‘Whatever else may not agree in this disagreeing world, a verb must agree with its noun.’ Ephraim smacked his fist into his palm and then laughed. His new patron, President Pendleton of Bethany College, had the grace and perception to laugh with the just-arrived professor of Hebrew, Greek and Biblical exegesis.
From dry, spare prairie to cradling green hills, the jolt in setting was as if the Epsteins had been picked up and put down in the panhandle of West Virginia by a tornado. After the bitterness in Dakota Territory Ephraim was buoyed with vindication. From being founding president of a university there the house, pay and privileges here are a diminishment from his previous glory, but now he has utter academic freedom. A new book project, a new geography, and, aged 56, yet again a new life awaits — with the loyal Helena and their four daughters to support.
Once again Ephraim lands on his feet, with a post at Bethany College: ideal for him as it was founded by free-thinking Disciples of Christ who believed in no sects, no denominations. His literate and independent style of Christianity surely won’t get him in trouble here. But why not support his family by doctoring? In Chapter 34, Resurrection, in the seventh year of mourning for his little son he still feels unable to return to practice. Bethany College, click here , flourishes to this day. The home of its second President, William K Pendleton, had been a station in the underground railroad for escaping slaves some 25 years before Ephraim’s time at Bethany.
… in Cincinnati Ephraim and Sadie had told Helena how the Epstein family celebrated Chanukah. Though the Jewish festival of lights was based on history and the German tradition muddled up Christianity with pagan folklore, the two celebrations had in common the deepest faith of all —
— the miracle of light in darkness. Now, along with readings from the Gospels of the story of the son of God born in a stable, the children heard about the candelabrum and the oil for one day which lasted for eight in the Temple. Jesus would have known this story too, Ephraim made sure they understood.
We jump ahead here to Chapter 35, Still Full of Sap, in Bethany, West Virginia 1885-87 in order to celebrate Christmas. Ephraim here is happily married and father of four young children. Next time, back to his chronology, continuing med school in New York City 1858. Meanwhile, happy celebrations to you.
Fasten your seatbelts… oh, but there were no seatbelts in 1850. So, hi there from Ephraim’s author and great granddaughter (one of many, but the only one I know of who’s tracked his life and turned it into a novel). This is the first post for Ephraim’s site… you’ll see I’ve begun pages where we can travel where he did: from Belarus to Kansas, from Saloniki (as he called it) to West Virginia and more, much more.
And another part where followers of Ephraim can see photos of him, his family and maybe meet up with Ephraim’s seed right here in the 21st century. And of course there’s the story page, a sketch of what he’s all about.
Pardon me while this blogsite is building, more bells and whistles will appear. I’m braving new territory as this astonishing illustrious ancestor did regularly. Speaking of travels and adventures, which I was only slant-wise, I won’t be back for a month — going on my own travels. But do watch this space as the historical novel about Ephraim M Epstein is in production countdown… 104 days till it is ready for the world. And here in this place we can have some fun exploring his world. Just think, he spoke seven languages…