Meet our son, Gangum. But we call him Gang …

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So I was walking through the Inglewood Park Cemetery earlier today, and I stumbled upon the above stone. It sort of speaks for itself.

I just conversed with the wife about this a few minutes ago—while I have no desire to be buried after death, I love strolling among the tombs and plots, reading about lives in short little takes that leave you fascinated, sad, curious, encouraged, enlightened and—at times—laughing. I’m guessing Herman and Dorothy pronounced the name “Rap-ay” or “Ra-pee,” but even in the 1930s and 40s and 50s it couldn’t have been such a can of joy.

Back when I was a kid, growing up on the mean streets of Mahopac, a fair number of children called me “Pearl-girl.” Which, as you can imagine, sucked. But there were far worse circumstances in my hometown. I was a seventh or eighth grader when one of my classmates urinated himself in the cafeteria. For the next year, he was “Puddles.” Another student has his last name changed midway through sixth grade—not fun. And then there’s my dear mother, whose maiden name is Herz (pronounced “Hurts”). She was regularly asked to send regards to “Uncle Dick,” but failed to pick up the meaning.

“My uncle’s name is John.”


“No, John.”


“John! There is no Dick Herz”


Still, it beats Rape.