(Above photo: Mollie Goldstein, atop horse, and Ann Goldstein, standing)
Every so often I receive an e-mail from a reader asking, “Why firstname.lastname@example.org?” That’s the e-mail address I use at the bottom of my columns, as well as at this website. Although I have another account that I use mostly for personal matters, the email@example.com is checked several times per day.
I’ve had many people assume Ann Gold is my assistant—which is laughable, considering I sit in Cosi most days, picking lint from between my toes while drinking my seventh Diet Coke. Others seem to think I’m hiding behind a fake name.
Here’s the interesting truth: I love when people ask me about the address, because it’s pretty meaningful for me. It’s a story I like to tell. My grandma, Mollie Pearlman, was a sweet old lady who died a few years ago in her late 80s. She lived in an assisted living facility in Ft. Lauderdale, and always delighted in seeing me, my brother, my folks, whoever. She liked to chat; read; do art. She was very open-minded for her age; worried incessantly; used to watch jai alai matches with my Grandpa Nat (before he died in, I think, 1995) and was very Jewish (more culturally, I’d say, than anything else). She was absolutely fantastic, and I miss her often—especially when I get off the plane in Florida and think back to her meeting us at the airport. Just writing that … man, I really did love her.
I digress. My grandma was born in 1913. She had an older sister, Ann, and an older brother, Artie. Their last name was Goldstein. They lived in New York—lower-to-middle class Brooklyn Jews. When my grandma was, oh, 7 or 8, Ann got sick. I don’t recall the cause, or how it happened. But the family somehow took her to Montreal to a hospital—where she died. So while I, technically, had a Great Aunt Ann, she failed to live past her 1oth or 11th birthday.
This always struck me as tragic, and I’d ask Grandma to tell me as much as she could about her sister. When my grandma passed, and her brother passed, there was nobody left to remember Ann Goldstein. She vanished from history, almost as if she never existed.
Hence, anngold22 (22 for my birthday).