22 January 2008

Jacob Hertzman (1981-1996)

One has to be moved by the tribute of family and friends to a young boy who died just short of his fifteenth birthday after a life complicated by multiple congenital abnormalities. He was my 1st cousin 2nd removed, lived in the same city, but I never met him and hardly knew anything about him until I recently saw The Jacob Stories, a little book compiled by his mother Jill, with Elayne Freeman, and wonderfully illustrated by grandmother Florence (Toronto, 2004).

Jill wrote of her son: “Jacob was a puzzle whose pieces did not quite fit. He was an unusual combination of fierce determination and fragility. When he felt well he boldly went about the business of living.” (p.xiv)

The graphic (below) was done by Kaylee Mimron, a friend of Jacob’s at Kohai Education Centre in Toronto, a special needs school where he blossomed.

Toronto, 22 January 2008

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emeritus said...

a friend, fellow historian wrote:

[Jacob's] life & death, now that's something important and wonderful and terribly sad.