , black hair and handsome. Best of all he was on the swim team which for a kid growing up near the water was the epitome of cool.



In the evenings they would gather in my basement, most of it finished and laugh and party. The girls were knockouts and the guys so very cool. I drilled a small peephole from the basement workroom to the main area so I could watch with glee the goings on. It was great. Like going to the movies.



Ed was and always remained the kind of guy that simply didn't have to work at all at getting people to like him. He was a magnet of special people. It was effortless. While we all try to be cool, or have some special talent that attracts people, or some special knowledge...people just liked Eddy.



They married and Ed and Lin first moved to a small complex near the high school. Just close enough for me to come whining over every time my dad decided to be tough on me. He was a good ear then as he would be for the rest of his life.



Shortly thereafter he moved to Huntington long before it was so fashionable. As a budding stockbroker he became very comfortable and they lived in a spacious but not ostentacios beautiful home. We, I and my wife, would spend many nights there, listening to music hanging out and when it was time retiring to the great outdoor pool in the middle of a summer night where they would swim and romp while I sat at the bottom of the pool holding my breath as long as I could gleefully watching the goings on above. It was magical. The happiness was simply there...always.



Eddy had once again attracted a whole new group of interesting and fun friends and I was privaledged to count them as my acquaintences.



I have been lucky enough in my life thus far to know a great many successful people. Many times I wondered how they had so much when I worked so much harder. With ed it was different. with him I always wondered how he managed to live such a charmed life and take so many great vacations and still have so much more than I. He took vacationing as a kind of art form. A week of Motorcycling out west, followed by a week on some Island followed by great adventure after great adventure...always documenting it with his camera and pictures worthy of any gallery (trust me I know, it's what I do for a living).

They had two kids who each have three kids. I adhored Jon and his sister Dawn. There is no way to express how I feel about them. All I can say is the apple does not fall far from the tree. I loved them as kids and I love them as parents. And their kids are even better. I guess its like a seed. It grows. the first year it looks great. the next season its showing some strength and the following season its just downright beautiful.

As quickly as he succeeded in finance Ed traversed into Psychology just as the collective conciousness of the world was waking up to the need to be more thoughtful. He helped alot of people and with the help of his great friend Buster contributed to the founding of an important psychotherapy center. I don't know much about it...just that there seemed to be a wave of peace that came over him at that time. A kind of "knowing". You can see it on his face in Jonathans pictures. he would make such simple and direct comments about things and people. Just straightforward and non judgemental. Someone did something outlandish and he would smile and say look at that...and then go on to expalin it just was what it was. He wouldn't judge. Just make you think why something is and you "ain't goin to change it so just let it be".

Buy now he had moved to far simpler quarters still in huntington but one of those homes that you just imagined ran itself. (I'm sure there was a whole lot more to it) but it just seemed that way. Whenever we needed a break we would come out and my sis would always have a fridge full of food and I was always welcome to "nosh" all day. that was great. more importantly, as a previous owner of a gourmet food shop, her stuff WAS always great...did you ever have a craanberry lettuce chikensalad and brie sandwich...to die for!

There was a period in my life when I needed some real support and help. Lin and Ed where there and believe me they did not have to be. But their belief in me changed my life forever. My parents planted the seeds of character in me. They watered and fed them. I will never forget them for that.

By now the family, all 12 of them had brought the art form of vacationing to new heights. I, once again found myself jelously looking on as they planned week long family outings on some mountain or some island or some hot spot. I was so envious. How did they do that. Doesn't everyone work 60 hours a week. Secretly I wished they'd invite me along and I am sure if I had the courage to ask they would but I always just looked on, like that little boy in the basement, with glee as they romped together with the kids they loved /love so much.

Then there were the papers. I don't know about anyone reading this but I must have 2 pounds of mail a week and ultimately it gets scattered throughout my work places. Ed had a shoe box. How he managed to keep eveything important in a shoebox where he could instantly acces information is beyond any imagination of organizational skill that I can pathom. Now maybe he had 42 back up boxes hidden. All I know is when I asked him about something he'd pull out that shoe box. Amazing.

Ed lived a charmed life as far as I am conbncerned. His value system was exactly as it should be and he was rewarded with an extraordinary family and a very full and peaceful life.

Toward the end he decided to build a website devoted to help stepkids and parents. He was terminally ill in the last weeks of his life and still wanted to help people. He would bug me constantly and I was overwhelmed frankly with my responsibilities and technical issues that made it, like most sites, go much slower in the build than I wanted.

In the last week or so of his life I heard he was in the hospital. I rushed out. I had to clear the air regarding his frustration with wanting to see this built "in time". I asked, "is eveything ok with us". No! why the heck can't you simply tell me when the site will be built!. I loved him for that. He said what I had been commiserating over. It was out in the open. He spoke the truth I knew and in doing so gave me a chance to clear the air with him and my family. Then he looked at me with that grin you see on Jon's pictures and continued...you know I still Love you. 100% Eddy. truthful, non judgemental and loving. It will be buit for him sooner I hope than later.

I and anyone who knows Eddy will miss him. But we will also be at peace because we all know he lived a non-regretful, full, happy and peaceful life and leaves behind a legacy of family, friends and perhaps a helpful site that will go on for many years to come.

I miss you already Ed.

Keep an eye out for me.

Love

John

Uncle said...

Thanks for letting me know about Ed's passing, Jonathan. I met Ed on the Silicon Investor website since the mid 1990s, and he was a fine forum-mate. Whether the topic was an investment or digital photography, Ed was a welcomed participant. I'll miss his insights, enthusiasm, and good will. My condolences to you and your family on your loss.

Uncle Frank

LindaBee said...

I want you to know that your expression of what your father meant to you and how he influenced you has touched my heart. I will share it with Jerry who, as you no doubt know, felt your father was not only his dearest friend (with whom he had shared so many lives), but a brother-sans-sibling rivalry. On the contrary, he was always impressed with your father's talents and abilities...with his transformation and constant growth...with his courage during these last years. But I will let him respond to this blog after I have shown it to him.

For me, knowing your dad for the past 20 years has enriched my life. He gave me the name I use here. He introduced me to the computer, the Internet in its infancy and we speculated together about the limitlessness of its impact. He taught me to use Photoshop and encouraged my creativity.

He even told me how Halavah is made!

Love,

LindaBee

leslie said...

jonathan, i never really knew your dad...reading what you wrote allowed me a "snippet" into some of the things that interested him and most importantly his relationship with his family. i am sorry that i didn't know him better.

howard said...

Wow! We miss your Dad. We had reacquainted with Linda & Ed when their 2nd life began together. Our friendship grew as our lives began to open to each other. We had been friends a long time ago. However, this time there was a depth and an openness in our sharing of family and hopes and dreams that brought us closer in 7 years, than in all the years before. Ed & Linda helped us learn to "burn the candle of slowly"
Sandy joins with Howard to thank you for your"Important Stuff..."

mimi said...

Mimi said....

I had the wonderful experience of meeting your father about 20+ years ago. We had a very lovely, beautiful and caring relationship. Unfortunately for one reason or another we both went our own ways. We spent some very nice, fun filled times together, in fact I had met both yourself and your sister.

Your dad called me for quite a few years around the jewish new year to find out how I was and how my daughters were doing. I really enjoyed speaking to him, he was quite a guy!

I just happened to look on the computer this week and I saw that your dad had past away. I felt so upset that a strong, vibrant man was gone at such an early age.

What you wrote about your dad is so beautiful and whatever you wrote sounds just like him and the person he was.

I feel badly for yourself and your sister and your children. Fortunately you all have such wonderful thoughts and memories of him. Your dad was one of the kind, the good kind.

May you all have peace and happiness.

Mary Freeman said...

Dear Linda
I tried to e-mail you though it did not go thru. I was so sorry to hear the news about Ed. It took me a long time to come to terms with it. He was like having a father I never had. He was so happy when you and he found your way back together years ago. Dreams do come true. Thank you for welcomming me into your home. I felt very comfortable because you are a very warm loving person. Ed always talked about the kids and grandchildren and loved them with all his heart. I was very fortunate to have met him. He helped me leave a marriage that was poison for me. He helped me become who I wanted to be and I will always be thankful for him.
Enen know I never met Dawn or Jr I feel as if I know them thru Ed.
I am so happy I found this page online. JR I loved reading your story it is very inspring.
love mary

Bridget Wynne said...

Hi Jon: I am a relative of yours who you don't know. Perhaps you have heard of me. My name is Bridget, and I'm a cousin of your mom's. Her grandmother Fannie Deutschman (nee Lublinsky) was the sister of my rgandfather Moe Luben. Several years ago I started putting together family history and connected with your mother by email. Recently another relative, Claire Hamlin (perhaps you know her) told me that your dad had died in the last couple years. I went online to see if I could learn more about your dad and found your lovely blog post. I want to offer you and your family my condolences. Your dad sounds like such a wonderful person. I took the liberty of putting his photo and yours on the family history website I created a while ago. Would it be OK if I post some of your writing about him on the website? Or would you like to do so? I would be glad to invite you onto the site, for which I'd need your email address. You might enjoy checking it out. I'd be glad to have you post anything you'd like about the family on it, and I'd also be glad to answer any questions you have about it. You can email me at rabbiwynne@earthlink.net and once I have your email I can invite you onto the site. I hope to meet you via email soon! Best, Bridget Wynne

barbara orr said...

i just learned or eds passing. while we had not been in touch for a number of years, i still considered him a great friend. he introduced me to computers; we spent many hours talking about our children, life and anything that popped into our heads.i know of his great love for jonathan and dawn and his grandchildren.....i am so so sorry