ABOUT MY LITTLE BROTHER
Maury was my little brother. The youngest of four. He was always full of vim and vigor growing up. Adorable, with curly eyelashes and dimples. He grew to be a big man with a big personality.
When young, he and Dad always hit grounders and played catch with Mike (our other brother) and the kids in the neighborhood. Dad would take us all to Dodger games which started his love for the game. Both brothers became professional baseball players. After injuries cut Maury’s career short, he returned to Beverly Hills, and very soon after, everything changed.
One day while I was working in Vancouver, he phoned me and said, “Laz (he called me Laz), helicopters are flying over my duplex, and the nazis are coming”. It was the 80s. He was in his early 20s. I thought he was on drugs. It turns out he was having a break from reality. Doctors called it a psychotic break. It was a crisis. The first of many episodes and so confusing and scary for us all. Despite his paranoia and delusions, he managed to function.
The combination of psychotherapy and medication made a big difference, but then it started to get worse again. On the advice of his therapist, Maury started painting…and he never stopped.
He suffered a lot in the last few years. But no matter how weak he was, how much pain he had, or how alone he was, he always wanted to get back to the canvas.
When we went to his house, we were overwhelmed and surprised by the amount of paintings. Every room was stacked full of paintings - we could hardly move around all the canvases.
What struck us most of all was the vibrancy, the joy, the love, the humor, the silliness and whimsy in the paintings. He transferred his inner darkness into vivid, life-affirming colors with passion and energy. And then we found the storage unit and the journals. Thousands of pages. Journals where he wrote letters to Dad, thanking him for his inspiration. We found poems, dark and painful stories of his suffering.
Going through the work, curating, organizing, and categorizing has been very sad and very joyful. It has been incredibly healing during the grieving. We wanted to do for him what he couldn’t do for himself. We want to let the world see the creative power and beauty that was in Maury’s soul.
We read in the journals that he dreamed that one-day people would see his paintings and even buy them.
I wish Maury were here, but he died of a heart attack on July 31, 2018. He was 58.