Hey, remember me?
It was the sort of item that used to appear on the society pages of newspapers: Sophia Altfeld entertained Ossie Rasher and Rosalie Berkovich last weekend at her home in Coconut Creek, Fla. A few lines of type, lacking the details that make this one of the more heartwarming stories of the year. Sophia, you see, is Ossie's sister, and Rosalie is their cousin. Sure, family get-togethers happen all the time. But not often under these circumstances. The three had seen each other last on a railway platform in Moscow, and, as Rosalie recalled, "Everybody cried." That's because she and her family were staying behind, while the sisters and their parents were off to the US to start a new life. Ultimately, Sophia and Ossie retired to Florida. Meanwhile, Rosalie endured the privations of Soviet dictatorship. All contact with her cousins was lost, a casualty of Kremlin mistrust of the West. But the hope of seeing them again wasn't. As the Soviet Union was collapsing, Rosalie, too, came to the US, settling in Massachusetts. She tried to trace Sophia and Ossie, but without success. And then one day last month, Ossie's phone rang. The caller, another cousin, spoke of seeing the family tree posted on the Internet and asked whether she had a relative named Rosalie Berkovich. The reunion ensued. For the first time in 70 years, the cousins were together again. Said Sophia, through tears, there's so much to catch up on, "we don't have time to eat."