I was born in the Bronx, N.Y., of immigrant parents. My father came from Minsk in 1891 at the age of 20, made and lost several fortunes. His first wife, Yetta, was sickly and died and bore him no children. When he was 60 he married my mother, who was 40. Unexpectedly, I came along, unwanted at first, but then doted upon by a 60 year old father, 42 year old mother and 23 year old half sister.
My parents had a grocery store in Little Italy and the Catholic kids beat me up because I was a Jew. Tuesday afternoons was Catechism, and I learned to hide those days, as they were taught that I killed Christ. I did not think it possible that a kid could kill God, and so I realized the world was sick and crazy. So I decided to become a doctor and eventually a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. Freud made sense to me, so I studied Freudian theory, practiced Freudian technique and entered into a ten year couch analysis with the top training analyst in town, Harry August. I learned about myself and my unconscious mechanisms and eventually freed myself from neurotic inhibitions and conflicts.
Pearl Harbor Day I was 10 and when I was 14, the war was over and the United Nations was established. In JHS 118 I was chosen to give a speech to the assembly on world peace. I was full of life and hope at the time. People applauded and my home room teacher was complimentary.
I went to the Bronx High School of Science and thence to the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), where I completed my medical studies in 1957. 2007 was the year of my 50th medical class reunion, where I was recognized among the living. Some of us were still active and healthy. Others were retired and some were sickly. We re-established some old relationships and formed new ones.
I became a 'maverick' psychoanalyst because I thought the 'rules' of analysis were overly strict and irrational. Psychoanalytic institutes were run like orthodox religious institutions, which were anathema to scientific philosophy.
My second marriage at age 42 proved happy and fulfilling and I felt successful in both Love and Work. My daughter, Claire Bloom went to Brown University and then to Harvard Medical School, specializing in primary care and internal medicine, staying with the Harvard Plan for many years. Now she works in Massachusetts General Hospital and has her own practice. She has a reputation for being a Top Doc and the doctor's doctor.
Shirley's daughter, Dorcas also went to Brown, and took her medical training at the University of Michigan. She became a psychiatrist on the faculty of the University of Washington, and distinguished herself doing research and writing professional papers. She worked many years in the VA, treating wounded veterans and eventually left to become the psychiatric consultant in the new Swedish cancer hospital.
Son David went to Oberlin, then Wayne and then the U of M Engineering school, obtaining a master's in electrical engineering. He evolved from computer systems and IT to becoming a highly valued business coach and incubator of new businesses in the Ann Arbor area.
Shirley's son, Gordon became a corporate lawyer for a prominent Chicago law firm, going from winning a significant class action suit to international law in Russia. He continues to be a litigator in major suits around the world.
Elizabeth took classical studies at the U of M and then went on to law at Washington University and works as a litigator in insurance law. Both Gordon and Elizabeth graduated from Washington University law school in St. Louis.
All have benefited from dinner table conversations about the human condition, where we discussed such subjects as politics, philosophy, psychology, Shakespeare and theology. Our family has climbed the High Sierras in Yosemite, vacationed at St. John, Virgin Islands, and took annual trips to Stratford for the Shakespeare Festival.
Now, at age 79, I enjoy an interesting practice, a large loving family and good old friends. It is a good life, and I no longer worry that the world is heading toward catastrophe. The new administration gives me hope that intelligence, rationality and idealism will prevail, in spite of human nature and the human condition.
I hope the world finds a way to peace and brotherhood, goals worth striving for. The great novels point invariably toward the benefit of striving altruistically for goodness, working to advance civilization beyond the stone age and the jungle. I admire people who never give up hope and keep trying to make it a better world.
I hope the world is a better place for my having been born and lived in it, and that I am remembered long and well. I continue to practice and enjoy my work greatly. In such a life, one grows from the physical to the metaphysical in preparation for the end.