Blogs posted for Talented Tuesday are supposed to highlight people with talents of all sorts. The most talented person in our extended family (my second cousin) was the late actor, musician, and comic, Avery Schreiber.
Many people will remember Avery as one half of the comedy team Burns & Schreiber, who made their names at The Second City in Chicago. Or you may remember him as spokesklutz for Doritos corn chips in the 1970s. You can find many clips of his performances, with or without Jack, at Youtube.
But the talents you won’t see on youtube are the ones that I remember him for. He was wizard with telephones – in the days before cell phones – and he could install or fix desk top telephones with the best of them.
The knives in his kitchen were always sharp. This was unfortunate for me. I was slicing a bagel one day while visiting, holding it in my left hand as I maneuvered the knife in my right. My left middle finger bears the scar from that injury, which sliced my finger to bone, to this day.
In everyday life, Avery was just as funny as he was on stage. I remember one family get together when he converted Yiddish phrases deliberately into mangled English. He converted “af tzu luches” (which means spitefully) into “Officer Lucas” and spun a hysterically funny story out of it. We were ROFLAO!
The summer of 1969, I lived with Avery and his family while I worked a summer job. I was the blasé, off-to-college teenager who wouldn’t have been caught dead expressing enthusiasm for anything. He insisted I join him and his family in front of the television to on July 20 watch Neil Armstrong leave the space capsule and take that giant leap for mankind on the moon, and I will be forever grateful that he did. That talent of persuasion undoubtedly helped him as an actor, a husband, and a father. Oliver Show Lem, Ave!