I was the first-born in my family in 1936. By 1938 the family had moved to Princeton and my Dad began his studies for a Th.D. (doctorate in theology) at the Princeton Theological Seminary. The family rented an upstairs apartment in a house on Nassau Street not far from the home of Albert Einstein. My mother used to put me in a playpen near the sidewalk and goes upstairs where she could keep an eye (and ear) on me. Einstein would walk by on occasion. Before doing anything he would check that there were no observers. If nobody was around, he would approach me, pat me on my head, and say something in German.
When walking home from grade school with my classmates we would often see Einstein walking, but we never disturbed him.
Einstein came to my father’s graduation. He was driven there by my mother. I rode in the back seat. Einstein said in his Germanic tone, “My, what a beautiful car.”
The story has an unhappy ending. In the spring of 1955 I was a freshman engineering student at Princeton University. Although I had passed the fall semester’s work, I failed all but one of my spring semester classes. Einstein died in Princeton in the spring of 1955. Our Princeton careers ended at the same time.