When my own kids, Katie and Jake, were small children, their grandmother El would take them to The Depot every time they visited Abington. Cousin David was still handsome and dashing, and he still had that special sweetness with kids: Jake and Katie always came away with something extraordinary from their expeditions to The Depot, and it was more than the clothing--it was David's time and attention that made those excursions so extraordinary.
Last year, I was in Jenkintown for a book signing at Barnes & Nobel; the wonderful Schloss/Miller clan came out in force to support me. There among them was Cousin David, silver-haired now, but still as handsome and as dashing as ever. After the reading, he called me over to him and, very shyly, showed me an old worn black-and-white photo that he had obviously dug out on purpose to bring that evening. It showed a very young David--maybe 18 or 19 years old--in a US Army uniform. He must have been scared, for I know from family stories that he was in the Normandy invasion, but he looks at the camera with the same insouciant grin that he wears always in my mind. In the photo, he is standing in front of his Jeep, and the Jeep has a name: in big block letters on its door, it says "JUDY."
I must have been an infant, the first of the next generation; that he painted my brand-new name on his war-scarred Jeep moves me more than I can express. It is the act that will illuminate David's memory for me forever. David, wherever you are, I know you're still grinning. Bless you.
-- Judy Wikler Botello
September 7, 2000
Itís hard to imagine David gone. He was so young in spirit that he seemed young in every way. I always felt, somehow, that he would go on forever.
I loved David. He was handsome and dashing, yet gentle and accessible. He had a way of giving you his full attention and making you feel special. He had a twinkle in his eye and a wonderful sense of fun.
Mom and Dad used to talk about Davidís experiences in the War. It was easy to imagine him as a handsome young man Ė little more than a boy, really Ė jumping out of airplanes. That seemed glamorous to me, though now I realize that the War must have been very hard on David, especially as he was badly wounded in a jump.
After I grew up and moved to New York, I used to make special trips to Elkins Park to go to the Depot. I always found what I wanted there -- not only the right clothing, expertly chosen, but especially David himself, and his unique way of making me feel loved and connected.
Just a couple of months ago, at Janís party, David looked happy and well, and he was as handsome and charismatic as ever. Iíll always remember him that way.
-- Janet (ďJannyĒ) Wikler
September 9, 2000
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