'I remember his silences as much as his words.'
My family had been friends with Sam since my father met him, in 1956. I was named after his poem Alba, and he was sort of my godfather (I’m Jewish so I wasn’t baptised). When I was born he bought me the most elegant pram and the largest teddy bear in Paris, according to my mother. He also gave me a spoon that he had as a child, which my father painted – a lone spoon on a white napkin.
Sam would often come for dinner at our house. He would arrive exactly on time, waiting at the door until it was time to ring the bell. He was very tall, with very blue eyes, and he would pick my sister and me up. My sister, who is three years younger than me, played chess with him, and I played the piano with him; he loved playing the piano. At dinner the conversation was mainly the adults quoting poetry – Sam would quote Keats and my mother would cry – or my father and Sam listening to music. We children were never allowed to talk. Sometimes Sam would just stop talking, which was odd. I remember his silences as much as his words. [Read More]
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