Plotting for Paris
Before recounting how it came about that we (all four of us, by that time) were called to return to Paris as missionaries, yet again, I get to tell you about our marvelous final family reunion, in Paris, over the 1967-68 Christmas break. Some of this appears also in the Gedenkschrift under the heading, “Leola, Grandma,”, but it surely belongs here, as well, in the context of our (then little) nuclear family’s history.

Christmas, 1967, saw the scheduled completion of Brent’s thirty-month missionary assignment in Geneva. We Waverley types, moreover, looked forward to the traditional Christmas recess.1 Not even understanding the full uniqueness of the opportunity, we started planning and pushing to get us all together. Our part of the job mainly entailed some house-and-kid-sitting in Norwood, a southern suburb of Boston. An MIT faculty member and his wife were headed for Moscow for a couple of weeks and were willing to pay us to watch things in their absence. Including a toddler girl, a five-year-old, and a spoiled-rotten 9-year-old named Howie.
1We’ll call it that, whatever the politically-correct may decree. I resist with difficulty, and, it seems, not successfully, the temptation to add, “to hell with them.”

You may agree that we earned our airline tickets, when we relate that Howie barely let his mother out of sight before launching into an extended and violent tantrum, berating his absent parents in colorful terms for neglecting to take him along. Memory preserves no details of our response, although no informed jury would convict us if we’d thrashed the little stinker. The next thing we knew, Howie had let himself into his parents’ bedroom and dialed up his grandparents in Rhode Island, to give them an earful.

Fateful miscalculation, on his part. Next thing we knew (actually a couple of hours later), the front door opened (I think they rang, but I’m not sure), and in marched Papa and Mama Katz, gray-haired and not very tall, the latter bearing (so help me!) an enormous pot of chicken-soup!

They sized up the situation almost instantaneously, and Papa Katz swung into action: “Howard!”—(meekly) “Yes, Papa Katz?”—“Do you want me to go down to shul and put up a sign that says, ‘Howard Chorney is a mama’s boy!’?”—(even more meekly) “No, Papa Katz!”

We shared the soup, absorbed its classic calming and healing effects, and rejoiced in the most pleasurable company of a wise, old, Russian-Jewish immigrant couple. They returned to Rhode Island, and we didn’t have a lick of further trouble with Howie.

Ed.D 1967-68: Independent Study S.A.C.C.H.A.R.I.N.E. Reunion in Paris Thesis AAI Disaster
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