SETH AMOS ZYSMAN Basics
"There's no place in this world where I'll belong when I'm gone.
And I won't know the right from the wrong when I'm gone.
And you won't find me singin' on this song when I'm gone.
So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here."
Name: Seth Amos Zysman
Birthday: August 8, 1940
Ethnicity/Race: Ashkenazi Jewish/White
Profession: Retired OGBYN
Primary Gift: Super-Enhanced Perception
Secondary Gift: Telepathy
Hometown: Bergen County, New Jersey/Chicago, Illinois
Forum Group: CitizenPhysical Appearance
Play By: Dustin Hoffman
Height: 5’ 9”
Weight: ~155 lbs
General Appearance: Seth is the quintessential grandfather. He stands at average height, albeit on the shorter rather than taller side of average, but woe is anyone who underestimates his height during assessments. Those inches count
. As a middle-aged man, he wore his dark brown hair in a conservative haircut, but over the past couple of decades, the color has changed from dark brown to salt and pepper to grey to white, and, his hair has grown longer in his old-age. As it is, he counts himself lucky that he hasn’t gone bald. His face, hands, and body show the wrinkles and spots of someone in his eighth decade of life, but his skin is healthy; likewise, his weight is heathy for a man of his age, which he attributes to clean living and also not eating at the deli more than once a week. Noticeably, he doesn’t wear glasses, not even reading glasses; his vision remains perfect.
Although he wore a suit and tie to work when he wasn’t in the delivery room or the surgery theater, and scrubs and a lab coat when at the hospital, in his retirement he has dispensed with formal dress. He far prefers button-down or Polo shirts and khakis. He prefers color to the dark black, blue, and brown shades that dominated his wardrobe for his entire working adulthood, and he doesn’t care if someone says a Hawaiian shirt or the color purple doesn’t look good on him. He likes them, and his husband hasn’t turned him away yet. Personality:
Strengths & Likes:
-Volunteering and Community Service
-Books, books, and more books
-Deli food (although he limits his intake)
-Walks through the Park
Weaknesses & Dislikes: List at least 5!
-People who don’t bathe regularly
-Very spicy foods
-Bigotry more generally
-The Rise of Alternative Medicine
-Hipsters...everything about hipsters
-The Mommy Wars
-He has never been athletic
-Introversion that can make him shy around new people
-He can’t discuss certain topics without getting frustrated, even when he should be able to
Hobbies and Skills:
-Plays the guitar
-Speaks Hebrew and Yiddish
-Possesses roughly fifty years of medical knowledge
-Super-Enhanced Perception and Telepathy
Overall Personality: In many ways, Seth is a typical grandfather. With his family, he is playful and affectionate, quick to offer hugs, stories, and food, not necessarily in that order. Whenever visiting with his grandchildren and daughter, he finds candy for the grandchildren, and he was raised to always bring dessert wherever he goes. His patience makes him a great listener, and his powers and life experience make him ideal for interacting with people – particularly children – on their own level. Likewise, with friends and neighbors, he is quick to whip out pictures of his daughter or the grandchildren, or to talk about whatever is going on in their lives; he bursts with pride whenever Rachel’s name is mentioned, even if the question was for the sake of politeness.
In other ways, he and Willard appear an unlikely match due to their personality differences. The good doctor is as introverted as his husband is extraverted, and when they find themselves surrounded by new people, Seth remains polite but often lets Willard talk for them both until he gets a better read on the new people. Willard was athletic and enjoys sports, while Seth prefers to spend his time reading or engaged in other low-key activities with the exception of community dances. It isn’t uncommon for them to settle in for Friday Night Football with Willard watching the game and Seth reading a book. He always has three in progress at any point in time, in addition to puzzles and magazine articles or newspapers.
He prides himself on keeping a level head, a skill he needed during his medical career; a routine labor could go awry within seconds, and impulsiveness or an inability to focus would lead to tragedy. However, he isn’t inhuman, and there are ways to fluster him or otherwise get under his skin. Insulting his intelligence or confronting him with blatant bigotry are two of the quickest ways, although some subtle ways exist as well; certain topics don’t make sense to people outside of his particular experience, and he can’t always articulate himself on those issues. He dislikes when people argue with him in bad faith, and he has walked out of conversations or arguments before when they hit too close, or when he can feel his blood pressure begin to rise.
Seth has always been a helper and family-oriented. He will give his shirt off his back to someone in need, and both volunteerism and monetary donations are important to him. He thinks that ignorance and selfishness are humanity’s two greatest sins, as he believes that hatred and bigotry stem from. He believes that people can do great for one another, and when they don’t, it is more often a choice, and he finds that sad at best and frustrating at worst. Closer to home, he can’t think of anything he wouldn’t do for his family. Background
Family & Important People:
-Willard Earl Anscombe - Husband
-Rachel Judith Zysman – Daughter
-Son-in-Law and grandchildren
-Abraham Zysman - Older Brother
-Miriam Kaminsky (nee Zysman) – Older Sister
-Ruth Silverman (nee Zysman) – Older Sister
-Assorted nieces and nephews/grand-nieces and grand-nephews
Seth was born the youngest of four children to Hiram and Estelle Zysman in 1940, less than a year after Hitler invaded Poland. Growing up in a working-class Jewish family during the war period filled his earliest years with a sense of deprivation, even though he was too young to absorb fully the situation around him or its implications. Despite victory abroad, anti-Semitism remained at home long after the war ended.
His parents emphasized the importance of a good education, and Seth, like all of his siblings, applied himself to his studies. He was teased for this, and people made comments about stereotypes, but he didn’t care. He would rather that people think him somehow supernaturally intelligent than wicked or somehow less than human. He earned excellent grades, and his parents told him that this was what mattered.
Still, one incident that haunted him for years was when one of his classmates told him that it was his fault that his father had died, since the boy’s father had died in the war, “saving Jews.” His classmate looked him in the eye and told him it wasn’t worth it.
After that, he gravitated to the boys from shul and the children from families who were friends with his parents.
Upon graduating from college, Seth attended the relatively new Brandeis University in Massachusetts. Although the culture of Waltham and Boston differed from New Jersey, and it was very
Catholic, Seth found friends. He was always careful, because he couldn’t risk arrest or expulsion when running afoul of the “moral” sensibilities, and, as with junior high and high school, he threw himself into his studies while also engaging in social and political life. He joined the Campus Democrats, volunteered at a local soup kitchen and at a low-income clinic, and he decided he was going to become a doctor.
His four years at college were liberating in ways he couldn’t share with his family back home. He graduated with honors and felt more comfortable with himself by the time he entered medical school.
The next stage of his education brought him to the Feinberg School in Chicago, Illinois. Secretly, he was glad to be in Chicago rather than anywhere else since, nearly nine months earlier, Illinois had become the first state in the nation to strike down their sodomy laws.
For better or for worse, his first year of medical school left him with little time and energy to do anything beyond class, studying, and shadowing.
By the summer, he could breathe, although he was expected to work at the hospital for his rent and to further his studies. Yet, with more time on his hands, he began going to the men’s bars in Old Town. He had to be careful not to give out too much personal information, since homosexuality was still considered a mental illness, but, at least it wasn’t illegal, which meant he had no fear of arrest. It was here he met Willard Anscombe. Throughout that summer, Seth’s brightest moments involved meeting the other young man for drinks and conversation.
When his second year of medical school began, he had less time for the bar, but that was fine; they began meeting in Willard’s apartment. As the months passed, Seth felt himself falling in love, and sometimes he would find himself simply staring at the other man across the table in his tiny kitchen, wondering if this was what their lives would be like. He found himself wanting that more than words could convey.
He found himself fruitlessly trying to express that on more than one occasion.
His second half of medical school brought him through all of the specialty rotations, and he quickly took a liking to Obstetrics. When he took his exit boards, he was offered, and accepted, a residency program in the labor and delivery ward at a local hospital.
After graduating, he moved from the medical school residence buildings into Willard’s apartment.
Although his school portion had ended, he still had a lengthy and exhausting residency to complete, and the long hours of his shift at the hospital and then at the office cut into his recreation. Fortunately, Willard was patient with him, and living together allowed them to share time that they otherwise might have missed with their conflicting schedules had they lived apart and on opposite sides of the city.
During this time, Willard earned a good wage and benefits through his union, for which Seth was grateful. Although he earned a stipend and salary from his residency program, it was woefully inadequate given the hours he worked; the other man kept them afloat, while Seth worked towards completing his program. Eventually, this would pay off, and not merely because he would get to work with babies and pregnant women for the rest of his career (although this remained an upside).
In the summer of 1970, he completed his residency program and could finally practice unrestricted. He was offered a position at the teaching hospital affiliated with his alma mater; they had a large, well-respected maternity unit, and the young doctor couldn’t be happier.
Life settled into a comfortable, domestic pace. Seth did his shifts at the hospital, Willard did his work with the repair union, and they spent time with each other after work and on weekends: concerts, protests, dance halls, running errands, or simply watching news broadcasts or scripted television together on the sofa. Likewise, the doctor engaged heavily with the community at large. While he had fallen into indecision about whether he believed in God
years ago, he valued the traditions and rituals, the emphasis on community and education, which came from his culture, and so he attended holidays and events at the local Reform Synagogue and volunteered frequently. He built up a reputation among his neighbors, peers, patients, and the community at large as a patient, caring man and a dedicated doctor.
This reputation did more for him and Willard than Seth ever dreamed possible.
A younger woman from his Synagogue approached him one day at his office. She explained that she was pregnant, that she didn’t know who the father was, that she didn’t want to have children, and that she had no close family, either in Chicago or back in her hometown. She had volunteered with him many times, she had spoken to several of the other women in the Temple, and she wanted to know if he had ever thought about having children.
After discussing the matter with his lover, Seth contacted her; they were going to have a baby!
The three of them concocted a plan regarding paternity and legal standing. The birth mother listed Seth as the father on the birth certificate, giving him legal standing and the irrefutable presumption of biological paternity. Then she seveered her parental rights, granting him sole legal and physical custody, rights, and responsibilities.
They named the baby Rachel to honor Willard’s deceased brother, and she was the most beautiful baby that Seth had ever seen, even with his decade of practice and his assorted nieces and nephews.
Around this time, he began hearing things. At first, he had thought it was merely his elation at having a child coupled with the exhaustion of having a newborn
in their home, but soon enough, he realized this wasn’t the case. He was hearing thoughts
He was a mutant.
Seth had met mutants before, but from what he’d come t to understand, mutants developed their powers in puberty or childhood. How could he develop in his thirties
Then he thought about how he could tell when the milk was about to spoil before it did. He thought about how the neighbors arguing or making up always woke him. He knew it was a bit unusual, but he had never had reason to believe it was mutation
However, hearing other people’s thoughts moved from “subtle” to “impossible to ignore.” The upside was that he was on family leave, Rachel slept for most of the day, and they lived near a branch of the library. He took that time to read as much as he could, before he explained the situation to Willard.
As with every other aspect of their relationship, his lover took it in stride, and Seth felt himself fall in love all over again.
Still, now he was a triple minority: Jewish, gay, and a mutant.
He and Willard found the perfect house in the Lakeview East neighborhood of Chicago, which had many families with children and excellent schools.
The 1980s brought the devastation of the AIDS Crisis. Panic and ignorance ruled assorted communities, and, one-by-one, many of their friends and former neighbors grew sick and passed away. He remained closeted at work, because too many people would object to a gay doctor, particularly a gay doctor working with women and newborn babies.
When Rachel was in elementary school, Seth came out to his family, including his elderly parents. Whether it was because they knew already, or because he was the baby of the family, or because they adored Rachel and Willard, or simply due to good, old-fashioned liberal values, none of the Zysmans rejected him, or, by extension, his nuclear family. Still, he didn’t mention his mutant status.
By the time Rachel was in middle school, Willard was able to adopt her as her second parent. They celebrated with a trip to Disney World.
Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage, beginning in May 2004. Willard retired, and the two men chose to get married. After the wedding, they took a honeymoon to Italy to go on wine tours and sightsee.
Over the next twelve years, he and Willard enjoyed an idyllic marriage, and Seth continued to see patients, playing the role of the elder statements in his practice and at the hospital. However, over the past year or so, the rise of right-wing extremist rhetoric caused Willard and him to reassess their lives. Afraid of what was to come, they decided to emigrate, and Canada was the logical choice. Because Rachel’s family lived on the West Coast, they opted for Vancouver, which would make visiting easier for the entire family.
It seemed as good a time as any for Seth to retire. The two men bought a house, moved, and settled in with legal status, although without forfeiting their American citizenship. Although it has been an adjustment, Seth likes their neighborhood for the most part, although the existence of a hate group in their back yard makes him nervous. OOC Information
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