Bruce the Blog

To Harrison, L'Chaim!

At long last, the smile of spring approaches, as an angry winter recedes into good riddance. Our spirit is ready to be re-charged. Damn the power outages, full speed ahead!

For my wife, Elyse, daughter, Elissa, and me, this otherwise exuberant time of year brings a confusion of mixed emotions. In 2003, on the opening day of spring, March 20, which happens to be my birthday, our 15-year-old son Harrison went in for his third open-heart surgery. As fate would have it, the day after my birthday was Harrison’s last day.

Such is life. Uplifting and soul-crushing in the same breath. All we could do was be grateful that Harrison blessed us for 15 years. Now, 15 years on, he continues to bless us, if not with his earthly presence, then with his heavenly spirit. It can be felt in the Yorktown ballfield named for him, and in the Harrison Apar Field of Dreams Foundation that benefits the community by raising money for the betterment of recreation and education.

Sign Up for E-News

March 20, 2003, was the start of “March Madness”—the NCAA college basketball tournament. Harrison rooted for his dad’s alma mater, the Orangemen of Syracuse University.

Meanwhile, there was another event of interest grabbing attention that day: The United States invaded Iraq. Facing an operation he knew was high-risk, if unavoidable, the ever-stoic and mischievous Harrison wrote in his diary, “I only hope Saddam doesn’t disguise himself as my surgeon.”

Harrison had been born with a rare form of dwarfism. As a high school student, he stood all of 38 inches and weighed an equal number of pounds. One unproven medical diagnosis held that his was the same condition as that of diminutive TV actor Herve Villechaize, who played Tattoo (“The plane! The plane!”) on “Fantasy Island.”

Harrison’s can-do attitude was “size doesn’t matter.” And he proved it. In the classroom. On the playing field. On stage. In his way with words. In his disarming and charming personality. He exemplified the notion that “nature compensates.”

I like to think that Harrison made me a better person. I know that his courage encouraged me. When I knelt to pick him up, he lifted me. When I held him in my arms, he carried me. I cannot imagine my son being anyone but Harrison.

In his diary the night before surgery, Harrison expressed his trademark confidence that a successful outcome would “give my dad a refreshing birthday gift wrapped in flesh—a son’s healthy heart.”

He did just that by giving not only me but all who knew him the gift of a lifetime: His. And, wouldn’t you know it, with Carmelo Anthony leading them, and Harrison watching over them from his new skybox, the Syracuse Orangemen went on to win their only NCAA basketball title in 2003.

It’s been 15 years since we touched Harrison, but he continues to touch us and others. I’ve anxiously anticipated for a long time the arrival of this particular anniversary. It marks a kind of cruel symmetry, with Harrison now being away from us for as many years as he was with us.

Another number with special meaning to our family this year is 18. It is that many years ago, in 2000, that Harrison, in the eyes of the Jewish faith, became a man, on the occasion of his bar mitzvah. In Jewish numerology, 18 symbolizes life, or “chai” (with a guttural “ch”). Harrison’s Hebrew name is Chaim. His father’s Hebrew name is Baruch, for blessed. Harrison always will be a blessing on our house. To life, to life, l’chaim!

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Yorktown

What Is Cambridge Analytica?

Cambridge Analytica is a research organization. Apparently, it is funded by the Mercer family, second only to the Koch brothers on the liberal hit list. Both, through their philanthropy, spend millions on various needy organizations like hospitals. What makes them liberal targets is their funding of various conservative think tanks and candidates. I digress.

Cambridge Analytica used Facebook ...

The Best of the Best: Albert Capellini

In the spring of 1991, after answering an ad for a judicial race placed in the local Yorktown paper, I was talked into the unenviable position of running for Yorktown councilman as a Democrat in our then solidly Republican town.

Having been a practicing lawyer since 1974, I felt confident about my qualifications for the position of town judge, but being elected to the Town Board was quite ...

‘Sister Act’: A Musical Like Nun Other

Of all the Broadway musicals I’ve seen over the years at Westchester Broadway Theatre, only a handful have elicited the noisily enthusiastic audience response I observed at the recent opening night of “Sister Act.”

There were outbursts of applause in the middle of some numbers, and several clever turns of phrase sprinkled in the dialogue landed squarely, to the delight of big ...

An Open Letter to the Yorktown Town Board

April 11, 2018

The Yorktown Chamber of Commerce proudly serves as the voice of Yorktown’s vibrant business community. A vital part of our mission is to help improve the quality of life for all Yorktowners.

The chamber’s Board of Directors is more ambitious than ever, as we work hard to find new ways to enhance our great community through marketing opportunities and smartly placed commercial and ...

Cleaning the Empty Nest

Part of the shock of being a part-time empty nester is when the kids come back to visit and I have to watch my house transform overnight from a pristine haven of OCD goodness to a place that looks like an explosion happened at Forever 21.

After my kids moved mostly out, I put away whatever tchotchkes they chose to leave behind and then I put on a hazmat suit and cleaned their rooms until they ...

Why Do Kids Hate Math?

Dear Dr. Linda,

I am in second grade and have a problem about math. My teacher just keeps giving me homework and it’s driving me crazy. Because she keeps giving it to me on weekends and spring and summer breaks. And it’s only one level and it’s too hard. But the other people who have special needs get to be moved into a higher or lower group and they learn even more because ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, April 20, 10:30 AM

Yorktown Community Cultural Center, YORKTOWN HEIGHTS

Tai Chi for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Fri, April 20, 1:00 PM

Yorktown Town Hall, Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Senior Advisory Committee

Community Calendar

Fri, April 20, 7:00 PM

Villa Barone Hilltop Manor, Mahopac

Support Connection’s 2018 Spring Benefit

Giving Back

Guiding Eyes for the Blind Launches Wag-a-Thon Fundraiser

April 18, 2018

On April 17, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating and supporting life-changing connections between people with vision loss and exceptional guide dogs, announced its first annual Wag-a-thon, a “virtual marathon in a month” fundraiser beginning on May 1.

The Wag-a-thon is a cumulative marathon that you and your dog can do anywhere, at your own ...