Five Years

joshua goldstein footstone in ohev shalom cemetery in brookhavenJune has many special dates in it for me. Most are happy dates, like 10 June, our wedding anniversary (27 years, this year,) the kids high school graduations, and several others. There is one sad one, though. On 11 June 2012, my father died. Five years. When I was a kid, I didn’t know how I would get along without my dad. Since I was a around 10 years old, my dad would say, “one day, I’m just going to wind up in Brookhaven.” Every time he would say it, my mom would get mad at him. He and I would laugh.

My dad was use to going to the cemetery there. His mother died when he was four years old and he started visiting her grave with his sisters and brothers before he was seven. As he liked to point out, he was going there so long, Brookhaven Road was just a dirt road. I guess I’ve been going there for a long time, too. I was probably eight or 10 when I would go with my dad sometimes to visit my uncle Herman’s  grave. My dad also showed me where his mother was buried, and his brother Abe. And the twins, Morris and Pauline, who died in infancy a year or two before my dad was born.

goldstein tombstone in ohev shalom cemetery in brookhavenGoing there now is completely different, though. When I was a kid, I didn’t know many of the people buried there and I would come and go with my dad. Now, there are many people there that I knew. The biggest difference is it is now the only place I can go to be with my dad. It does make me smile, though, when I think of all of our conversations about the cemetery.

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Joshua Goldstein, 7 January 1918 – 11 June 2012

My dad died today. He was 94. What an amazing man he was. He was the youngest of eight kids born to Russian immigrants. His mother died when he was just four years old. Before he turned 10 he was selling the Chester Times newspaper. A year or two later, he began working at the Edgmont Beef Company, a supermarket in Chester, PA.

He started working full time after dropping out of school after completing the eighth grade. He also did some boxing around the time he was 15, but was forced to stop by his sister Jane after a hard fought victory left him pretty bloody and bruised. He continued to work at the Edgmont Beef Co. until he was drafted into the service in the early 1940s.

He was trained in aviation ordnance and subsequently trained others. He grew tired of being a teacher and wanted to fight. He got his wish and became a tail gunner. He flew 24 missions and was credited with several kills. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. On his 24th mission, his plane was shot down over Quedlinburg, Germany. He was a Prisoner of War for 13 months in camps in Germany and Poland.

Once home after the war, he returned to the Edgmont Beef Co. until his brother died in July, 1970. He left his position at the Edgmont Beef to help my aunt run the small supermarket at 52nd and Market Streets in Philadelphia. He then bought his own market in West Philadelphia, on his way to buying 15 stores during his career. Early on, he bought underperforming stores that Acme and A&P no longer wanted, in areas they no longer wanted to be in.

Along the way, he taught me about life, sports, and business. He let me do things that kids with visual impairments probably shouldn’t do. I could also get him to do things he probably shouldn’t have done. “Dad, do you think this station wagon could do 85?” I asked on a trip to Pittsfield, MA. It could. My mom was nervous when me and my dad would test each other like that. I never got hurt too badly and he never got a speeding ticket while I was with him.

I am going to miss my dad. We spoke on the phone almost daily for years, talking about business, the stock market, the Phillies, and Jacob and Jane. He also would joke about ending up in Brookhaven. Thursday at 2.00pm, it won’t be a joke anymore. I just hope he doesn’t need any permits from the borough.

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I Want iPhone Apps That Work with Voiceover

Is that too much to ask? My friend Jim told me about an app called IMapMyWalk. So I go to the the App Store and get the free version of it to try out. I was really excited about the app. It will show a map of where you walk/run/bike, along with the time it takes you to complete the route, how many calories burned and some other really cool things. One thing I should point out, I never buy/download apps or music with my phone because it takes too long to find what I want. I use my iMac and then sync up the computer and phone. I’m jealous of Eliz and Jane, because they just grab stuff on their phones (Jake only has a basic phone, but sometimes uses his iPod Touch to grab music.)

Seems that this app, along with many others, aren’t compatible with Voiceover. For those that don’t know about Voiceover, it is the function on the iPhone makes using the iPhone work for people who are visually impaired or blind. When Voiceover works, it is awesome. It seems to work well with all the Apple products that come with the iPhone like the weather, stocks, iPod, and the email (though if the send has images in the email without titles, you are left wondering what they are…) Some third-party apps seem to work well with Voiceover. GroceryIQ is one that comes to mind. Other apps fall short. Some just don’t give titles to buttons, so when you touch a button, all you hear is “button.” The Absolute Radio app has titled some buttons, while others are just “button.”

So back to the IMapMyWalk app. I tried multiple times to get it to run on my phone, but it wouldn’t. The buttons were labeled, they just didn’t do anything. including the “Having Trouble?” button. After messing with the app for a day or two, I put it on Eliz’s phone. It seems to work fine on there. Who knew our route around our neighborhood had a 75 foot difference from the high-point to the low-point? We know now…

The frustration for me is that someone must launch the app on Eliz’s phone for me and hit the stop button when I get home. Eliz usually starts it for me, because we all leave together. The last two times we walked, Jane didn’t go, so she was home and hit the stop button for me (because I walk a little faster than Eliz and Jake, they finish a few minutes after I do.) Today was the last day I’ll be using the IMapMyWalk app as my frustration boiled over with it. If I really want to track my progress, speed, and time, I’ll buy this talking pedometer from Amazon.com, learn what buttons i need to push and be able to do it on my own.

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