Rosa’s eulogy – delivered by Jessica

Rosa Esman, Dad’s only sister, was unfortunately unable to travel to be here today, but she sent the words she had hoped to deliver herself.

From Rosa Esman, Dad’s sister:

Good afternoon, it is wonderful to see you all here in honor of my big brother.

I am Rosa Esman, nee Mencher, Alan’s only sibling, and 2 ½ years younger than my big brother. So, growing up, I was the only sister he could blame, torture and complain about to our fairly patient parents.

I on the other hand, truly thought my brother was the cat’s meow.

Maybe all kid sisters feel that way. As a tot I do remember standing in my baby bed and fantasizing that we would grow up and share an apartment together in New York. When I now think about our adult differences in politics, I think we would have killed each other long ago, had we done so. But growing up no such differences existed. Everyone was a Democrat for FDR.

I would like to particularly say a few words about growing up in New York City with Alan as my big brother. In his youth Alan was particularly, tall, lean and oh so handsome. Needless to say, he was an outstanding A student. We were in the same private high school, Birch Wathen, and for me, having an upper class sibling afforded a particular status, particularly because that sibling was Alan. I am sure that many of my friends befriended me just in order to get his attention (Big mistake! They should have known that big brothers disdain anything or anyone having to do with kid sisters).

It seemed to me that Alan had always enjoyed New York City and I think he started to hate it after he lived in Zurich and experienced the ease of European cities.

In his teenage years, the most important activity for my big brother was sports. He was a superb athlete and captain of most of the school athletic teams simultaneously. You can see in our father’s home movies what a graceful swimmer he was.

In tennis he always aced his opponents, and as a young adult he became an accomplished skier. Skiing became such a passion that he joined the US foreign service in order to conquer the Alpine slopes. I, foolish kid sister, predicted that in joining the service he would be stationed as consulate in poverty-stricken cities of Asia or Africa. Silly me! The Alan magic assured him of being sent abroad first to London, then to Paris, then back to London where he came upon the wondrous Eve.

But do not think that he was not a pain in the neck as a brother. And of course, I was always the butt of all his pranks.

For instance, there was the incident my mother recalled to me of the baby grand Knabe piano which our parents purchased on the cusp of the depression, (all well-brought-up Jewish children, depression or not, talent or not, had to suffer through piano lessons)

I was about 3 years old when the arrival of this momentous purchase took place. A few days after, my mother arrived home from shopping to discover all the ivories of the piano had been chipped at the edges, a suspicious toy wooden mallet lying by. She was horrified. “What happened here”? Alan’s voice immediately piped up, “Wosa did it!”

Yet, somehow he ended up with that piano, and it has now been practiced on by 5 Menchers of the next generation.

Although we have not seen each other frequently these recent years, I shall truly miss my big brother.

Those were the words of Dad’s sister Rosa Esman, who wishes she could be here today, but was unable to travel.