Banana yellow on my T-shirt…

Other ships were halted by the Royal Navy and turned back. Everybody by now knew, that even going back, there was no going back. It is never the same trip, even if you end up where you had started. All had been through the war, behind bars or outside a fence with razor wire on the top.

Every few months, Sam Delaney received updates, sometimes followed by meetings, at Audubon Place in New Orleans, the Ritz-Carlton in Boston, the plantation near Harmony Louisiana, or the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Shore would turn up alone or he might bring a colleague along, such as Meyer Weisgal. He was the executive director of the Jewish Agency.

Bricha was the underground effort that got Jewish survivors out of postwar Europe and to the British Mandate for Palestine. Sam Delaney helped the Bricha several ways, in acquiring ships and getting those ships out to sea. He liked to stand there and watch the different ports down by pier 3 in New York or New Orleans harbor. Simple. He did it by putting Shore in touch with the men who ran the docks. It brought him back to his kid days, where it was a cool place to hang out, and he got to know these people who really made things happen, who emptied the fruit with their hands and sweat and toil, and they had the hands-on knowledge that gave him his insight to build the business, stronger, better, leaner than anybody had ever done before.

“Oh,” to get back to the days of my first company, in the Chamelecon River Valley, it was nice and pure.” But Sam punished himself for delusions, yes, delusions. That’s what it was, for in its superabundance is constantly exiling one from the moment at hand, another grain of sand has pass through the narrow isthmus of the hourglass, and that grain cannot be held, and more than my father’s vacated corpse. Early morning hangover, hangnail thoughts. . . Getting the ships together and getting them out to see, that is what Sam did best.

Leon Shore was constantly on the move visiting the people in Boston, New York or New Orleans that Sam had put him in contact with to obtain the right documents. Papers of registry were required for the ships and visa for the crews. Honduras and Nicaragua and Guatemala were pressured (read: bribed) to put Bricha ships under their flags.

For example, one ship, the aptly named Wanderer was denied exit papers from the port of Philadelphia. After a few phone calls from Sam Delaney, the old steamer loaded with refugees, set sail. As if no further proof was needed to vindicate the need to establish a Jewish state. He helped raise the purchase price and pushed through the registration of Wanderer, in its wandering, sad and unwelcomed. It personified the dilemma of the war survivors. Finally, after much finagling, refugee-packed Wanderer carried at long last its human cargo to the promised land.

The British Mandate of Palestine was goodbye, dissolved in May 1948. The Bricha had already brought over thirty-seven thousand refugees to the Promised Land. A whole lot of them came over on American ships that were bought or cajoled along by Sam Delaney.

In Sam’s autumn, his wife Becky, made the mistake of suggesting that Sam could have been more public is his generosity: “Your name is better known in Israel than here.”

“Yeah, I’ve been pretty much forgotten, Becky.”

“And that’s how I like it.”

“You’ve always been leery about drawing the wrong kind of attention,” she said. “You still behave like a refugee yourself.”

“That’s—” he sputtered. And then shook his head as if about to say something he knew better than to say. And then the pot of milk boiled over. He said it, “You’ll never know the anxiety I have felt and will always feel over the kidnapping of the grandchild of the Sugar Cane King.”

After that Becky held peace. She understood. The kidnapping of Sugar Cane King’s grandchild, ugly case still celebrated in barrooms in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Much as Sam did for the foundation of Israel, he was able to leave his fingerprints off his involvement and dissociate himself from the Zionist cause. This historical record consists of a few receipts, diary entries and letters—Sam zealously threw out paperwork that was no longer needed. He hated excess papers.

“He sure acted like an organized criminal, and he had a very organized mind—maybe he just was clean,” said Leon Shore, his associate who helped put Israel on the map. “But Sam also saw no need to leave a trail.”

To be continued…

Grady is the Wizard of Fiction

Previous articleCommunity Can Receive SMPD Service Request Updates On Phones
Next articleMalibu City Gallery, “Moments in Time”, Free Opening Reception
Hollywood humorist Grady grew up in the heart of Steinbeck Country on the Central California coast. More Bombeck than Steinbeck, Grady Miller has been compared to T.C. Boyle, Joel Stein, and Voltaire. He briefly attended Columbia University in New York and came to Los Angeles to study filmmaking, but discovered literature instead, in T.C. Boyle’s fiction writing workshop at USC. In addition to A Very Grady Christmas, he has written the humorous diet book, Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet and the popular humor collection, Late Bloomer (both on Amazon) and its follow-up, Later Bloomer: Tales from Darkest Hollywood. ( His humor column, Miller Time, appears weekly in The Canyon News (