Laughter

The Unger family, circa 1951.

Laughter
By John Unger Zussman

This short essay is the first of three posts in tribute to my father, Myron “Mickey” Unger, who would have turned 85 last month. Next month, I’ll post an essay on life and parenthood, which he wrote sometime after this photo was taken. The following month, I’ll post my own reflection on a father’s legacy.

I also want to acknowledge my mother, Lois Zussman, and my adoptive father, Milton Zussman, who remain active in my life today. I am blessed with a heritage from three parents, not just two.

In the photo I am plopped in a stroller and I am laughing, even giggling, probably because my daddy is kneeling on my left, tickling my shoulder, and he is laughing too. It is the fifties and I am wearing the baby Penn sweatshirt I got from my uncle, who would have been in college then. I am exuberant like a one-year-old taking his first stroller ride, and my chubby fingers are squeezed around my mommy’s hand as she kneels on my right, and I trust her, and so I can giggle. She also is laughing, and buoyant, because her son is giggling and her husband delighted, the man who told her the night they met that he would marry her, and she wasn’t too sure about that, but she waited while he served in the Pacific, and now they are married and laughing and they have this marvelous family. My uncle, visiting from Philly, is snapping the picture, and for all I know he is laughing too, but he holds the camera steady.  Our laughter will last forever, preserved in living black and white more than fifty years later, and what could possibly go wrong?

Copyright © 2010, John Unger Zussman. All rights reserved.

About John Unger Zussman

John Unger Zussman is an award-winning screenwriter, creative writer, and technical writer from Portola Valley, California. His essays have been published in The Sun Magazine. He has won a Grammy Award (as a member of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus), but there’s room on the shelf for an Oscar and a Pulitzer. John also works as a corporate storyteller in info and biotech and holds a PhD in Psychology from Stanford University.
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2 Responses to Laughter

  1. Mysti Berry says:

    Lovely! Thank you for sharing that!

  2. adee says:

    Yesterday i was wondering about photographs. And how they alone have a quality to stop time in its tracks. So much alike in this power as the portrait of Dorian Gray… but still opposite in the effect.

    The portrait took everything upon itself while Dorian remained young. Our photographs remain beautiful and timeless, while we keep ageing outside their frames…

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