© 2019 by Steven B. Epstein

My Papa

This book is dedicated to the loving memory of Morris Goldstein, my Papa. 
 
Papa was born December 26, 1905.  He was the only maternal grandfather I ever knew--even though he was actually my step-grandfather, having become my mother's stepfather shortly after her own father died when she was just 13.
Though he logged only one year in college, at Cornell, Papa had a life-long love affair with reading and writing.  He instilled that same love in me.  By the time I was in college, I would send Papa op-ed pieces I was writing for the Daily Tar Heel, the campus newspaper at UNC- Chapel Hill, which he would help whip into shape before my submissions.  My political science honors thesis was a labor of love--for us both.  When I taught law school from 1994-1996, he had a hand (heavy at that) in the law review articles I wrote.  My second article, published in the Columbia Law Review, acknowledged the assistance of several people who had reviewed the manuscript and provided helpful comments.  All but one were law professors.  But Papa's comments were the ones that proved the most insightful and helpful.
The above picture of Papa with my children Benjamin and Madeline (Thomas was in utero) was taken in April 2004 when we visited him in Las Vegas.  Papa was 98.  A mere two months later, he would succumb to complications from a blood infection.  But as of April 2004, he lived completely independently at his golf course condo, relishing in his independence, taking long walks each and every day and, of course, reading and writing.  His mind remained his greatest asset until the very end of his life.
Toward the end of that trip, Papa asked if I was "writing" and, learning that I wasn't, asked when I would and what would be next.  At that time, I had no answer, or any inclination to write anything of significance ever again.  Yes, it took some 15 years, and the answer is MURDER ON BIRCHLEAF DRIVE.  Though I missed his help along the way, what Papa taught me over the first 39 years of my life is hopefully evident in the end result.  Deep down, I believe he would be as proud of me for this book as he was for all of the stepping stones he witnessed--and assisted with--in my life.  To the extent this book marks any sort of achievement, I proudly share it with my Papa.