Dad with Frank (mustache)
I realize that several of you have had the pleasure of meeting my father, but I would like to write about him since he is the one who has inspired this blog.
I could probably write an entire book about my father. His life has taken various twists and turns. He tells us a new story every time we’re together, and I always wonder what other mysteries about him I have yet to know. He is extremely wise and very well educated. He is a businessman with impeccable street smarts. He analyzes every situation, and manages to come up with ideas and thoughts that one would never even come to think of. He’s strong and courageous, and he takes risks. He loves his family more than anything in this world, and he’s willing to do anything to make us proud.
Raphael Goldstein was born on August 4, 1947, in Alexandria, Egypt. He lived a normal life, he was a curious kid full of adventure. I do not know much about my father’s life in Egypt, however I do know it was a great life until Nasser intervened.
When my father was a young boy Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein came to power in Egypt. This became a hard time for the 75,000 Jews living in Egypt. Their businesses were seized by the government, their property confiscated, Synagogues were bombed, bank accounts were confiscated, and propaganda was made calling Jews “Thieves, Cheats, and Murderers”. My Grandfather, Magnus Goldstein, decided it would be best to flee. Ralphy would be forced to leave his home, his friends, his life. The family was not allowed to take much on their journey, only small personal belongings. My Grandmother, Gisele Goldstein, took an enormous risk upon their departure. She hid gold jewelry in her undergarments, knowing that some passengers would be strip searched. Gisele knew they would arrive at their new home with nothing, and she had to do what she could to survive. The Goldsteins embarked on a journey to Venezuela. At the time this was a prominent place to start a new life. The oil industry was booming, and Venezuela was rich.
Ralphy arrived in a new world. His father managed to find a job and a place for them to live. When they arrived they were poor. My father talks of their one bedroom apartment where they slept on cardboard. He tells us about his two pairs of pants that he proudly owned, and his new friends he would soon make for life.
My father’s greatest stories come from his life in Venezuela. As a kid he joined boy scouts, and spent his weekends on adventures. He made a group of friends “Los Panas”, guys that remain in his life to this day. These guys got into trouble together, they spent every moment they had having fun, and they are all there for each other no matter what. I envy my father, his friendships will last forever, and I hope to find friends like his.
Ralphy has been adventurous since day one. He was very active in boy scouts, played tennis, took up running, played soccer, went spearfishing, and took part in just about anything that came his way. Like I said before, I could write a book about this!
Ralphy went to college in Georgia, and moved back to Venezuela to start a career. He was a marketing executive, and worked for companies like Quaker Oats and Unilever. No matter where he was, he still kept active and always managed to get some tennis in. He met my mother at a fitness club in Caracas, she was walking, he was jogging…a match made in heaven! They began to date and I guess the rest is history. They got married and moved in to a beautiful house in Caracas. My mom was very supportive of my dad, cheering him on in all of his tennis matches, and joining him on his fishing adventures (we will always hear about her terrible bout of seasickness on an adventure to Tortuga…my father ended up throwing her in the ocean to calm her down!) They had my sister and two years later they had me.
We had a wonderful life in Venezuela. We went to the beach every weekend, and had a great group of friends. Our culture values family more than anything else, and I have always appreciated this. As my sister and I got older, Venezuela got worse. It was growing more and more corrupt, and Ralphy knew he had to do something.
Once again Ralphy would have to pick up and leave. He analyzed everything, but at the end of the day he knew that his daughters meant the world to him, and he would do anything to keep them safe. He had a conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, and fell in love with it while he was there. He imagined a life where his daughters could play outside without worry of being kidnapped. A life where his wife could drive down a busy street with her windows down, knowing that no one would try to take her Ray Bans off her face like the motorcyclist did in Caracas. He knew this was the right choice to take.
A year later we packed up our lives and we headed for North Carolina. Once again Ralphy had to start over.
We have been in Charlotte for 16 years now. For most of those years my father woke up early every morning to run. He had his weeknights filled with tennis matches, and urged us to go on adventures on the weekends. We took hiking trips, and an unforgettable father- daughter camping trip.
Ralphy has been active his entire life. He is extremely driven, and will not allow anyone or anything to get in his way. He lives for his two daughters, and would do anything for them. He is the greatest father that a girl could ask for. And this is why I write this, and this is why I am so eager to search for a cure. My father deserves the very best and only the best, and by spreading this message, all of you can help us get there!