memory book

from Sue and John Tullis

How to describe our friendship with Sam and Barbara? John’s attempting a video using some of the snapshots from decades of adventures with the Goldstein-Silvermans, so he’ll have the equivalent of thousands and thousands of words but not enough. It would take a book, but I will take a stab at something shorter.

Since John hired Barbara at Independent Printing in 1976 or so, we have lived large with these folks, have been family for each other, have celebrated and mourned, raised our kids, camped, skied, traveled, played games, attended a slew of cultural events, and, always, made each other laugh.

We missed their wedding because we were on our honeymoon, but they had celebrated ours with us, and we later celebrated the births of our boys, Jesse’s and Brett’s bar mitzvahs, Ian’s graduation, Jesse’s engagement and babies, and so many birthdays among us all. For years and years, we have attended each other’s parties, some seders, and and a number of meetups just to hang out, and we’ve rung in many of the new years together, including the great north vs. south (CA) charades competition at our Berkeley house, the annual midnight runs around our block in Antioch, elegant dinners with the boys, and grown-up dinner at the Dead Fish. We have spent time with each other’s families on two coasts (Sam’s Bob and Bobbie’s cousins in NYC, many CA meetings including members of all four of our families), have been there when we lost our parents, one by one, and a brother, a brother in law. We’ve loved each other’s sons as our own.

We’ve day-tripped and tent camped and cabined and lodged, at the Stanislas River, Bear Valley, New Brighton Beach, Mendocino, Yosemite and more, once rented lodging in an old gas station by the highway near snowy Lassen, where we skied by day, came back to the gas station to freeze and play Pictionary in the evenings. Once we skied 22 miles round trip to the Glacier Point ski hut, slept in rope sling cots, navigated the snow in the moonlight to use the outhouse. We’ve stayed in nicer places, too, in New York City, in Barcelona, and not quite as nice, in southern Spain near Malaga, at their one-time time share we dubbed Club Al Quaida, where Sam and I passed back and forth a particularly difficult

Sunday crossword puzzle we’d picked up at Heathrow, finally conquered it. On the latter trip, we went crazy driving in roundabouts and nearly died speeding down a winding mountain road from Ronda, a big truck tailgating dangerously as Sam drove, and John had his non-leather sandals ‘“shined” by some helpful gypsies turned sinister in an alley when he and Sam took a side turn near the Alhambra. We also saw lots of Picasso’s work on that trip, marveled at his pre-cubist fine paintings and sketches. I didn’t yet have a smartphone, grew tired of the other three always whining about WiFi. And we Gaudied ourselves silly.

We’ve been through everything from surgeries and terrible health news to some of the most fabulous fun we’ve ever had. We’ve been stranded in the sleeping suburbs of Barcelona, at the last bus stop, off the last bus, only our last few Euros combined not enough to do right by the cab driver who happened by and was flagged down by Barbara — but he took us to our last night hotel anyway. We’ve watched the Warriors lose the series in the last minutes, have played softball at Jesse’s birthday party in the park, and have done Bay to Breakers and other races — they ran, but I only walked and/or brunched afterward, carried Ian piggyback through the ends of some shorter races, while Jesse was two years older and held his own. We’ve played bridge and passed a colicky baby Jesse around the table. We’ve seen the Bread and Roses concert, Paris Combo, and the Tubes, have attended plays, symphonies, art shows and galleries galore, at least once almost died in the fearsome matinee sunshine at one of the CalShakes plays, almost froze under our sleeping bags at the evening performances. We saw the Carol King musical, Beautiful, with Edith and hoped we’d glimpse Carol herself, as Edith swore she’d hired Carol to babysit for Bobbie back in Queens. Add to all of that that we have eaten royally together on multiple continents and in our dining rooms, experimenting with artful presentations and various cuisines.

Jesse and Brett have been our boys (now men!) too. Tot Jesse welcomed Baby Ian. We all welcomed Brett. Jesse, Ian, and I read ​The BFG ​all the way home from Bear Valley, and we were happy when young and older Brett shared his writings, his music. With Jesse off on his own, Brett joined us camping and hiking with our old lab, Cindy, later went on a snow trip with our pup Lilu, whom we thought might be a travel dog but not so much, as she dominated that venture. Grown-up Brett gave us the inside story on Burning Man. Ian stayed

with Barbara and Sam when he was two and flew a plane with Crazy Eric (!). Sam took a special interest in Ian’s education all along. We were honored when Jesse introduced us once as his extra parents.Those boys now men, all three, are bright, talented, accomplished, witty, and kind, and all four parents are proud of them.

Dear Sam and Bobbie:

Our families have been entwined in various ways, at various times. Brunch with Florence, car shows with Harold, river rafting with Edith, partying with Meryl and Mark, and so on. You’ve known our sisters, my mom, some cousins. We’ve shared our various pals, too. And your wonderful Japanese guests back when, your other international visitors more recently. Even our special dates have meshed in April: my birthday, our anniversary, Barbara’s birthday, Janet’s birthday, Ian’s birthday, Sam’s birthday, those last four on consecutive days, and Jesse’s birthday brings it home.

Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAM! We’ve known you forever, have enjoyed making you break into that wonderful laugh. We’ve seen you felled by a broken hip and victorious from a race well run, volatile over travel mishaps, gooey happy over your dear sons, have been honored to be there for all.

Preview(opens in a new tab)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BARBARA! You are our extra sister, our true blue, our artist, our globe trotter, our get-out-the-door gal. We wish you both the birthday of birthdays, love you both dearly and celebrate your births, your lives, your role in our lives, your love, for all these years.


John’s Video.

Sue Tullis for the Tullises

from Dan and Carol Altwarg 

Dan and I will be in L.A. visiting our grandson this weekend and will be missing the party.  I wanted to share a very brief memory about your Dad:

Dan and I met Sam before we ever met Barbara and realized they were married, but had different last names!

Sam was introduced to us by, Alan Sternberg to help litigate a family law suit that we were in.  Sam did a fantastic job, working very diligently with my father-in-law, Morrie Ginsburg.  Anyway, what I always remember about seeing Sam, was how impeccably dressed Sam was.  He always had a crisp white shirt and tie on….and looked handsome and powerful!!!

Enjoy your wonderful celebration!

With Love, 

Dan and Carol Altwarg 

from Bob and Barbara Felix

Bob & I are very sorry to hear about your Dad.  

As Havurah members we became extended families and Bar & Bat Mitzvahs was a bond that I feel will last us a lifetime.

We fondly remember how gracious your parents were by hosting many dinners for us all.  The great food, stories told and laughter shared.

You are all in our hearts and prayers,

Warm Regards,

Barb & Bob

from Joshua Kors

Brett, really appreciate your writing back.  You made my week, that’s for sure.

My memories of your parents and your family: Well, walking “home” to your home, hiking up those steep streets, up and up and that long, steep driveway, that massive, two-story palace with a mother and father, so much bigger than my family’s home and twice the parents.  The warmth of your father’s smile when he looked at me, the sense of connection both of us felt, that look in his eye like I was his son, a sense of approval and pride.  That stays with me.  I remember this video game that was on the family computer where you’re a Hollywood stunt man, performing all kinds of feats, like flying a propeller plane through a St. Louis arch-like rock formation in the desert.  Jesse and I had endless fun with that.  Making chocolate chip milkshakes with your family’s blender and “teaching” Jesse how much better they are when there’s twice as much ice cream than milk.  You’re father’s wild, clown-like white hair, like he got the curly wig from a costume shop.  Your mother’s tolerating your father, for whatever his latest aggravating statement or action was.  How gentle and motherly she was.  Sitting down as a family to eat dinner.  Watching that big TV together in the living room.  Sam’s yelling, how his anger scared me.  And yet his inviting laughter, welcoming you into conversation, his earnestly wanting to know about school.  His encouragement of our academic success.  That Tom Petty concert, so pivotal to the course of my life; I never got his thoughts on my epilepsy article but always, always wanted them.  The sense of kindness and acceptance in your home and between Jesse and me, like the way Jesse lied to me when I first met him, telling me that his eczema was a burn on his hand because he was ashamed that he would be ostracized at school and my telling him that he didn’t need to lie about that, that there was nothing to be ashamed of, just as he later was so kind and accepting of my seizures.  There was a lot of that kindness and warmth in your home that made it a pleasure to be there, a lingering feeling of being welcome.  As I wrote to Jesse in the letter I sent you, the home your parents made for us really was “Dear Evan Hansen” before “Dear Evan Hansen” existed.  Though I never did see your father sing “How To Break in a Glove.”  🙂

And your father: When did he retire?  What condition does he have?  How has it affected him?  Is it affecting his memory, or just his movement, or his speech, or all of them?

I can’t tell you how affected I was by your email. I mean, just it’s existence knocked me off-kilter and made me smile.

No doubt I would have loved the chance to thank your dad as well for all that he contributed to my life, but of course, I never had that opportunity either. Until now. 

As for your dad, well, my overall feeling is one of gratitude. When I see “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” I always think of him. I don’t know if you saw that movie, but it’s a beautiful look at the loving, supportive, nurturing, paternal relationship that a high school music teacher, played by Richard Dreyfuss, has with his band students, while at the same time, struggling to connect and form a good relationship with his deaf son. That always reminded me of your father, me, and Jesse — so much so that it hit right to my core, one of those movies that touches on chords in your personal life and makes you cry so deeply that you resolve never to see it again and then, after a while, feel compelled to revisit it every few years, somehow with new eyes, depending on where you are at that point.

That’s how it was, as I saw it, with the three of us. I never really had a father or even an enduring father figure, and, for longer than anyone else, more intimately than anyone else, your father was that paternal figure. He celebrated my successes and cheered me on for my passion for my schoolwork. His face brightened up every time he came home and saw my face in the livingroom. And he was always there to talk with me, share his “wise,” paternal reflections, and goof around with us. And he’d take us places, like that rock concert.

I wondered exactly what Sam was like when I wasn’t there. I got small snippets of his anger. Perhaps, on evenings when I wasn’t there to blunt the blow, he became enraged, and you and Jesse had to bear the brunt of that rage, turning him into a T-rex of sorts to a household of mice running for cover. 

I had heard about your dad’s illness before your email (my mom, I think, had run into your mom a few times at Whole Foods, or something like that), but with all their coincidental meetings, it’s never named exactly what your father has, only that it’s a rare condition. Perhaps it’s fitting, given the history, that the key details aren’t there and couldn’t possibly be invented to fill the space. But whatever it is, I’m sorry to hear that he and your mom are going through this, and I wish them both the best.

Brett, wherever you are, wherever you live, I hope all is well in your life. I suppose I owe you a thank you as well, for reaching out to me and really for sharing your family with me. For my time in your home, and my time with your brother and dad, I’m deeply, deeply grateful.



from Barbara Webster

Dear Barb & Sam,

I will always have fond memories of my time working with Barb at K/P. The best memories are of our marketing endeavors. Marketing for a company that wasn’t that interested in marketing. Your creativity, attention to detail and pragmatic approach helped us to accomplish many things. Working with you gave us the opportunities for our spouses, Sam and Paul to meet. 

You are both gracious hosts and guests. It was fun to visit with you on one of our road trips to the Bay Area. The dinner and overnight at your house were memorable. Not the least being Sam backing into our car in your driveway the morning after. We think that was much more traumatic for him than us!   We are still driving that car! The dinner and wine were wonderful. We also enjoyed your stay with us in Seattle when you were attending a niece’s graduation. You were busy when you were here, but you treated us to a delicious salmon dinner at Ivar’s. You are two very generous people.

Life has conspired against us getting together since then, but at least we are still connected through “Words with Friends”. A game where Barb is my most formidable opponent and has me amazed anytime I am able to best her. It doesn’t happen often!

Happy Birthday, Sam! Best wishes to both of you.


Barbara & Paul Webster  

from Mollie Carlin

Hi Brett, 

My favorite memory of Sam is when our two families vacationed together in Arizona, I don’t remember what year.  We were driving to Sedona from the Grand Canyon, and after stopping at a rest stop, I switched cars to ride with the Sam, Bobby, and Brett.  Somehow, we drove for about 30 or 40 minutes before my parents pulled over and asked Sam if they knew where I was. They hadn’t realized I’d switched cars and thought they’d left without me! In typical Sam response, he said “I don’t know where she is–I thought she was with you!”  

Sam’s jocular attitude makes him fun to be around.  Whether it’s making up names for me or ratting me out to a cop while teaching me to drive stick-shift, I can always count on having a good time.  It’s why I chose on multiple occasions to go out to San Francisco on my own during my summers enjoying both Bobby and Sam’s company.  Whether it’s blasting the Beatles’ birthday song, rode-tripping to Monterey, stalling out in Sam’s BMW, or stealing his phone so he’d look up from it once in awhile, I’ll always cherish these wonderful memories and am so grateful I was lucky enough to have such a silly and fun-loving uncle (and aunt!) growing up.


from Meryl Silverman

Bobbie and Sam,

It all began in the cafeteria at Syracuse University.  They both wore pink eyeglasses and had big frizzy hair — how could this mean anything but that they were meant for each other?

They shared an interest in the arts – Sam as manager of the band Virgin Birth and Bobbie as an art major.  Sam waited around for Bobbie to graduate and then they both moved back to Queens, Sam briefly taking up residence in the basement of the house in Rosedale.  Next, they moved to a small apartment in Jackson Heights (?) until heading West for Sam to begin law school in LA and for Bobbie to continue her career in commercial art.  And finally, they moved North to the Bay Area, living first in Berkeley, then moving to Albany, then El Cerrito, then Richmond and ultimately settling in Walnut Creek.

One of my favorite memories was Christmas 1972 (?) when Mark and I came West for our winter break.  Bobbie and Sam were still living in a tiny apartment in LA, (Culver City?) when Mark and I arrived, visited a bit, and then headed North (hitchhiking of course).  When we returned, we brought with us John, Carla, and Nehemiah. Quite a crowd in that little place.

I also remember the summer Mark and I spent in Berkeley, when Mark had a summer job at a San Francisco law firm, and I was working for a radical city councilmember in Oakland.  Sam was living in Chicago that summer, interning at a law firm, so it was only the three of us hanging out together.  I think Bobbie and Sam’s Berkeley place was on Dwight Way, and Mark and I were on BenVenue.

A few years later Mark and I came for another visit.  Sam stayed home with Jesse, and I think this must have been pre-Brett.  Bobbie and Mark and I took a trip to Kings Canyon.  We rode up on horses with mules carrying our stuff.  When we arrived at the top, the guide left with the animals and we pitched our tents in front of a beautiful lake that unfortunately turned out to be mosquito-infested.  The next day we hiked to another campsite, and enjoyed our peaceful evening until two men and a boy appeared and claimed the campsite next to us, having walked up the mountain (no need for horses for them) carrying their gear in bundles rather than backpacks and lugging an enormous boom-box.  So much for enjoying the serenity of nature.  The next morning, we awoke to hear our neighbors shouting and whooping and banging pots and pans.  We were appalled and prepared to give them a piece of our mind.  When we emerged from our tents however, we learned that they had been chasing away the bears who had stolen the food that we had carefully hung on ropes strung from the trees.  They told us the mama bear had the baby stand on her shoulders to reach our food.  So, our stomachs growling, we broke camp and trudged down the mountain, a day or two earlier than planned.

Much love to both of you,


from Dan Silverman

I can clearly remember the first time I heard about you Sam.  I was still in high school and my mother said that Bobbi had met this boy in the Syracuse University cafeteria.  The story goes that you came her table with your food tray and told Bobbi that since you two look so much alike that you should get to know each other, pink eyeglasses and jew-fros.  Nice pick-up line!

Then came the day you came to visit my family in Rosedale. That was a visit that lasted the WHOLE summer! When I first caught sight of you I saw a large gangly dandelion puff-ball with a giant jew-fro, pink glasses and multi- patched Levi blue jeans. Quite a site to behold, particularly for my father.

I remember that in those days you had dreams of stardom as manager for your rock band Virgin Birth.  Predictably, that did not work out too well and eventually after Bobbi graduated from Syracuse, reality set in and you moved to Elmhurst Queens. To the great relief of Irv and Edith you decided to apply to law school and took a job, the details of which escape other than to recall that it earned you the nickname “The Scribe”, bestowed by my high school friends.  My friends and I would drop by for some friendly banter at your Elmhurst palace. You were part the gang. 

As the decades past I would always look forward to our family gatherings with you and Bobbi. You have always been welcoming and I know you love being part of the “Silverman” clan. You and Bobbi have raised two great men, you have had long successful legal career and have much to be proud of. As you approach 70 years young I can’t but still see as the gangly youth with frizzy hair, pink and multi-colored patched jeans. Do you still have them?


From Sue Silverman

Dear Sam and Barbara,

Sam, I always remember you breaking into a full blown “Sam laugh” when we referred to ourselves as “the in-laws”.  With this in mind, years ago I seized the opportunity to have this photo taken of us in Santa Cruz, California, August 24, 2012, location was the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

You (Sam), Mark and I initially became a part of the Silverman Family as “the in-laws”- Sam and Mark as sons-in-law and brothers-in-law and me as the daughter-in-law and sister-in-law.  

As the years and decades passed the in-law dropped from our titles and we became sons and a daughter of Edith and Irving and brothers and a sister, respectively, to our spouses’ siblings.

We may not have been born into the Silverman Family, but we were born to be a part of it.

Happy Special Birthday Sam and Happy birthday, Barbara.

Love, Sue

from Ian Silverman

When I think of my Uncle Sam I think of our visits to San Francisco. 

On our way to Walnut Creek from the airport we would pass by the container cranes in the bay and without fail he would describe their similarity to the AT-AT Walkers from Star Wars.

In the morning, we would be having breakfast at the kitchen table and Sam would come back from a run, sweaty wearing short shorts, a tank top, a head band and a Walkman. We would laugh at him and make jokes, but he would throw them right back at us.

We would be hanging around the family room, watching the A’s and Sam would be sitting at his computer, spinning around in his desk chair and showing us interesting factoids on his computer. There was that time when he took a strong interest in Avril Levine, during the Sk8ter boy era. 

He was always excited to tell us about whatever Brett and Jesse were into at the moment, whether it was Jesse’s studies or Brett’s next concert.

Riding shotgun in his BMW, weaving in and out of traffic. It infuriated my dad and scared my mom, but I enjoyed it. And the final touch was always taking the driveway at high speed.

He wore high wasted jeans, before it was cool again.

And through it all, that laugh, oh that laugh…


from Tammy, Tim, Melissa & Gabi 

Dear Sam;

Happy, happy birthday to you! Tim, Melissa, Gabi and I send you lots of love and our very best wishes as you celebrate this special day.  Time passes too quickly, and although we haven’t seen you nearly as much as we would have liked, I have many fond memories of all our family get togethers-including your trips to Whistler and Vancouver for family events.  Celebrating with family and friends is how I always picture you, Sam–dancing, partying and hamming it up for the camera….not to mention your unmistakeable laugh – always recognizable from anywhere in the room. Keep celebrating!

With love and hugs on your 70th birthday.   

Tammy, Tim, Melissa & Gabi  

from Lynda Caputo

Hello Brett,

Your mother and I are friends because both our husbands suffer from PSP.  My husband actually passed away a year ago.  

We met through a Brain Support Network meeting probably close to two years ago.  It so happened Cristine Hilsinger was at the same meeting.  Since we all live in the Walnut Creek area we decided to form our own little support group.  Your Mom and Christine still go to the bigger BSN meetings in San Mateo, but I just do our small support group. The other member of our group is Pat Keene, also living nearby.  Her husband passed away last month.

We typically meet for lunch somewhere about once a month.  Alcohol is always involved and we talk,  share stories and laugh a lot.  Ya gotta get through this nightmare somehow!

I have found your mother to be a very organized person (she leaves no rock unturned!) in pursuing information and treatments for your father.   She is delightful, upbeat and has a great sense of humor!!  It’s been a joy to get to know Barbara and to share my experiences with her and the other ladies, being that I am much further along in the journey.

Unfortunately I will be out of town and will not be able to join you on the 14th for the celebration.  How nice of you to plan this party!  I am so sorry I am going to miss it.

Have a wonderful celebration and thank you for including me in the invitations!

Lynda Caputo

from Boni Fine

Hi Guys,

This is such a nice idea! My photos are old – as am I! – so I just scanned them and hope they’re of some use. 

I met Barbara at the HS of Art and Design in the late 60s and we were roommates at Syracuse when she met Sam. My first impression was how much alike they looked – mostly because they both had Jewfros! 

Barbara and I will celebrate our 50th High School reunion this year.We both lived in Queens and I visited your grandparents parents with my late husband, Rick, when your grandfather had been diagnosed with cancer. This was mid-80s when Rick had recently been on Jeopardy. We all watched the video of the 3 episodes he was on and it gave your grandfather a happy respite from the burden of his condition. 

Barbara and Sam were my first friends to get married and have a baby. I have very clear memories of feeling queasy watching the video of Jesse’s birth.  Rick and I lived in LA from 1976-1988 where my fondest memories are of picnics and hikes first with just Sam & Barbara, and soon with Jesse, in both southern and northern CA. My favorite of these hikes was in Point Lobos State Park where we hiked out to the point to see – and hear – the sea lions. 

Barbara and Sam are dear friends who were always up for all sorts of little adventures.

With much love and many great memories,


From John Gruntfest

from Paul Kamen

Here’s a Sam story I just remembered:

It was probably in the late ’80s, and Sam was crew on my sailboat Twilight Zone. We were entered in an Encinal Yacht Club midwinter race, starting in the area just east of Treasure Island. 

The unusual circumstance was that the race organizers had grouped the boats by displacement/length ratio, rather than by size and speed. So we found ourselves entered in a division with a lot of much bigger and much faster boats. 

A few dozen boats are milling around in the starting area before the final countdown to the start. Sam was crewing the foredeck position so he’s standing on the deck just forward of the mast. Another boat sails by, one of the biggest and fastest in our division, about twice the size and speed of my boat. Sam apparently makes eye contact with the foredeck crew on the bigger boat. 

“Let’s talk,” Sam hailed his counterpart on the other boat. “Maybe there’s another way to resolve this…” 

Paul Kamen

from Jennifer Rideout

Nice to see you the other day, Brett. 

Here’s my write up and a photo. Looking forward to the celebration on April 14. Very nice of you and Brett to put together this book and host this party. I know they will both appreciate it, as will friends and family. 🙂

I first met Barbara the summer before Jesse graduated from medical school. It was through work (Comac), where I was a marketing director and Barbara was consulting on print, design, and other services. I was living in Philadelphia at the time, but traveled frequently to Comac’s headquarters in Milpitas, CA for leadership meetings. Because the leadership meetings were usually all men, except me and Barbara, we naturally gravitated to each other and formed a friendship. 

Fast forward to the spring of Jesse’s graduation from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Barbara and Sam were flying to Philly, and Barbara was ordering party favors to give out at Jesse’s graduation party — plastic stethoscopes. Naturally she needed to have the items delivered someplace other than Jesse’s apartment, and it made sense to have them delivered to my house. Barbara and Sam would drive to my house in Chestnut Hill to pick up the stethoscopes and visit for a little while. It was to be the first time I met Barbara’s husband.

I have to say, Sam was not what I expected. While Barbara is demure, gentle, and petite, Sam is … just the opposite. In Philadelphia, I lived in a small, 1,200 square foot row house, and Sam entering on a hot day in May was like the beginning of a tropical storm in the Everglades. It felt like my whole house was consumed was a change in barometric pressure. Sam barreled in, barley an introduction, and started ranting complaints about a foot race on Broad Street (the main thoroughfare in downtown Philly), that had detoured their route to get to my house (this was pre-Waze or Google Maps). I was at a loss for words. Was I somehow responsible for the race and the subsequent detours? I felt like I was, but I wasn’t sure why. 

Then came the criticism of the dog I was dog sitting for my neighbors. I understand not liking yappy dogs or smelly dogs, but this was a quiet, docile, clean Black Lab pretty much minding its own business on my deck, where I had set up a little table and chairs and some snacks. Occasionally the dog would become interested in the snacks, but what do you expect, it’s a dog! And it wasn’t even my dog, and it certainly wasn’t Sam’s dog, but he felt it necessary to immediately take over the role of disciplinarian. Now not only did I feel responsible for the race on Broad Street and the detours, I felt guilty for this dog, who was not mine, doing dog things. 

I had never met someone like Sam, and I wasn’t sure what to make of him. Was he always like this?  I really liked Barbara, but this seemed like an odd coupling. Barbara so thoughtful, kind, and aware of social graces, and Sam – was not. 

Well, as you, his children, his wife, and his friends all know, Barbara and Sam do make a wonderful couple and like many people, I came to love and appreciate Sam unique personality and quirks. I also came to REALLY appreciate and admire the love and strength that Barb puts into their relationship, not just these past couple of years, but for the entire time I’ve known them. I’ve spent time with them as a couple and especially with Barbara individually over the past 12+ years, depending mainly on the ups and downs of my life, but I always knew I had a place to go for a holiday meal or just a weekend afternoon.

It’s my great honor to contribute to this memory book. 

With much love, 

Jennifer Rideout

from Myrna and Rudy Gintel

Rudy and I met Sam and Barbara 45 years ago in the Southwestern Law School days.  Rudy was a year behind Sam and met him during first year… Sam became his Torts Tutor, and his law school “BFF.”  We invited them to a party at our apartment.   Barbara and I connected immediately, both being kind of free spirits and artistic.  Later, the day they moved up to Berkeley from Los Angeles, we were happy for them because Sam was where he wanted to be (in Boalt Hall, now Berkeley School of Law), but sad for us as we could no longer see them as often as before.  We have remained friends all these years and stayed in touch, enjoying each other’s joys in life, like children and grandchildren.  Here is a photo of Sam (as “Dapper Dan”) and Barbara at our wedding August 15, 1976.

Love, Rudy and Myrna

from Nancy Downes

In 1976 or 1977, Barbara and Sam moved next door to me and my 10 year old son David,  in UC Berkeley Albany Village student housing.    I had recently moved to California from Brooklyn, New York and my son excitedly 

introduced our New York neighbors to me.   I was so happy to meet them.  We became good friends  and sometimes Barbara and Sam babysat David. 

I remember driving Barbara and Sam to the San Francisco Airport .  They were on their way to get married in New York.  When I looked into my rear view mirror, I laughingly realized I could not see thru the rear window as they were sitting close together and their big curly hair blended into one big cloud! 

Nancy Downes 

from Maureen Hoatlin

Hi Brett 
Thanks so much for this email. I had no idea your dad was ill. Although I was a friend of your mom for many years when Jesse was born, I live in Portland now and lost touch with your parents when we moved. I did meet up w your mom several years ago on a visit to the Bay Area. I’ve spent my academic career working on rare genetic diseases. So many challenges there. Could you send me your mom’s current email if you think it would be ok for me to connect w her? I won’t mention the memory book or your email since it sounds like it is a surprise (?). You are a wonderful son for making these arrangements.

All the best wishes 

from Lesley Jacobson and Ron Dubreil

I need to preface this by saying my memories of Sam and Barbara go way back to our college days in Syracuse. It was the early 1970’s. Time, as well as those “college indulgences” have blurred some of these recollections, but I will do the best I can.

 I met Barbara first, in our shared, old, but wonderful cottage on campus called Abrams. Barbara recently informed me that unlike what I remember, we really only lived together for one year at SU. Maybe time went slower then?  In any case, we got to know each other quite well in 1970. When Sam came into the picture, (that year? a later year?) I  do remember a tall, good looking young man with an especially cool afro. He seemed rather quiet (or maybe he was ”indulging”) with a strong focus on Birth, the band he was managing.  At the time, I had no idea of any of Sam’s academic pursuits; his only talk was of “ the band.” 

I have to admit, I was rather surprised when I went to stay with Barb and Sam in LA  several months after leaving Syracuse. Sam had enrolled in law school! l ended up staying with with them for a while in LA because I was feeling pretty lost. They opened their home to me in a kind and loving way until I could figure out which direction to go. It happened that direction would be north, to SanFrancisco- with a mutual college friend, Mark Sukoenig ( I only traveled  partway with him, getting  out of his car and hitchhiking the rest of the way myself.) Boy we all did some crazy things back then!

A number of years  passed, and Sam had transferred to Law School at UC Berkeley. When Ron and I stayed with Barb and Sam there, Sam had  seemingly transformed into a hyper studious,  completely absorbed, conscientious, walking and talking law encyclopedia!  

Somehow however, he did manage to interrupt his studies to take us out sailing under The Golden Gate. He was extremely knowledgeable about the tides, winds, weather patterns, the skies, every detail necessary to be a astute sailor. I remember those sailing trips very well, as I was 7 months pregnant with our son Micah.

Fast forward about 21 years. Ron and I had made our lives in Vermont, and Micah just graduated from Wesleyan. So where was our son heading?  Straight to California!  Knowing that  Barb and Sam were there was knowing Micah had a second family to welcome him. They  always included Micah, and even some of his friends, at holiday and family gatherings.  Micah has been living nearby in the East Bay for eleven years and  Barb and Sam have opened their home to us every single trip out to visit him!

What can I say?  Barb and Sam, many, many years, dear, dear friends, with hearts as big as silver AND  gold!

Sorry that we will not be able to make it to the birthday party in April.   (At least we will have just spent time with Barb and Meryl in Vieques.)  But we will be there in spirit, and hopefully in person this summer to celebrate with Sam.

Sending much love, 

Lesley and Ron

from Judy and Richard Vared

Happy Birthday Barbara and Sam!

Wow where have the years gone?

We met when Barbara was in her early pregnancy with Brett. I can still remember the stork on the front lawn. 

The Chavurah gave us many opportunities to take weekend trips, fun day outings and to celebrate holidays together.  We have watched our kids grow and become wonderful adults with many grandchildren to add into the mix. 

Sam has been a great support to us when we had legal questions.  Always taking a positive spin on things. 

Barbara has so many talents who is counting!  We could always depend on Barbara for food, hosting or cleaning up after a gathering. 

We congratulate and wish Barbara and Sam



Judy and Richard

from Norma Williams

Having known Sam and Barbara so closely for so many years, it is hard to write about one experience so I’ll write about many!


Friendship With Barbara
During that first year in Berkeley, I’d definitely say that my stronger relationship was with Sam, my fellow law student. We discussed course work, talked about professors and sometimes studied together. I liked Barbara a lot but did not feel that I knew her well. That changed over the course of the following summer. Sam got a summer internship with the law firm of Jenner and Block in Chicago and my and Barbara’s friendship took off. We spent time playing tennis, hanging out talking and going to entertainment events. What a gem! A friend for life!

Norma’s Nails (what Sam may remember most)
I have always had strong beautiful nails that I maintain myself and let grow long. I think it totally mystified Sam that had them and that I occasionally mildly scratched him when he annoyed me. I think this put me in a category with wild animals and he always commented on it!

Sam’s Serial Passions
Sam has a series of passions that occupy him for periods of time. Why can I only remember sailing? There were several others! Discussions of the law remained a constant. Sam could be one of those stereotypical lawyers who talked “shop” with other lawyers even around non- lawyers, analyzing cases, theories and other legal delights. Loving the law myself, I could go pretty far myself but Sam was generally the one who had to be told “that’s enough! Not everyone is as interested in the law as you are!”

Other Law School Living Location
I think that the only other place that S and B lived in Berkeley was the married student apartments. It was there that we all met Nancy Downes and her son David. All New Yorkers, we had an instant bond and talked about a lot of things. As I recall, that is where they lived

Sam, Barbara and I met and became friends in Berkeley, CA in the second year of law school. We had originally met very briefly in our first year of law school in Los Angeles. During that second year, Sam and Barbara lived in an apartment on Dwight Way in Berkeley. I remember visiting often, studying with Sam and many dinners with Edith, Meryl, Jack (the first of many of their pet cats over the years that I met) and assorted friends. A remarkable lesson to me from those dinners was how Barbara, Edith and Meryl cleaned up after a large dinner party the very same night. Such efficiency! I had always only seen/done that the next morning!

During our last year in law school. From there I think that they moved to the house in Albany where Jesse was born.

I was so thrilled when Barbara became pregnant! S and B were undoubtedly my best friends in Berkeley and very few of my friends anywhere had gotten married as of that point, much less had children. Everyone had deferred marriage and childbearing while we continued school or started our careers. Not only was I thrilled because of our friendship, I was also thrilled because S & B asked me to be Jesse’s godmother. That was just the greatest! I had never been anyone’s godmother. I had thought that Jewish people did not have godparents but I may not have mentioned that so that I could preserved the honor (nah, I’m not that kind of person- I’m sure I mentioned it). The honor stuck. I got to host Barbara’s baby shower. Again, a first for me. My gift was a high chair and I remember the shower for the most delicious strawberry shortcake that I had ever had or have had since and for really getting into and enjoying all those crazy baby shower games. Finding safety pins in rice? Filling in baby items cards? Staring others down until they were “out?” I loved it! Baby pictures of Jesse as well as of his first (?) birthday party are at the end of this write-up. Also, a picture of me around the same time (have many more stashed somewhere) and with my current family. I remember Jesse’s bar mitzvah well and some of his other early adolescent experiences (not liking piano, emerging into an academic star and other things). I was around A LOT.

Other Living Locations
S&B now with Jesse, lived in a few other places in Albany and El Sobrante as I recall and I continued to live in Berkeley or Oakland as I started my career at Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May in Oakland. I had other friends but no family at all in Northern California (one aunt and uncle in Pasadena) so S&B&J were definitely family to me. Countless Sunday afternoon visits, study dates with Sam, trips to restaurants, malls, and just everywhere and everything.

S&B’s Families
I met S&B’s families many times, Barbara’s family more so. I did not have a lot of contact with Sam’s Dad and mostly thought about how much he and Sam looked alike. I remember Sam’s mother because she was so into being (and was) a perfect homemaker! Some I saw, some I heard about. China, crystal, damask, bed ruffles, the works, just all this stuff that seemed so “proper.” I never will forget (and have acted on) a comment that she made to me- just because I was a single woman, that was no reason not to set a lovely table for my own dinner, eat off fine plates and glassware and take my time enjoying my meal. I really quite appreciated it and it was a perspective on life that I hadn’t particularly grown up with and that certainly did not exist with any of my very informal peers! I think some people thought she was a little “over the top” but I thought it was great and luxurious and it made me think of being pampered. All good things, right?

I knew Edith Silverman; Barbara’s mother the best and I’d say equally with Meryl and Mark. What a wonderful woman and mother figure to me! Very down to earth, vivacious, eminently practical and loving! A fellow New Yorker, we spoke the same language! We spent a lot of casual time together around the houses. Edith moved to Southern California after I moved there and I continued to interact with her and Barbara’s father. I enjoyed her and she supported me through some very difficult experiences that I had in my twenties, counseling me about self-love and self-care, parental perspectives, lessons from an equally hard childhood in.

Some ways and the fact that life goes on. I think for a while they lived right across the street from me in Culver City. I really loved her!

I didn’t know Barbara’s father as well and he died very young, at 65, almost right after retirement. I think that was 1984 or 1985 because of some events in my life. I remember him as being very handsome, also friendly and loving and paternal with humor and advice – but a young humor and advice, not preachy or old. That mattered!

I started to get to know Meryl and Mark when I moved to Washington, D.C. in 1980-81 for a fellowship. I lived with them until I found my apartment. They were wonderful, same “salt of the earth” kind of people and I remember Meryl too always telling me how much I did without recognizing just how much I did! And how I always faced/confronted things. Well, that was useful! They were my best friends during that very hard year in D.C. when I was deciding where to live and many other things. I took pottery classes with Meryl that year and learned to love cats (actually first to like them because I hadn’t before then). This came about as a result of babysitting their cat Billy when they went away. After that, I basically have always had cats until I moved to a place where there was a lot of wildlife that might be a danger to them. Can’t say enough about Meryl and Mark, have seen them on trips to D.C. and was so sad about Mark’s early illness and then death. I look forward to many more years of friendship with Meryl.

I didn’t get to know Barbara’s brother or his family too well. Our paths didn’t cross too much. Just on some visits. Would have been nice to know them better.

Heard a lot about Barbara’s cousin Nancy in New York.
I only met Sam’s brother once or twice and don’t recall having a lot of interaction with him.

I was living in Southern California by the time Brett was born and unfortunately did not spend anywhere near the time with him that I spent with Jesse. I remember how happy S&B were when they found out “they” were pregnant, Brett’s birth announcement and several other memories. I remember a trip to a restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown where I wanted to hug and get to know Brett (about 2 then) better but he found the floor just so much more interesting! Glad to have had some time together in the Walnut Creek house and around his music as well as during excursions with S,B,J&B with my husband, Bruce and my sons, Marquis and Noah, when were all in the same town. Jesse and Brett don’t know it, but I was always telling M&N how great they were and how my guys had to be brothers like that who did great things, had many interests, looked out for each other (and even despite the age difference), were polite and respectful, all notwithstanding the fact that they all 4 were so good looking that they could have probably gotten away with worse! Well, that’s parenting for you! So proud of all that B&J have accomplished!

Walnut Creek
We actually got to visit a lot in Walnut Creek, because Bruce (who I married in 1989) coincidentally had parents who lived on El Divisadero Road in Walnut Creek. Barbara prepared fabulous meals at dinner parties that we, her mother and friend, Bruce’s parents and a host of others attended. Or – S&B, with or without Jesse and Brett (a little older now) would come over to Bruce’s parent’s house for the same. As all parents aged, Bruce’s dad as well as Barbara’s mother and Sam’s father lived in Rossmoor so again, our lives intertwined.

We don’t see each other nearly as much as we want but when I come to the Bay Area, I sometimes stay at the house and S&B sometimes stay with us when they visit Southern California to see the many friends they made around the time of first year of law school. But NOT NEARLY ENOUGH as Barbara is always telling me! Sam and Barbara, and Barbara alone have travelled a lot internationally whereas Bruce and I are still very actively (over-!) working so it’s hard to just get up and go places. But I feel a girls’ trips coming on!

A long, lovely and loving life together with so much more to come.

Love, Norma

 from Wendy Kahn

Tribute to Barbara and Sam

Barbara and I met at the SFMOMA school guide training in 2015.  I noticed Barbara because we are both Curley Girls.

We bonded when we participated at the PRIDE parade with SFMOMA in June, 2016.  We did not know each other was coming.  When we connected, Barbara said that she was not surprised I was at the parade.  I took this comment as a compliment.  Barbara, Mia and I had a great time.  At the end of the parade I could not find my wallet.  Barbara rescued me by lending me money for the bus home.  

As school guides we plan tours for small groups of students.  Barbara and I met at the museum to plan a tour.  Barbara brought Sam who gave us valuable feedback on the tour stops and activities. 

Barbara came to my birthday party at Golden Gate Park in April, 2017 and gave me a beautiful painting she made.  The painting is on the mantel above the fireplace and gives me great joy.

I look forward to many years of friendship with Barbara.

Wendy Kahn

from Cristine Bjork-Hilsinger

Hit the link above

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