She had no airs about her. She didn’t need to impress. Mrs. Davidson and her husband, sheyichye, lived a life of utter simplicity in Oak Park, Michigan. In some frum neighborhoods, it seems like every family is renovating their house, especially the façade. The Davidsons never did. They were happy with what they had.
The Davidsons were the only family I knew growing up that still had a rotary phone. It worked just fine, so why replace it? It’s also the only home in which I saw a floppy disk that was actually floppy.
For five years – from 4th grade through 8th grade – on every school day, I would go to the Davidsons’ house and wait for my father to pick me up after work and drive me home. Sometimes I was there for half an hour. Sometimes I was there for three hours. And when my parents went away on a business trip, my sister and I would stay for several days in a row at the Davidsons (as they had classmates our age).
During those five years, I must have spent 1,000 hours at their house.
Mrs. Davidson always made me feel supremely comfortable, accommodated my peculiar eating habits, and talked to me about school and even politics as if I were 32 rather than 12. She was an adult, but you never felt intimidated in her presence.
When her oldest son got married, she made many cakes for Shabbos Sheva Berchos whose aroma made me salivate, and I commented during the week that I wish I could eat the cakes, not just smell them. Mrs. Davidson immediately invited me for Shabbos. I was the only non-family member present. But I was made to feel exceedingly welcome.
I can’t do Mrs. Davidson proper justice. I knew her best from age 9-14. A child’s perspective and appreciation cannot compare to that of an adult. My sister just commented to me this past Shabbos on how remarkable it is for a family to host you virtually every day for five years straight. Indeed. At the time, though, I took it for granted. And spending time at the house always felt supremely natural.
I will miss Mrs. Davidson and so, I’m sure, will all who knew her. May her husband, Rabbi (Aron) Davidson, and her eight children – all of whom also treated me as family – be comforted by Hashem, and may we know no more illness or death.