How did you know Octave? Was Dr. Levenspiel your Chemical Engineering professor? Did you play Chinese chess with him? Were you ever fooled by his “I’m the eighth son” story? Some of you probably want to know if ANY of his stories were true. A short biography was written about Tavy, if you really want to know how unique his life was. Visit Lulu.com.
For most of my childhood, the Levenspiels were our next door neighbors. In those days, everyone kept their doors open, and the Rubenstein kids would just walk into the Levenspiels' at any time, looking for one of their kids to play with. I usually walked in through the kitchen door, and often found Tavy puttering around in there. He was always smiling and gave me a grand welcome. The only people we ever celebrated Christmas with were the Levenspiels and the fun, warmth and friendship among our families was special and unique. Tavy and my dad were always goofing around and when I picture them, I only see huge smiles and genuine happiness. One summer day I decided to try riding a bike without training wheels and Tavy held onto the back of the bike seat and ran alongside me. I kept yelling, "Don't let go! Don't let go!" and he said, "I won't, not until you're ready." Halfway down our block, as I focused hard on balancing the bike, I suddenly realized Tavy was no longer at my side. I panicked but then realized I could ride without him holding on. I made it to the end of the block, and turned to see him with that huge smile. And I see now that that was one of Tavy's many gifts, even though I never could have articulated it at that young age. He knew how to challenge people, support them, and also knew when they were ready for him to let go. I was too young to know how brilliant he was, how admired and respected he was. He was "Bekki's dad", the funny guy who could make coins appear out your ear and nose, who called his dog Lolly Lee Lou and chanted mysterious "Jattery Mattery Sickle Yandy" spells. He's fondly and forever woven into memories of my youth.