Introduction—Leon on screen.
Acknowledgements—A family project. Content warnings.
Miss Koral—The couple’s engagement.
Koral–Schneider—Announcement of a simple wedding.
Aground and dismasted—West New York. Kingston. Jobs ashore.


Overheard—Earliest memories.
Arnold—The biggest schmuck in the entire family.
The little momzer—Pennies from Pop.
Florence—A musical education.
Seeing—The eye patch. Mr. Fishman the optician.
Craps—The neighborhood game with Cockeyed Sam the newspaper man.
Nickels—Stealing and hustling for small change.
The neighborhood—Jews and Italians.
The bicycle gonif—Leon’s new bicycle.
The Great Depression—WPA. Selling potatoes and onions.
Bar-mitzvah—Three brothers, two bar-mitzvahs.
Mom—Leon’s yiddishe momme.
Mary Gordon—Honoring our Scottish benefactor.
Uncle Max—The family matchmaker. The family’s first divorce.
Kosher Sam—The Orthodox cousins keep their distance.
Sonia—Leon’s little sister.
Muriel—Leon’s first crush.
Harlem—Leon the jitterbug.
Clubhouse—Spin the records, spin the bottle.


The overcoat—High-school dropout hitchhikes to Florida.
Miami Beach—Beach jobs. Milton Berle’s jokes.
Homeward—A driver’s license and a gas can.
The hunchback—Delivering dresses. A job for Pop.
Chickens—Plucking pinfeathers.
Brookside Manor—Waiting tables in the Catskills.
Up the ranks—The neighborhood kids join the Navy. Leon goes upstate.
Hollywood and Vine—Driving to Las Vegas. Anti-Semitism in Los Angeles.
Busboy—Eat at the theater. Dancing girls.
Bessie and Anna—Leon’s L.A. aunts and their husbands.

World War II

Wiper—San Francisco. Leon’s first ocean voyages. Hawaii.
Riding the rails—Leon the hobo. A cold night outside Sparks. Salt Lake City.
Fireman—Troop transport. First in Melbourne. Set loose in the sweet shop.
Caribbean Sinkings—Twice torpedoed.
Trinidad—A hospital stay.
Torpedo Club—Leon makes it into LIFE magazine.
Tests—Communists. Getting into Kings Point.
Rules of the Road—Life at the academy.
Officer—A diploma for a high-school dropout.
Eleanor—Leon’s celebrity crush.
The Blitz—A War Bond rally in D.C., and a bit of a do in London.
War Shipping Administration—The keys to the kingdom.


Victory in Europe—Post-war Germany.
Putting up the Ritz—Free to those who can afford it.
Relief and Rehabilitation—Leon in charge. A deceitful date.
Japan—Geisha girls and devastation.
War Bride—A Frenchwoman on a freighter.
Rosita—A romance in Buenos Aires with Rosie the dancer.
Grrrrammi—On a Greek coal-burning freighter to Uruguay.
Invention—Herr Schnapp. Rosie’s story.
Refugee—A nice Jewish girl meets a peddler.
Pesos—A rich American in Buenos Aires.
Poor Alfredo—A high-class Uruguayan and his stunning girlfriend.
Deckhand—The Philippines.


Exodus—Leon and the Jewish underground.
Israel—Leon’s take on Israel-Palestine.
Ireland—Queen Elizabeth’s linen napkins.
Yugoslavia—The ballet dancer.
Korea—A twenty-three-course meal.
Convent—Encounter at the Palace.
Law School—A tricky knot for Leon.
GI Bill—Our ungrateful Congress.
Suez Canal—Jewish sailors in Egypt.
Anka—A message for the fans.
Ocean Avenue—The pains of subletting.
Flatbush—The floating craps game.
Passings—Arnold. Pop.

Settling down

The Old Convincer—The bridge tour. A day at the beach.
That’s it—How I met your mother.
Seventeen’s your point—A working woman and a stay-at-home dad.
Extra—In the Screen Actors Guild.
Pensioner—The secret to longevity.