Ok, I'm back to my regular self. =)
Some small points of interest:
It is the consensus of my mother, father, and uncle that I should not tell the story I wanted to write about my great-uncle Steve on my blog. It's a great story, and they would prefer that I write it up as a proper essay and try to sell it to a magazine or something somewhere. Fine, I shall do that. I don't think they quite get that blog entries can be essays in themselves, but I respect their wishes.
What I can tell you is this, most of the details that I know from family history, and that my great-uncle Steve was a wonderful man. He was born in 1912 in Hungary, where he grew up and eventually trained to be a lawyer. At some point in the 1930's, he immigrated to the United States, met my great-aunt Sylvia (my maternal grandfather's older sister), and married. During WWII, he worked for the United States Army as a photographer down in Maryland. He took pictures of soldiers, as well as of various things that needed to be illustrated for army instruction manuals. If you were a soldier during WWII and were reading how to operate something, you most likely saw one of my Uncle Steve's photographs.
After WWII, my grasp on the family history gets a bit hazy, but I know that he and my Aunt Sylvia eventually ended up back in New York City--Queens in particular. They ran several businesses together, including one dealing in estate sales and rare books. They loved to travel, often going to Europe to visit my Uncle Steve's brother, Tibor Meray and his wife, Mary. One of my favorite stories as a young child was how Uncle Steve and Aunt Sylvia had gone to Transylvania to see Dracula's grave--and how next to it, there's a restaurant that purposely serves bloody steaks. =)
In his later years, he and my aunt moved to Florida, where they've lived since the mid-1970s. My uncle remained active as a photographer, his entire life, and in his early 90s, had some of his work exhibited in a museum. He was a fascinating man, who could tell the most marvelous stories, show you the neatest rare books he owned, and kept his distinctive Hungarian accent his entire life. Of all the things I'll miss the most, I think it's how his voice sounded when he was speaking English.
He passed away at the age of 96 on October 15, 2008. He and my aunt never had children, and they were essentially like a third set of grandparents to me. They rightly deserved that distinction.
Also, coming up shortly later today, a FULL WEEK of Book Blocks. One a day, Monday-Friday! First one coming up after I eat lunch--stay tuned. =)