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Leon and Hortense Auerbach


Leon and Horty with their granddaughter, Laura, in approximately 1988 or 1989.

Hortense Auerbach wrote this epilogue after returning from a trip to England. Her son and his wife had bought a lovely old Victorian/
Edwardian house in Darlington, Durham county, in northern England. The house has a typical enclosed English garden, dates back to early 1900, and is quite authentic - no closets and a bell system to summon servants! They went on trips every day which involved miles and miles of walking, mostly on cobblestones. Horty managed to keep up with the others, but opted out of a climb on 199 steps to visit a ruined abbey.

She exhorts readers to "Cherish your time together!"


Leon had a massive stroke in 1981, from which he recovered with no physical problems. He retained all of his mental facilities. The following year, he retired, too, and we spent three days a week doing volunteer work at the N.I.C.D. [National Information Center on Deafness at Gallaudet University] and at the NAD. We also went on a few trips with friends to Mexico and elsewhere. Then, in 1979 and thereafter, his health declined, but we continued our volunteer work. It was after a day of volunteering at the NAD that Leon fell, as we were preparing to leave, and suffered a heart attack and went into a coma, from which he never awoke. He died in the hospital on March 19, 1991. An end to a remarkable life. I am always meeting former students who tell me what a wonderful teacher of math and a compassionate professor he was.

I remained in our home and continued my volunteer activities for a year after Leon's death, but decided I needed to make a drastic change in my life. I moved to New Hampshire and bought a two-family home in Concord so that my youngest daughter, Susan, and her husband could live next to me. I have no social life up here, to speak of, but continue to keep in touch with the friends I 'left behind me' in Metro DC. My side of the house underwent a complete remodeling so that it is "handicap accessible" and I expect to end my days here, God willing. I keep busy with gardening, walking and needlework in addition to trying to read all the books that I possibly can!

As for advice from my 80 years, I would strongly urge young married people to cherish their time together . . . who knows what 'tomorrow' may bring! To quote my favorite short poem:

"The clock of life is wound but once
and no man has the power
to know just when the clock will stop
at late or early hour.
This is the only time we own.
Live, love, work with a will.
Place no faith in tomorrow for
the clock may then be still."


[NOTE: The poem cited above by Hortense Auerbach was written by Robert H. Smith. Titled "The Clock of Life," the poem was written and copyrighted in 1932 and in 1982. Here is the correct version of this poem:

The Clock of Life
by Robert H. Smith, copyright 1932, 1982

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.

To lose one's wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one's health is more,
To lose one's soul is such a loss
That no man can restore.

The present only is our own,
So live, love, toil with a will,
Place no faith in "Tomorrow,"
For the Clock may then be still.

Thanks to Jack Duncan, for the Estate of Robert H. Smith, for bringing this to our attention.--Gail Hyde, 9/17/02]


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