April 23, 2017

Mickey the Elder

My connection to Mickey (as he was known to his family) (Zuck) goes back to early days, when his parents taught botany and my father taught mathematics at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.   Both Mickey and I went to Drew ourselves as undergraduates, and both of us ended up living in Maine.

My son, Michael Davidson (Mickey), was named in his honor.  Over years I came to admire this gentle, sweet man, and to constantly be amazed that he could literally do anything.  He could write a poem, sing a tune, play several instruments, tell a great joke, win at Scrabble, do the really hard Sudokus, and solve life problems as well.  He designed the most ingenious fix for years of ice damming at my house, retaining the architectural value of old wooden gutters but making them function finally with a molded metal lining.

He could make things out of wood, like the best rocking horse, a cherry clock, and a bed for our Mickey with both drawers and a trundle, which made it very high, so that to this day kids fight over who gets to sleep in it when they stay at our house.  Our Mickey asked him to help frame a picture he bought for me with money he saved, and “Mickey the Elder” (as he called himself) sweetly and generously said yes and made a perfect frame for him, though young Mickey had no idea how difficult that actually was to do.

We each had a corgi puppy from the same litter, and when they died within a day or two of each other at 13 ½ years old, Mickey made them each a wooden coffin so we could bury them next to each other at the back of his field.

Everything he did spread joy and beauty in our world. It is hard to imagine the seasons changing without seeing him with syrup, with greens, with apples, and most of all, with Gail.  We feel diminished by his passing, but so rich with memories.

Valerie Levy