A Tribute and Remembrance
Here are portions of Mac's eulogy:
Eric had many passions over the course of his life. Fashion, design, food, cooking, technology, and shopping were all terrific passions for Eric and in one way or another he touched all of us in the family with these passions.
Often at a memorial service, we tell remembrances of parents and close family members that helped to raise us. We talk about what we learned from our parents. Interestingly, in the last few weeks I began thinking about the incredible number of things that I learned from Eric. I learned first and foremost that not all boys love to throw a football. This took me quite a while to grasp however and as a result Eric absorbed many collisions with soccer balls and hockey pucks until he was 13. He was playing ice hockey at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan when he announced to me at 13 that he was no longer getting up at frickin’ 4:30 in the morning for an ice hockey practice. I actually thought he had a really good point. That was the end of playing hockey.
But hockey also involved food and cars. When Eric and I traveled to Chelsea Piers for those 6:00 AM games and practices we would treat ourselves to a nice breakfast afterwards. At first it meant going to the Moonstruck Diner in Chelsea on 23rd Street for pancakes or waffles. As Eric became more of a foodie we made a great discovery. You can park anywhere you want in SoHo on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 8 am because they don’t allow overnight parking and it’s too early for the people from New Jersey to go shopping. Eric and I made another great discovery. The Mercer Hotel. We would drive right up to the front door at the corner of Prince and Mercer, park the Honda Odyssey minivan and walk in. A little sweaty and unkempt but they never refused to serve us. We would be the only people there having breakfast at that hour with a complete professional wait staff at our beck and call. Eric would order fresh squeezed orange juice and some tea to start off and then get something like brioche French toast with bananas and pecans with hot maple syrup. I distinctly remember one morning when we drove out of the parking garage at Chelsea Piers and into a blizzard. There was already 6 inches of snow on the ground. Do you think this altered our plans? NOT A CHANCE. It was a great adventure. Mercer Hotel for a leisurely breakfast and then slip sliding our way back home on 10” of snow before the plows had begun. It was truly one of my favorite memories. Eric and I both loved an adventure.
Speaking of adventures, when the boys were young I offered to take each on a fun getaway weekend with me. Just one at a time. One on one quality time. My mentor told me that he had done a similar thing with each of his kids and had such great memories that I thought I would try it. Well, Eric--then 11--was the first to take me up on the offer. Always a big thinker he suggested we travel to Tokyo. We settled on London. I handed him a guide book and asked him to pick out three things to do and told him they were totally his choice. No museum necessary.
His three picks--the London Dungeon, the Torture Museum and Madame Toussants Wax Museum. We took the Thursday night flight and were standing in line for the London Dungeon at 9:45 Friday morning despite his getting no sleep on the plane. We had a blast. We of course managed to see lots of London while we were navigating these places. I’m really sorry no one took our picture on Sunday as we sat at High Tea in the Savoy Hotel—Eric wearing his blue jeans and a polo shirt and me equally casually dressed while every other table in the room was filled by women, dressed to the nines. A 40-something taking her Mom out for tea. It was Mother’s Day.
I wasn’t done foisting my hobbies on Eric. As many of you know, I am a total car nut. Eric appreciated fine designs and also had a need for thrills. Our car adventures began when Eric was invited to play on the travel ice hockey team at Chelsea Piers. I immediately sensed a dire need for the family to have a second car in Brooklyn. With two kids playing travel hockey how could we otherwise possibly deal with all of the transportation issues. Less than a year later I was with Eric at a tournament in Maryland. We were driving the Mini Cooper S and had some time between games. We decided we would drive to a local Porsche dealership and “pretend” that we were interested in trading in the Mini on a new 911. Well, needless to say, the new 911 was acquired a few short months later.
Our next car adventure happened a couple of years later when we decided it was time to trade in the 911 on something a little more potent. It was 2007 and these cars were hard to find.
We found one in Hickory, NC. He flew with me to Charlotte in the summer of 2007 to pick it up and I can still remember the conversation with a Trump supporter who schlepped us to the dealership. It seemed he wanted to deport all Mexicans. Eric and I had a good laugh about that. We took two days to drive back and stopped in Charlottesville, VA on the return trip. The next year he went with me to Charlotte for our first trip to the annual Porsche Convention. I was always so impressed with his composure when he rode with me. He was extremely nonchalant regardless of how fast I went around a corner. I loved him for that and looked forward to the day when we would drive together at the race track. In September I texted him to tell him that Lewis Hamilton had just won the Italian Grand Prix F1 race. Eric’s response: “Way ahead of you. I follow him on Instagram. Here are some of his uploads over the last 24 hours.”
Another thing that I learned from Eric is how important and refreshing it is to be “your own person”. Eric absolutely marched to the beat of his own drummer. He was never going to follow the herd. This manifested itself early on when he told Ginny that, despite the freezing temperatures outside, he was going to wear shorts to school for the indefinite future. We have some great photos of the three boys all bundled up outside in New Paltz for a hike with Eric in his shorts.
He used to speak to our cat, Midnight, in French. He had a very special rapport with all of our pets, but only Midnight received the French language treatment.
At some point he decided that he should call us Ginny and Mac rather than Mom and Dad. As a child he seemed in some ways like a grown-up. And he insisted on being treated as a grown-up from an early age. It definitely created some challenges.
When Eric was 12 or 13 he told us that he was sorry that he wasn’t Jewish because they all had such great Bar Mitzvah parties. For once this actually worked in our favor. Ginny made a deal with Eric and promised him a big party if he went through the Catholic Confirmation process. A real win-win for all. Eric was confirmed and he had a terrific party for his friends that he largely planned out himself. He chose a nightclub in the meatpacking district, Lotus. It’s amazing how inexpensive they are if you pick a time slot from 6-10 PM. The party had a black and white theme to it. All of the kids wore black and white clothes and had a great time. Eric was also instrumental in selecting the food for the party. You really can’t tell stories about Eric without discussing food.
At some point during his teenage years Eric began watching the Food Network with all of his available free time. He absorbed so much information in a very short amount of time. He began to bake things and then cook more complicated dishes to the point where it really seemed that we had a chef living in the house. He didn’t usually pay much attention to serving size, however, so we quickly found ourselves overwhelmed with his treats. Ginny and I started to take in the extra food to our workplaces. My secretary became accustomed to seeing special desserts show up on Monday morning. If they didn’t she would be disappointed. Eric and his cooking were well-known on my floor at work.
I remember how he would often make us a special meal at a holiday or a birthday. One Easter in particular I’ll always remember the delicious crab cakes over an arugula salad with a grapefruit vinaigrette dressing. The winter weekends meant that he would make a delicious macaroni and cheese dish. It was never the same although it often included bacon. It was terrific every time. He was creative and didn’t need recipes. He would experiment with different cheeses and different types of toppings.
I had always thought that I was something of a foodie, but Eric made me look like an amateur compared with him. But we both enjoyed a good meal at a fine restaurant. We would discuss “plating” and each little piece of a meal when we ate together.
I’ll always remember when he asked me to take him to a special sushi place on the Upper East Side. He was probably no older than 12 or 13. We ate at the sushi bar and the head sushi chef took an immediate liking to him. Perhaps it was because he ordered in Japanese or because he was more adventurous than me. I remember feeling so proud of him as a result of how well he bonded so quickly with the 60-something sushi chef who would come our way from time to time to check on us with a great big smile as he approached Eric. I’ll also remember feeling a little embarrassed as Eric scolded me for putting the ginger directly on the sushi instead of eating it in between as a palate cleanser.
I also learned a bit about fashion from Eric. I learned that T-shirts can cost several hundred dollars. He really liked nice things and he had terrific taste. Eric and I were the shoppers in the family and I was quite happy to go with him from time to time on shopping excursions.
We focused on cookware, clothes and technology products--mostly from Apple. Ginny was worried we might go bankrupt. Eric would make clothing suggestions for me whenever we went into a nice department store. To this day if I receive a compliment on an article of clothing there is a 90% chance that Eric was involved in the selection.
I was very fortunate to have had dinner with Eric on Christmas in Boston. The Atlantic Fish Company, a nice restaurant on Boylston Street. Eric ordered the crab cakes. The conversation was a little slow at first but he became very animated once I noticed the Apple Watch on his wrist. He told me that it was a gift from a woman who was also receiving treatment at McLean for mental health issues. Eric told me that they had become friends and had spoken on a wide range of topics. When she decided to move back to CA to enroll in a program closer to home, Eric helped her pack and she offered him the watch as a token of her appreciation.
Initially he refused saying that it was too much. She insisted. Eric was appreciated by so many and unfortunately his illness never let him feel the amazing amount of warmth and love that was directed towards him. Well today--he’s finally at peace and I’m sure that he is feeling the warmth, love, and appreciation from all of you here today.