Thursday, July 19, 2012

Opticians3, Shawn Ferguson, and Ellis Island!

Wandering into Opticians3 in Newtonville Square yesterday, Marash Girl met Marty Glickman, the optician who had been wonderful in his service to her father Peter and her Uncle Paul.  When he realized to whom he was speaking, (Marash Girl, the daughter of story-tellers,) he fell into the story-telling mode, and talked about the origin of his name, Glickman, and his wife's name, Glickberg.  How his father, upon entering the United States, had changed his name from Glick to Glickman because he felt adding 'man' to the end of the name made it sound more American.  His wife's father, on the other hand, upon entering the United States, had changed his name from Glickberg to Glick as his wife's father felt that Glick sounded more American than Glickberg.  Just think, he said; my wife could have married me and never have had to change her name!

This charming optician went on to tell Marash Girl how a Jewish fellow named Shawn Ferguson came to have an Irish name.  Apparently, upon Shawn's first arrival in the United States, he had been sent back to the old country for having an eye disease, so when he returned to Ellis Island, hoping to be admitted to the USA this time, he decided to use a new name, for with his real name, the immigration officers at Ellis Island might think he still had the eye problem and would once again send him back to the 'old country'.  Thus, on Shawn's second arrival at Ellis Island, when the US officials asked him for his name, he was so flustered, that he answered in Yiddish,  "Shoyn fargesn!"  (I've forgotten!)  The immigration officials recorded on his immigration papers exactly what they had heard : Shawn Ferguson!

Oh, and yes, Marash Girl did order a very cool pair of prescription sunglasses which were ready the very next day!


  1. That's awesome! Great stories!

    1. Somebody told me that joke about 30 years ago, only with the eye problem. It's still one of my two favorite Yiddish jokes.

  2. glick is the yiddish version of the german word, 'gluck', which means,'luck'. the reader can determine how much, if any, luck there was in the passing from the old world to the new by the likes of glickman and glickberg; the latter name means lucky mountain (berg means mountain in yiddish and in german). one could say that there was a mountain of luck the two families left germany when they did, far in advance of the horrors of the fourth and fifth decades of the twentieth century in Germany under the rule of the socialist dictator, Adolf Hitler. Better yet, one could assign it all to Providence.