There’s no way of knowing when the circle of life will complete its orbit, or how many side trips it will make along the way.
Back in 2010 a notice from our temple said a man from Riverdale was seeking bone marrow donors to treat his acute myelogenous leukemia.
Ordinarily I’m embarrassed to say I would have paid little heed to the plea for help. I’d always shied away from even considering the thought of a bone marrow donation. I shuddered at even the test, which I thought entailed needles into one’s elbow, though I soon learned it was rather benign, a simple cheek swab to determine compatibility. The actual bone marrow donation also had passed from being needle-scary to the painless routine of giving blood.
This time I was drawn into the request by the man’s name—Matt Fenster. I didn’t know him at all, I knew nothing about him other than he was suffering from leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. Yet I felt a certain kinship with him.
You see, in high school I had an Israeli teacher who for some reason could not remember my last name was Forseter. He always called me Fenster, so much so that my friends started calling me Fenster as well.
With his name as a sign of to be brave, Gilda and I drove to the testing site, only to be turned away because we were 61, one year older than the donor age limit. We gave a donation but were bummed out we couldn’t do more.
A year later we learned Matt Fenster passed away, leaving four young children.
Fast forward to Friday. Our high school class scribe who keeps us abreast of happy and sad news of fellow alumni and their families sent a note relating that Leah Fenster of Riverdale had become engaged to Gabriel Miller, the grandson of one of our classmates.
It took minor Internet searching to discover Leah was Matt Fenster’s daughter.