(I wish I had known him better)
by Commander Fred Solomn I.N. RET'D
My elder brother Henry, my late sister Phyllis and I were born in London between 1914 and 1919 when my parents were here during the First World War. My late brother Cecil and the youngest of the family Helen were born in Bombay when my parents returned there in 1920.
My father who was a pearl merchant with his brothers Charles (Saleh) and Albert (Abdullah) was wealthy and this meant having a number of servants in the household. Female servants for my sisters and male for myself and my brothers. Then there was the butler, cook, gardener and driver as well as 2 night-watchmen all being accommodated in the servants quarters - a separate block of rooms.
My parents had a full social life and most days were not home until quite late in the evening - dinner being at 9.o'clock. Consequently, the amount of time spent together was little and the care of the children was in the hands of servants. Loyalty was uppermost with all of them and their care and compassion towards us was of the utmost. They bathed, dressed and fed and attended to all our needs.
Of my parents, - G-d Bless them both, my mother was always there to see to our needs. My father had his hands full running the family business and we therefore saw very little of him.
As I grew up, I gained my first taste of independence when I was bought my first bicycle and most of my daylight hours were spent at school, on the playing fields or at the swimming pool. In good weather bathing was in the sea. Home was for eating and sleeping. From August 1940 it was the Navy with long spells away from Bombay, whether at sea or in shore establishments. I retired in 1965 and almost immediately came to London with my wife and son - my two daughters having preceded us. A few years later my father passed away and I honestly wish that I could have spent more time with him.
Just as I did not have much time with my father, so I now do not have much time with my son, who has been in the States since 1977. My wife and I see him and his family only when we visit them or they visit us. I am now missing the opportunity of knowing him better.
I notice that from time to time old prints appear in The Scribe which would be of interest to the younger generation of those appearing in them. I have managed to obtain one which was taken about 75 years ago showing three generations from my grandparents Hakham H. Baruch Sopher and his wife Simha nee Hillel. The family has been widely dispersed since the photo was taken in Bombay. They had three sons and two daughters who with their off-spring are shown in the photo.