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    When Will the Children Visit? Not Until There’s a Vaccine

    It’s been more than a year since they were all together — and there’s no sign of a reunion anytime soon. Every Father’s Day weekend in early June, the four adult Zwick children travel from New York and Chicago to Las Vegas to visit their father, Mort, 82, and stepmother, Marla, 65, bringing with them grandchildren ranging in age from 7 to 20 years old. The annual ritual for the Zwick siblings — David, Tracy, Ashley and Zel — was postponed this year until August. And then, as the virus continued to rage, it was canceled.

    Marla They all have busy, active lives. We recognize that they do have their lives, and we fit into them when we can. June is something everyone looks forward to.

    Mort This Father’s Day, nobody came out. And I’ll tell you something else — Marla’s mother passed away in May, and we were unable to even go to Chicago for the funeral.

    Marla That has created some problems for me and Mort and my family because we didn’t have family closure. Mort was extremely close to my mother. We are convinced in my family that Mort was the favorite child with my mom. Our last contact with any family was around the end of February, beginning of March.

    Mort I happen to like my family. But I’m not insane enough to risk death. The coronavirus is unfortunately dictating our schedule. You recognize what is possible and what is not possible.

    Marla We tell them, ‘Well, maybe you’ll drive out here.’ But the truth is, as much as we’d love to see them, they have too much contact with too many people.

    Mort I don’t do FaceTime.

    Marla We sent presents. Live worms, a dual punching bag. That corn-toss game, puzzles of the United States. A clock.

    Mort I’m not going to rend my garments and cover up the mirrors because I can’t see my children. I’m lucky to be in sufficiently good health. Every time I miss them, I think of how lousy they were at one stage of their growing up.

    Marla I worry that the young ones are too young to have formed memories of him. And the ones in college — who knows how much longer they’ll want to come along on these visits?

    Mort My grandchildren are in very good hands.

    Marla We’re lucky, we have each other. But it feels like we’ve given up a tremendous amount during this time.

    Mort The younger ones are just at the point where I can get along with them. I really don’t get along with children until they grasp two concepts, fear and bribery.

    Marla He might come off as ‘it is what it is,’ but would he love to see them? Nothing would make him happier. Tracy said, ‘When am I going to see you?’ I said, ‘When there’s a vaccine.’

    Marla And when will that be? I don’t know. I don’t know, and there are days I handle it much better than others.


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