Jacob and the Angel at the Break of Dawn by Artist Sam Maitin
The brilliant sun on this beautiful winter afternoon in Philadelphia makes me think of my dear friend, Samuel C. Maitin. Sam was a good, kind-hearted person. He was a highly-acclaimed artist, printmaker, sculptor and a mensch. Sam Maitin passed away at the age of 76 in 2004 here in Philadelphia.
I met Sam either in 1979 or 1980 when my life was upside down. I was an illegal immigrant with no money, no career, and no idea on how to get out of my immigration dilemma. If I couldn’t get a job, I would not be able to get a “green card.” But if I didn’t have a green card, how could I get a job? It took me 5 years, 3 immigration lawyers and $20,000 of borrowed money to cover the legal fees.
Sam was introduced to me by a mutual friend. Knowing my dilemma, Sam took me to a restaurant in Center City. He volunteered to speak with me and give me succor. I had nothing to offer him. Yet he was generous with his time and eager to help distract my beleaguered soul. I remember the sun that came in through the window of the restaurant as I was listening to Sam’s voice. I recall seeing the blue sky outside. It was just like a day today.
Sam spent the whole afternoon with me. To me, that was Grace and Sam was the messenger.
When we moved into our house in 1985, Sam gave us one of his prints titled “Jacob and the Angel at the Break of Dawn” (see the photo above.) It occupies a place of honor in our dining room. It faces the atrium window that lets the sun in from the third floor. You can see the moon at night sitting in the dining room where Sam's print is placed.
I hope to repay Sam's grace by helping someone in need.
[Article first published on my profile on LinkedIn on December 13, 2017.]
James Chan, Ph.D., Consultant Asia Marketing and Management (AMM) 2014 Naudain Street