Friday, March 29, 2013

The Myron Violation

Myron Silverman

The only remaining relative from my mother’s family is uncle Myron (Mike) Silverman.  While not very close, we have stayed in touch.  A few weeks ago, anticipating his 89th birthday, I called to see about visiting he and his wife Connie in Connecticut. I found their phone disconnected.  Some research revealed that both had been moved into a nearby assisted living facility.

The facility manager would not give me any details as I wasn’t on ‘the list.’ They said the estate administrator was one of my aunt’s niece's whom I did not know.  A staff member took my phone number to pass along to Connie’s niece.  To date, I have not heard from my Aunt’s niece and have a gut feeling I never will.

I was told that I couldn’t even visit Mike and Connie unless sanctioned by the niece.  It’s sad when things come to this.  I’m sure many of you have experienced even more challenging and upsetting situations with your family members. They’re rarely easy.

Myron is a fairly passive but creative man. Like my mother, he worked in an office with stuff all over the place.  “I know where everything is,” he once said reminding me of a sign over my mother’s desk that read, ‘A neat desk is the sign of a sick mind.’ 

These events got me thinking: time is a commodity in limited supply.  The tricky part is we have no idea just how much, or how little, we have left. That makes what we do with our time so important. Reflecting on this now, I feel great clarity about my priorities. Things weren’t always this clear.

For many years I was ‘chasing after rainbows’ (from “Most of All You”, Music by James Newton Howard and Lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman from the film Major League). But rainbows can’t be contained.  They bring beauty for an instant and then - POOF - they vanish. 

What is important to me?  Finding someone to go through time with who cares about me and whom I care about; my children, their wives and my grandchildren; appreciating every day and never forgetting that once it’s gone we can never get it back; remembering the power of kindness and the gift of laughter.  While not rainbows, they are the colors of my life.

Please permit me to share one Myron Silverman anecdote with you. Many years ago, on a boys-only family camping trip, we noticed that Myron had a tendency to talk about some other meal while he was eating the food in front of him.  It was annoying. Sometime later, we came up with “The Myron Violation.”  This occurs when someone with whom you are dining begins talking about another meal.  So you call them out on it.  But not all situations are clear-cut violations.  For example, what if you’re eating and someone talks about a recipe?  Is that a Myron Violation?  Over the years, my brother, sons, and nephew (and now the extended family) have found amusement in this and the related debates.  At some point, I actually told Myron about it and he laughed.  I realize now that this will be his legacy to us.

I am determined to see Mike and Connie.  Stay tuned.

On The Road…

April 1 – 2:  Client meetings, Chicago, IL

Apr. 9 -10:  PERE (Private Equity Real Estate Magazine) Global Investor Forum, Los Angeles, CA

May 29 – 30:  IMN (Information Management Network) U.S. Real Estate Opportunity Fund and Private Fund Investing Forum, New York, NY

June 4 – 5:  PERE Summit (Private Equity Real Estate Magazine), London, UK


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