by reeta wolfsohn
The most important man in my life, Ed Wolfsohn, appeared at my apartment door thirty-five years ago, in the form of a blind date.
He asked me to marry him three weeks later, and then he flew to meet my parents (without me) to ask for their permission to marry me, two weeks after that. He has remained by my side ever since.
We were young and in love, with little thought or understanding of the challenges of married life. We had a lot of growing up to do but were fortunate enough to figure out how to do it together. It wasn’t always easy, but somehow we always managed to find the inner strength to tackle life’s many tests and to survive its ups and downs.
Over time we learned that dancing through life as a couple demands partners who are willing to follow as well as to lead. It means synchronizing your steps to the ever-changing rhythms of life, while listening to the same music but each hearing a different song. Ours has been a purely interpretive dance that is anything but well-choreographed. Eventually we came to understand that commitment, trust and respect are the basic steps, and the rest of the routine is just variations on the theme.
Then we discovered that practice, determination and flexibility would allow us to avoid the injuries that so many other dancers experience. This insight helped us to master acceptance – of self and of each other; to balance his optimism with my realism; to listen and to hear, as well as to speak and to share; to appreciate our similarities, as well as to honor our differences; to celebrate the good times, as well as support each other through the bad ones; to set boundaries; to remain healthy physically and emotionally; and to always, always make time for each other and for our relationship.
Our road to happily ever after has been long and winding but rewarding and fulfilling. It has allowed us to raise two wonderful sons and to do work that we each love. It has brought us to the beautiful mountains of WNC and has blessed us with many friends and wonderful family. It has taught us to learn from the past, to anticipate the future but most of all to treasure each moment of every day.
Ed has been a high school and community college teacher of English for over thirty-five years, and he also played and coached high school and college basketball. He has lifted weights his entire adult life, has a black belt and plays a mean game of racquetball. He is a writer, an excellent chef, and he has a very green thumb.
My husband is the most honest, sensitive, compassionate and generous person I have ever met. Sharing my life with him has made me a much better person. He is my hero, my role model, my rock, my life partner and my very best friend. His love and support nurture me. His faith and encouragement sustain me. His kindness and goodness inspire me.
Ed Wolfsohn cares deeply about how people are treated. He always does what is right, rather than what is convenient. He constantly searches for ways to brighten other people’s days and to make the world a better place. Most of the time he succeeds, and when he doesn’t, it’s never for lack of effort. In a world that is often indifferent, Ed makes a very real difference in the lives of those fortunate enough to meet or to know him – especially me.
When I was younger I envied my father’s students and players because he was able to give them something he could not give me. Now that I am older I realize that I am the lucky one because they only had him for a semester or for a few seasons – but he will always be my father. I am so grateful to have had him to teach me what really matters in this world and to help to coach me through life.
Michael Wolfsohn (Younger son)
I hope that when I leave this earth I can say I have so richly impacted other’s lives in the way my father has. He always stands up for what is right and for what he believes in, regardless of the consequences. His actions do not wavier with public opinion. He leads by example. I never had to look for role models in athletes or movie stars because I had the perfect example right under our roof. I remember as a child growing up in New York when my father would pull over to the side of the road to help an elderly woman to change her tire, or to give one a ride home from the supermarket and put her groceries in the house. He never looked for a pat on the back or a “good job”--he always said you do something for someone because you want to, not because you expect something in return. Wow, what a basic concept. If we all could just live by that rule how much better this world would be.
Jonathan Wolfsohn (Older son)
“It has been my pleasure to work with “Coach” Ed Wolfsohn, from New York. Mr. Wolfsohn is one of the most professional and caring instructors I have ever met and a “breath of fresh air” in our workplace. He tries to instill a positive and caring atmosphere wherever he goes. Ed Wolfsohn is like “The Giving Tree.” He continuously offers words of kindness and gives small gifts to his fellow faculty members, staff, and students. Every Friday he selflessly brings doughnuts or bagels to the instructors and staff. I hope we say, “Thank you,” often enough.”
FROM HIS STUDENTS:
Mr. Wolfsohn teaches more than commas and writing, he teaches stuff that really matters too.
Mr. Wolfsohn inspires us to do more than we ever thought we could do.
Mr. Wolfsohn genuinely cares about us as individuals, not just as students.
From his friend Lyle Willis:
Friendship with Ed
Friendship among men
Can be hard to see,
Without rhyme or reason
They just let it be,
Like a brother to me
Is this man called Ed,
Not by genetics
But from the heart instead,
Woman can talk of love
But to men it’s a snare,
Men can find it hard
To show that they care,
In his eye I have seen
Beautiful kindness within,
A man, a brother and my close friend.
Reeta Bochner Wolfsohn, [ 828-658-1919; femonomics.com; firstname.lastname@example.org ]
WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA WOMAN
is a publication of INFINITE CIRCLES, INC.
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