Category Archives: Family and Friends

Remembering Dave Hunt

Dave Hunt and Todd Klein, photo by Ron Jordan 2013.
Dave Hunt and Todd Klein, 2013, photo by Ron Jordan.

I was very sad to learn yesterday evening that my friend Dave Hunt lost his battle with cancer that morning. He’d been battling stage 4 cancer for over a year. Our mutual friend Ron Jordan wrote: “Phyllis, Dave’s long time friend, called to let me know that Dave peacefully passed away at 4:30 AM in his sleep, at home with Phyllis, his son Ben, and his nurse at his side.”

I first met Dave in my early days on staff at DC Comics, around 1978, probably when he was visiting the offices. We discovered we lived in adjoining towns, and became friends, visiting each others’ homes occasionally, and enjoying time and talk together. I don’t recall us talking much about our personal lives, mostly it was about comics, the comics business, artists we liked, movies and TV, and some of Dave’s hobbies like cave exploring, painting, and building models and miniatures. “The good stuff,” as Dave would say. I met Dave’s son Ben, and his long-time companion Phyllis in those days.

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My Dad in World War Two

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Images © Todd Klein.

When World War Two began, my dad and his family were living in Dunellen, NJ, and he was a student at Dunellen High School. In 1943 he enlisted into the Army. He was unable to finish high school, but granted a diploma anyway along with other young men who enlisted. George C. Klein was born on March 10, 1924, and was probably eighteen when he reported for basic training at Fort Dix, NJ. I think by May or June of 1943 he went for further training at the Army Air Forces center at High Point College in North Carolina. While he may have hoped to become a pilot, instead he was trained as an Artillery Flash Range Observer. He learned to use a transit and other surveying equipment to estimate the range of artillery fire, and performed this job when sent to Europe in 1944. He was given the rank of Corporal, and oversaw five men.

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Grandma Klein’s Story

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This is a story about my father’s mother, much of it in her own words. My grandmother, born Hedwig Massar, seen above at age 16, was born in 1900 in Germany. Her family emigrated to the United States in 1905. She never liked the name Hedwig, and around age 14 started calling herself Harriett. She met my grandfather, George Klein, some time around 1919-1920 we think, and they were married in 1921.

Growing up, I didn’t feel as close to my father’s parents as I did to my mother’s family, who we spent more time with, but I knew they loved me and enjoyed visiting me. Recently my cousin, Jody Andreatch, has been putting together a huge photo album/scrapbook for the Massar and Klein families, and looking through it got me more interested in that part of my family history. Among the documents included were pages from a 1981 book, “Grandma’s Story,” one of those books children or grandchildren can give their grandmother that has questions and places to write personal answers. It was given to Grandma Klein around 1981 by Jody, and I found her answers fascinating. They paint a picture of a childhood mostly in Queens, NYC in the early years of the last century, a time that seems like ancient history even to me, and I’m pretty old myself.

The questions and answers in the book are scattershot across time and topics, but I decided to put Harriett’s answers together to make a more complete narrative, combining some, adding small bits of connecting material where necessary, and putting my own comments in where warranted. This is mainly of interest to her family, but I thought some readers of this blog might also enjoy it. Here we go. Sections in italics are by me, the rest is nearly all in Harriett’s own words.

GRANDMA KLEIN’S STORY

I was born at home in Edigheim, Germany on November 5, 1900 at six o’clock in the morning. I was 6 pounds 2 ounces with green eyes and blond hair. My full name was Hedwig Massar, named after my mother’s sister. I didn’t like my name so I changed it to Harriett after I got out of school. I learned to walk when I was one year old, I was two years old when I talked. I looked like my mother.

I did not know or ever see my great-grandparents. I don’t remember my grandparents well. They stayed in Germany. I remember a few things about my grandmother. She was always selling bread. They had a bake shop. I also remember the walnut tree my grandfather had in his back yard. I sat under that tree and ate walnuts till I got sick and threw up. Then I got a licking. We were always with them for Thanksgiving until we came to America in 1905.

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Alaska 2001 Part 2

alaska-092Concluding a selection of my favorite pictures from our Alaska trip slideshow, recently reconstructed on my laptop. Denali and central Alaska this time. From the final stop on the cruise in Juneau, we flew to Fairbanks, where we took a train to the entrance to Denali National Park. From there, we rode on this bus to the foot of the mountain. Continue reading

Alaska 2001 Part 1

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In June of 2001 Ellen and I went on a two week trip to Alaska, a group tour with Lindblad. The first week we were cruising the inland waterway on Alaska’s lower coast aboard the ship Sea Lion, above. The second week we were in interior Alaska mainly around Denali. In 2003 I put together a slide show with captioned pictures, about 160 of them, to show on my first laptop. In the years since, that show has become jumbled and some pictures went missing. The last few days I’ve been restoring it, and since the pictures are now back in order, thought I’d put some of my favorites up here. This post covers the first week, the second week will be in part 2.

Lindblad is a tour company that focuses on nature, and their small 62-passenger ships in Alaska are perfect for that. You get much closer to nature in a small ship, they have many expert guides and naturalists aboard, and we loved our experience with them. They’re very expensive, but we felt well worth it. Continue reading