Letter: Jakubowicz' grandchild finds much in him to emulate

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To the editor:

My mother has always told me I resemble my grandpa, Robert "Frank" Jakubowicz. She claims it's something in the nose. I thought it was because we have multiple sets of matching Red Sox shirts. Regardless of physical appearance, I've spent my life mimicking my grandfather, mostly for the better and only occasionally when he reaches for a handful of candy before dinner.

I learned how to navigate the world from a perch at his dining room table. For starters, there was always room for one more chair there, no matter who was trying to join. That's because there is always room for another viewpoint in any conversation; you just might have to shout to be heard over the evening news.

While his table values intellectual prowess, there is no award for know-it-alls. In fact, Grandpa Frank has always encouraged me to grasp for ideas beyond my limits and come up short rather than to think complacently and thus stagnantly. However, your cerebrum must never be flaunted for power or approval; everyone at the table gets a cold root beer if they ask politely.

As formative as his table was, my time in Grandpa Frank's dining room taught me that, most important, your convictions and creativity must extend beyond yourself and your table. In his long and winding career as a public servant, my grandfather only followed the route he charted for himself, and that route led to the places where he could help the most people. Every person at every such table across our country has a responsibility to their neighbors in coming together to make the world a better place. Nowadays, my grandfather acts on that responsibility informally, like by writing for this very publication.

I still don't necessarily see the resemblance between Grandpa Frank and myself; his ears are smaller than mine, and I think that throws off my perception. However, to serve the public in the image of my grandfather, an intellectually curious man dedicated to the betterment of his community and the potential for shared prosperity in our country, would be the greatest honor I could envision for myself and an ideal for which we should all strive.

Grace V. Nelson,

Pittsburgh, Pa.

Robert F. Jakubowicz is a long-time contributor to The Eagle's oped page.



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