A tribute to the citizens of Houlton

13 years ago

To the editor:
Everyone in Houlton knew Malcolm Berman, and he lived a long life and loved Houlton. However, few knew his nephew, the son of Elliott Berman, Malcolm’s younger brother, Mark Berman, who now has proudly been to Houlton three times, and just last week to help assist in burying his uncle, along with the assistance of Malcolm’s loyal and dear Elk brothers.
    What I found in Houlton was truly remarkable. From the members of the Elk Lodge to each and every citizen of Houlton who Malcolm touched, the compassion and love shown for Malcolm has been incredible. There are too many names to mention, but, as I have walked through the town for five days, and spoken to you, you will know to whom I am referring.    People in New York, where I practice law, asked me how I would deal with taking care of Malcolm’s affairs, and I told them that everyone in Houlton would be understanding and compassionate. That was an understatement.
Most of my interaction this past week has been with the Elks, and it is difficult for this New Yorker to come to terms that people truly do live by such Elk principals as Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity. As I was going through Malcolm’s apartment, Elk brothers came by to give me support; I ate daily at the Courtyard Café, and Joyce and others who sat with me at the bar spoke the kindest words of Malcolm; everyone in town who I talked to about Malcolm was awed with his intellect, enjoyed conversation with him, and respected his situation; and then the Elks put together a heartfelt tribute in Malcolm’s honor, where people stood up and spoke of their fond memories of Malcolm. He truly was loved and he loved Houlton in return. I have come to realize that Houlton was Malcolm’s “family.”
The citizens of Houlton are wonderful. You are good people, good citizens, and good Americans. You all should be proud, and this country would be a better place if its citizens were more like you. You did not let Malcolm falter and, when his nephew came to town, you bent over backwards to help him and showed him compassion and provided him with comfort. You respected Malcolm, while alive, and you are continuing to do so with your kind deeds and words.
To all of you who may want to jot down your remembrances of Malcolm or my father Elliott, who passed away when I was a young boy, my family would appreciate that, and they can be e-mailed to me at mberman@gmail.com. Contributions in Malcolm’s honor can be made to the Cary Library, where he spent many hours reading.

Mark Berman
New York, N.Y.