This is Felix Slamovics, my first boyfriend, at the age of about 9. Well, without the mustache and beard, but with a lot more hair.
We were the only Jewish kids in Elementary School No. 8 in Oradea, Romania, where teacher Duma Marta tought us for 4 years (1969-1973). We used to live on the same street for a few years and my parents also knew each other from the Jewish Community. His mother, a good, patient person, my future mother in law and two other women played rummykub weekly. His father, a fearsome limping man, used to beat him up, a 'pedagogic' method frequently used at the time.
Since Felix was a weak pupil, I used to go to his backyard apartment to help him out with homework. We also sang in the choir of the Jewish Community and hung out around the synagogue and canteen. His 'academic' achievemens at the time led me to believe nothing will ever come out of him. After the 4th grade, I moved to another school and our ways parted. I got married, came to Israel, had two kids. I heard he also came with his parents, lived in the North and then his parents died.
A few years ago, I saw his picture in my favortive Friday paper, along with an (Hebrew) article about him. I immediatley mailed him and we got back in touch. The once weak pupil found his call. He grew up to be a top alpinist, communicative, fun to be with, optimistic person. He lived and lives his life to the full, always doing what he wants, surrounded by his numerous friends and fans.
Confined to a wheelchair and using a breathing machine, as well as a special device designed especially for him, he continues to climb in order to raise awareness to ALS, the terribile, incurable disease he suffers from. He attempted to climb El Capitan in Yosimite National Park and the Azrieli Tower in Tel Aviv.
His only regret was not having a family of his own, wife and children. I promise to revisit this blogspot and add pictures taken at his wedding I just returned from. Started shortly after sunset in a Tel Aviv Port restaurant, the ceremony was conducted by TV star Avri Gilad. One of the guests was Israel Prize winner and fellow ALS sufferer Dov Lautman. Before leaving, I asked Felix to invite me to his Silver Anniversary. "It's a deal", he said.