THE VIBRANCY OF MEMORIES SHINES in the reflective eye of ninetysomething Elliot Schubert. In The Time of Our Lives: Memories and Fantasies of a Blissful Nonagenarian, Schubert reminds us that we are nothing without our thoughts of the past, and that the hands of time move ever onward - whether we like it or not. His stories, overflowing with love and humor, touch both heart and mind with insights that cut across ages. Whether you are a millennial, a Generation-Xer, or a traveler from the Age of Aquarius, you'll find uplifting glimpses into the human condition here - in this resonant and joyful celebration of a long life lived. The Time of Our Lives echoes those chimes of the heart that defy the inexorable tread of minutes and years.
AFTER MY DAD took early retirement in 1983 to fulfill my mom's lifelong dream of living in California, he turned his creative energies and professional writing skills to chronicling a life that spanned the experiences of late nineteenth century refugees from Eastern Europe, the Depression, the Second World War, the Golden Age of the Fifties and Sixties, and the looming clouds of the Seventies and Eighties. With my dad's prodigious memory and eye for detail, the stories gradually evolved from pure recollection to finely crafted allegories of the human condition. His singular intuitive ability to connect various events lent a unique and intricate texture to the stories.
The present collection reflects the blend of truth and fantasy that is pivotal to my dad's persona. Some of the stories have only a passing relationship to reality. He and my mom really did leave their beloved cockatiel behind as described in "The Bird and I" and "Nice N' Easy," but they dealt with its subsequent despondency in less drastic ways. "The Jordans," a morality tale of sex and religion, stems from my dad's reveries after intimate lunchtime revelations by a colleague. "The Miracle of St. Peter's," a parable on a similar theme, came to my dad as he was visiting the basilica in Rome. "The Inheritance" is an alternate take on his aunt, who lived to the age of one hundred and was a rock of stability in a talented but mercurial family. "Barnaby's Grandson" is a whimsical look at my dad's longing for second-generation progeny.
The events of our lives transform the past, and the role of storytelling, whatever its measure of objective truth, is to heighten our awareness of eternity in the fleeting perceptions of daily experience. I hope that this collection will brighten and deepen your days in that very special way.
Ken Schubert Eker , Sweden
About the Author
ELLIOT SCHUBERT WAS BORN to a working-class Chicago family in 1923. His grandparents were Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth century. His father owned a dry-cleaning store and was active in the labor movement, while his mother was a devoted housewife. Both of his parents were lovers of reading and learning. Elliot worked his way through high school and undergraduate school. He was a high achiever in the classroom and played varsity baseball as well. During the war, he enlisted in Midshipman's school and was sent overseas on the USS Casablanca, an aircraft carrier, in 1945 prior to the Japanese surrender. He spent six months onboard the ship as a communications officer with the rank of ensign. Following his discharge in 1946, he and his wife Eileen moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he obtained a PhD in Chemistry with assistance from the GI Bill and Eileen's employment as a stenographer. Elliot and Eileen eventually moved back to Chicago, where they raised four children. He worked for a leading pharmaceutical company as a laboratory chemist, patent specialist and research coordinator, while she taught the hard of hearing in the public schools. In 1984, Eileen and Elliott retired to San Diego, where he dedicated his time to writing fiction and memoirs, and she to woodworking, bridge and golf. Elliot moved to Coronado, California in 2012 to reside in an assisted living facility. Eileen moved to be with him in late 2016 and passed away in May of 2017. Elliot is currently involved in writing, community activities, listening to music, watching movies and YouTube, and keeping up with the news.