Having been born, christened, baptized, completed CCD and confirmed at age 12, as far as he knew, Manny was the product of devout and practicing Roman Catholic parents. He was in no position to consider what a blessing it might be to have descended from Spanish Sephardic Jews who had settled and prospered in the diamond industry of early Antwerp and Amsterdam.
With pounding pulse Manny’s clammy hands ripped open the registered letter. Ordinarily he would have thrown this sort of thing in the round file without opening, but this one had required his signature and his curiosity had taken over. After all, he had recently read somewhere that when curiosity ends, ignorance begins. He didn’t want to be considered ignorant by refusing information.
Trying to deal with an endless series of frustrations and disappointments, Manny was fed up. Just one damn thing after another adding to a sinking feeling that he wished would bottom out. His early promise of a brilliant future had ground down to a dull, dark smoldering sludge with only a random flare up. Like a wick about to run out of candle wax, it just smoked and spluttered
The letterhead looked like an official legal document of some sort. Legalese was not Manny’s native language. The “where as” in the opening paragraph stopped his eyes and brain. He didn’t recognize any of the names leaping out of the blur of verbiage. The only names he could remember ending in “witz,” “hoef” or “weerd’ had been in concert programs or financial documents. And there were some very large numbers that focused his eyes momentarily. He didn’t understand the names of the financial documents referred to or words like duizend and miljoen were beyond him.