Gerson Blumenfeld II’s Descendants in America: Meta Blumenfeld Simon And Her Family

As I wrote about here, three of the children of Gerson Blumenfeld II safely made it out of Germany and to the US with their spouses and children by 1940. This post will discuss Meta Blumenfeld Simon and her family.

Meta Blumenfeld Simon and her husband Albert and their three children were living in New York City in 1940, as we saw, and Albert and their two sons Kurt and Josef were working as butchers. Kurt listed Hebrew National, the kosher meat producer, as his employer on his October 29, 1940, World War II draft registration. His residential addresses are crossed out several times so it’s hard to know where he was living, but his father Albert was living in New York City at that time.

Kurt Simon, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Kurt’s brother Josef Simon registered for the draft on October 31, 1940, and was living in Hartford, Connecticut at that time. He enlisted in the US Army on January 20, 1942, and served until July 2, 1945.1


Joseph Simon World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

The first of Meta and Albert’s children to marry was their youngest, their daughter Grete. She married Edward Erwin Spanier on July 6, 1943, in Middletown, New York. Edward, the son of Adolf Spanier and Amalie Marx, was born on November 29, 1910, in Enger, Germany. He had immigrated to the US on September 24, 1938.2 When he registered for the draft on October 16, 1940, he was residing in Hartford, Connecticut.3 In 1945 Grete and Edward were living in Hartford, and Edward was working as a salesman.4

In 1950, they were still living in Hartford, now with Grete’s parents Meta and Albert. Edward was the manager of a retail dry goods store. Albert reported no occupation; he was seventy and probably retired. Grete and Edward would have two children.

Simon and Spanier household, 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut; Roll: 669; Sheet Number: 9; Enumeration District: 10-86 1950 United States Federal Census

On December 23, 1944, Meta and Albert’s son Kurt took out a marriage license in Brooklyn, New York, to marry Ida Geld. I cannot locate an actual marriage record, but presumably Kurt and Ida were married soon thereafter. Ida was the daughter of Samuel Geld and Rosa Richman and was born in Vienna, Austria, on November 2, 1923.5 In 1950, Ida and Kurt were living in Wayawanda in Orange County, New York, where Kurt was a farmer. Kurt and Ida had three children.

Kurt Simon 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: Wawayanda, Orange, New York; Roll: 6054; Sheet Number: 19; Enumeration District: 36-199
Enumeration District: 36-199; Description: Wawayanda town, 1950 United States Federal Census

Josef, now spelling his name Joseph, took out a license to marry Ilse Meier on September 19, 1945, in New York, New York, and presumably married her sometime soon thereafter.6 Ilsa was born in Germany on March 9, 1924, to Ludwig Meier and Julia Rosenbusch.7 In 1950 Joseph and Ilse were living in New York City where Joseph was now the owner of a retail butcher shop. They had two children born in the 1940s.

Joseph Simon 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 4547; Sheet Number: 9; Enumeration District: 31-1732, 1950 United States Federal Census

Kurt Simon’s life was cut short on June 28, 1969; he was only 54 years old when he died in Middletown, New York, where he lived. He was survived by his wife Ida and his three children as well as his parents and his siblings Joseph and Grete.8 His father did not survive him by too long; Albert Simon died on September 22, 1970, in Hartford, Connecticut. He was ninety years old.9

Meta Blumenfeld Simon outlived her husband by thirteen years. She was 99 years old when she died in Hartford on October 21, 1983.10 She was survived by her other two children, Joseph, who died in Tamarac, Florida, on October 31, 2001, at 85,11 and Grete, who had a long life like both her parents. Grete was 93 when she died on February 28, 2013, in Hartford, Connecticut.12 Meta and Albert are also survived by their grandchildren and other descendants.


  1. Joseph Simon, WWII Army Enlistment Records, The National Archives, Publisher date 1939-1945, United States of America, found at*he93sx*_ga*MTkxNjYyODAyMS4xNjM2NjM5MDk1*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY2OTY0ODU1Ny40NjAuMS4xNjY5NjQ4ODg4LjM4LjAuMA..&_ga=2.40570274.144956320.1669498294-1916628021.1636639095 
  2. Edward Erwin Spanier, Petition for Naturalization, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records For Naturalization, 10/1911-9/1991; NAI Number: 615479; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: Rg 21, Vol 173-175, Petition No 40240,  17 April 1944, Connecticut, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1790-1996. Edward’s parents names were derived from obituaries of his mother Amalia and brothers Werner and Albert. 
  3. Erwin Edward Spanier, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Connecticut, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 392, U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  4.  Hartford, Connecticut, City Directory, 1945, U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  5. Kurt Simon, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 23 Dec 1944, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Ida Geld License Number: 18137, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. Ida Geld [Ida Simon] [Ida Shaff] Gender: Female Race: White Birth Date: 2 Nov 1923 Birth Place: Vienna, Austria Death Date: 16 Apr 2000 Father: Samuel Geld Mother: Rosa Richman SSN: 088121203, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 
  6. Joseph Simon, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 19 Sep 1945, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Ilse Meier, License Number: 24430, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 35, New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  7. Ilse Meier, [llse Meier Simon] [Ilse Simon] Gender: Female Race: White Birth Date: 9 Mar 1924, Birth Place: Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 20 Jul 2006, Father: Ludwig Meier, Mother: Julia Rosenbusch, SSN: 084184274, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  8. Kurt Simon, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 10 Nov 1914, Death Date: Jun 1969, Claim Date: 17 Jul 1969, SSN: 131102677, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007; “Kurt Simon,” Hartford Courant, June 29, 1969, p. 5. 
  9. Albert Simon, Social Security Number: 069-12-9618, Birth Date: 17 Nov 1879
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 06112, Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death Date: Sep 1970, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014; Albert Simon, Gender: Male, Race: White
    Marital Status: Married, Birth Date: abt 1880, Residence: Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut, Death Date: 22 Sep 1970, Death Place: West Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut, Age: 90 Years, Spouse: Meta, State File #: 19060, Connecticut Department of Health. Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2012 
  10. Meta Simon, Race: White, Occupation: HOUSEWIFE, Industry: AT HOME, Marital Status: Widowed, Birth Date: 30 Aug 1884, Birth Place: Non-Western Hemisphere, Address: 68 PARSONS, West Hartford, Connecticut, Death Date: 21 Oct 1983, Death Place: Hartford, Connecticut, Age: 99 Years, Spouse: Alber, Father’s Surname: Blumenthal [sic]. State File #: 20862, Connecticut Department of Health. Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2012 
  11. Josef Simon, [Joe Simon], Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 26 Oct 1916
    Birth Place: Hermanuskin, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 30 Oct 2001
    Father: Albert Simon, Mother: Meta Blumenfeld, SSN: 116034007, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  12.  Grete Spanier, Social Security Number: 072-12-8420, Birth Date: 23 Dec 1919
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Death Date: 28 Feb 2013, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

A Photo Essay of the Family of Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher

Another cousin who found my blog during these pandemic days is my fifth cousin, once removed, Carrie Schwabacher. She is the granddaughter of Gerhard Schwabacher, the great-granddaughter of Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher, great-great-granddaughter of Kiele Stern Loewenthal, three times great granddaughter of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern, and four-times great-granddaughter of Meyer Goldschmidt.

Carrie kindly shared with me these wonderful photographs as well as some heartwarming stories about her family. They start with her great-great-grandmother, Kiele (Caroline) Stern Loewenthal, the daughter of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern, wife of Abraham Loewenthal. I wrote about Kiele here and here.

Kiele Stern Loewenthal.
Courtesy of her family

Here is a lovely photograph of Kiele and Abraham Loewenthal’s daughter, Selma, as a young woman; I see a strong resemblance to her mother.

Selma Loewenthal
Courtesy of her family

Selma married Nathan Schwabacher:

Nathan Schwabacher Courtesy of the Schwabacher family

And they had three children. Their daughter Alice was the oldest:

Alice Schwabacher Courtesy of the Schwabacher family

Alice was followed by Julius Alfred Schwabacher:

Julius Alfred Schwabacher Courtesy of the Schwabacher family

Gerhard Schwabacher, Carrie’s grandfather, was Selma and Nathan’s youngest child:

Gerhard Schwabacher
Courtesy of the family

The two sons look remarkably similar to each other and to their father Nathan.

Alice Schwabacher married David Weinstein (later Wenten) and had one child, Wolfgang, depicted here as a young boy with his dog:

Wolfgang Weinstein and dog

Julius Schwabacher married Margaret Wuertenberg and had one child, Eva Lore, the adorable little girl shown here:

Eva Lore Schwabacher
Courtesy of the family

This photograph of Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher and her brother Julius Loewenthal is undated, but must have been taken before 1936 when Julius left for the United States. Selma died in 1937 in Berlin.

Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher and brother Julius Loewenthal
Courtesy of the family

Here is a closer one of Selma, probably taken around the same time:

The remaining photographs that Carrie shared with me appear to have been taken after the family immigrated to the United States. Their full story has been told here, so I won’t tell it again, but will share these photographs of the Schwabacher family in their new country and some of Carrie’s memories of her extended family.

She has wonderful memories of her grandparents, as she shared with me: “I have such great memories of my grand parents even though they died when I was 7. Christmas was a very special time – like a scene from the Nutcracker. As children, we celebrated Hanukkah, Christmas and Epiphany ( my mom’s side of the family is Russian Orthodox). We got presents for months, or it seemed like it.” She also wrote that her Opa, Gerhard Schwabacher, always gave each of his grandchildren a quarter every time he saw them.

Other holidays were spent with her great-uncle Julius Schwabacher, who became Fred Wenten in the US, and his wife Else in Proctor, Vermont: Fred and Elsa owned an Inn in Proctor Vt. The entire family spent a few holidays there as well. The toasts would go on for so long that someone would finally say “let the children eat their fruit cocktails before they fall asleep”. And then, dinner would start.”

Here’s a photograph of Fred Wenten in the US:

Fred Wenten (born Julius Alfred Schwabacher)
Courtesy of the family

Fred’s daughter Eva Lore was also a favorite of Carrie. Eva Lore married Henry Corton in 1951. Carrie wrote this about them:

“Henry was a fabulous dancer and would sometimes break into buck and wing ( tap dancing) in the kitchen even when he was old. We visited then often when they lived in Jamaica, Queens. We always went out for walks. We met Bella Abzug at the Cloisters in NY. He was very fond of Pavorotti and considered him a “distant cousin“. It got him back stage at the Met many times. Eva and Henri took us to Ringling Bro’s. And Barnum & Bailey Circus and the Ice Capades when we were little. We visited Eva Lore in LaGuna Hills, helped her pack and move to Baltimore, and took her to her first McDonalds meal. The “Apple Strudel “ was her favorite. Apple Pie. Even at 79, she was booking her own travel on her computer. They never had children, but spoiled us.”

Here are some of the photographs of Eva Lore and Henry that Carrie shared with me:

Eva Lore Schwabacher and Henry Corton Courtesy of the family

Eva Lore Schwabacher Corton Courtesy of the family

Eva Lore Schwabacher Corton Courtesy of the family

Eva Lore and Henry Corton Courtesy of the family

Carrie also has warm memories of her great-aunt Alice Schwabacher Weinstein (Wenten in the US):

“We went to visit Tanta Alice for the holidays every year in Washington Heights, NY. I always wanted to take a nap, because I loved the big square Feather pillows on the bed. She always had such great treats for us, German delicacies. She was extremely socially active. Wolf would remark that he had to make an appointment just to visit his mother. We had her 90 th birthday party at window on the worlds – top of the World Trade Center. It was incredible to meet so many people originally named Schwabacher.”

This photograph shows Alice with her son Wolfgang and his wife Ruth.

Alice Schwabacher Wenten Kingsley, Wolfgang Wenten, Ruth Pollinger Wenten
Courtesy of the family

Finally, this is a photograph of the three Schwabacher siblings and their spouses taken in the US:

Arthur Kingsley, Alice Schwabacher Kingsley, Julius (Fred Wenten) Schwabacher, Else Wenten, Alice Ferron Schwabacher, Gerhard Schwabacher
Courtesy of the family

I am extremely grateful to my cousin Carrie for sharing her memories and these photographs. She really has brought to life this strong and loving family who escaped from Germany and started a wonderful new life in the United States.

My Grandfather’s Notebook: More than Names, Dates, and Addresses

Notebook cover

Among the other treasures that turned up in the shoebox of “old papers” that had belonged to my Aunt Elaine was a Martinson Coffee pocket calendar for the year 1930.  My aunt would have been twelve going on thirteen, my Uncle Maurice ten going on eleven, and my mother not yet born when 1930 began. Here’s a photograph of my grandmother and her three children taken in 1931 when that pocket calendar was still relatively new:


Goldschlagers 1931

Goldschlagers 1931

This calendar, however, had to be around for many years as a place where members of the family scribbled notes of all kinds because even my mother eventually made contributions to it. In fact, the most recent entries seem to have been made by my grandmother in 1965 long after my grandfather had died and all her children had married.

Grandpa notebook 1964 notes by Grandma

I don’t know for sure what “Johen” meant, but I wonder if my grandmother was referring to my father, whose name is John Cohen.

It amazes me that my grandparents kept this little book for so long, and I wonder why it became the repository of so many family notes. I can’t imagine how it stayed around and was used by so many members of the family beginning in 1930 up to 1965.  Today that notebook probably would not have lasted a year (well, it wouldn’t exist since we’d use our smartphones and computer calendars instead.)

For example, my grandparents used it not only as a calendar but as an address book.  I already posted two of the pages of addresses in an earlier post:

Grandpa Notebook page 1 addresses Joe Goldfarb Grandpa notebook 13 more addresses Joe Goldfarb

Here are a few more:

Grandpa Notebook 4 more addresses Ressler

Leo Ressler was my mother’s first cousin, son of Tillie Brotman Ressler, my grandmother’s sister.  His wife was Mildred Phillips, and the notebook page records both their wedding anniversary and Mildred’s birthday.  Unfortunately there is no year given for the marriage, but Mildred was still single and living with her mother and stepfather in New Haven, Connecticut, on the 1930 census.  She and Leo lived in Hartford during the late 1930s, and so this entry of an address for Bridgeport must have been long after the 1930 date on this calendar. (They were living in Bridgeport as of the 1940 US census.)  Leo and Mildred owned a dress shop in Connecticut for many years before retiring to Florida.  My mother recalls that Mildred was considered high class by my grandparents and that my aunt was invited to come visit them so she could learn some of Mildred’s sophisticated ways.

Leo Ressler

Leo Ressler

(I don’t know who Francis Coen would be— another name to research.)

The next two pages had three addresses for my mother’s uncle, Sam Brotman—my grandmother’s brother.  Apparently he moved around a bit, given all the crossed out addresses the notebook includes for him. (There are two more on the first page, above.) I don’t know very much about Uncle Sam except that he was a cab driver and lived alone all his adult life. Yet all these addresses include a “in care of” reference so perhaps he was living with someone named Weinstein for some period of time and someone named Enzer at other times.

Grandpa Notebook 5 more addresses

Sam Brotman

Sam Brotman

Joe Brotman, the other name on this page, was another of my mother’s first cousins, the son of Hyman Brotman, my grandmother’s brother. I have six different Joseph Brotmans in my family tree, including my great-grandfather, but Hyman’s son is the only one who lived in Queens, where he was living when this address was recorded.

Hyman (second from left) and Joe (far right) and two unknown men

Hyman (second from left) and Joe (far right) and two unknown men

My grandfather also used the calendar to record birthdays for family members.  There are notes on the dates for his birthday as well as that of my grandmother, my aunt, and my mother.  (The pages for June were torn out, so there is none for my uncle.) My mother was born during 1930, and on the appropriate date my grandfather simply wrote, “My daughter’s birthday, Florence, born—-.”

One of my favorite pages (although very hard to read) is the one where my grandfather apparently listed all his favorite pieces of music.  I know that music was one of his passions, one of the few things he remembered fondly about his childhood in Iasi, Romania:

Grandpa notebook music

I can’t make out the names of most of the pieces, but he has works by Beethoven (whose name he wrote with such a flourish on the opposite page), Brahms, Bizet, and Grieg as well as several others.

He also used the notebook as an account book, and there are many pages where he records his paychecks, his Social Security benefits, and Welfare Fund payments.  My grandfather was active in his union, and I assume that the Welfare Fund was administered by the union.  In addition, he kept a record of people they visited or who visited them and other events.

Grandpa notebook money and visits

The notebook also contains a number of notes my grandfather made about his health and various other matters.  For example, on these pages he not only recorded financial information; he interspersed notes about the times my uncle came home to visit during his military service in World War II  with notes about his own operations and hospitalizations.

Grandpa Notebook 6 notes about Maurice in service

Grandpa notebook page 7 more notes about Maurice and hospital

Again, all of these were obviously written long after 1930 and as late as 1951 when he had surgery for polyps.  He died just six years later on May 3, 1957.

But perhaps the most interesting and entertaining parts of the notebook are those contributed by my aunt, my uncle, and my mother.  There are many pages like this one with a list of names and then what looks like grades.  My mother believes that my aunt used the notebook to play school, listing her classmates and even her brother and herself as the students and then “grading” them in different subjects.

Grandpa Notebook 3 aunt elaine playing school

My aunt also liked to practice writing her name and doodling all over the pages (the top one might have been written by my mother or someone else; I am not sure):

GRandpa notebook Aunt Elaine names earlier

Grandpa notebook Aunt Elaine names 1

These pages were obviously written after my aunt was married as she used her married name (Lehrbaum) and included her husband, my Uncle Phil. The second page also includes my uncle’s wife, my Aunt Lynn, and they weren’t married until 1945, several years after Aunt Elaine had married.  I find it fascinating that even after she was married and out of the house, my aunt still somehow found this notebook a place to scribble.

I found the pages my uncle wrote in 1934 about his adventures shooting at chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits with his friend Blackie both amusing and disturbing.  First, the idea that my uncle was carrying around a real gun at age fifteen is rather horrifying.  Secondly, I always knew my uncle as an animal lover.  He always had a dog (a schnauzer named Schnopsie is the one I remember best), and later on he had several dogs and cats as well as various other animals.  How could he shoot harmless chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits? But when I asked my cousin Beth about this, she said he always liked to shoot, so she was not surprised.

Grandpa notebook 8 maurice hunting notes 1934 Grandpa notebook 9 more hunting Maurice 1934 Grandpa notebook 10 more hunting notes Grandpa notebook 11 hunting notes and final comment in 1939 Grandpa notebook 12 Maurice comment 1939

But it’s amusing also because I can imagine my uncle as a fifteen year old boy having a wild time with his friend Blackie and competing to see who would shoot the most animals that summer.  Below is a photo of my uncle, my aunt, and my mother as well as my grandmother about a year after the summer that my uncle was writing about his hunting adventures.

Goldschlagers 1935

Goldschlagers 1935

I found the note he wrote four and a half years later on February 24, 1939, when he was almost twenty years old particularly touching and revealing:

As I recall it now I have recorded on these last nine pages possibly one of the happiest phases of my life.  As I sit here and look back four and a half years it seems incredible that time could fly by so quickly on the wings of joy and sorrow, (yes, we’ve had our share of sorrows).

What were those sorrows? I don’t know what my uncle was referring to specifically or whether he only meant between 1934 and 1939, but in his lifetime, in 1924 his aunt Frieda had died after childbirth as had her baby; his aunt Tillie had lost her husband Aaron, and his grandmother Bessie had died in May 1934, shortly before he wrote about his hunting adventures.  I also imagine that those Depression years were challenging for my grandparents like they were for so many people.

My uncle also must have liked baseball because he kept a box score from a game in the notebook.  Being a baseball fan, I was determined to figure out not only what teams these were, but what game it was:

Grandpa notebook 15 box score

After studying the names on team listed on top I realized that it was the Detroit Tigers, probably around 1935.  As soon as I saw Greenberg, I knew it had to be Hank Greenberg and thus the Tigers.  After all, how many baseball players have there been named Greenberg?

English: 1934 Goudey baseball card of Henry &q...

English: 1934 Goudey baseball card of Henry “Hank” Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers #62. PD-not-renewed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The team at the bottom took some more digging because my uncle’s spelling was, shall we say creative? But the Deroch was a big clue—I assumed it was Leo Durocher, and once I looked up his career and saw that in 1935 he was playing on the St. Louis Cardinals with a catcher named Bill Delancey, an infielder named Collins and another named Frisch, I knew I had found the right team.

English: 1933 Goudey baseball card of Leo Duro...

English: 1933 Goudey baseball card of Leo Durocher of the Cincinnati Reds #147. PD-not-renewed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


But the National League Cardinals wouldn’t have been playing the American League Tigers in 1935 unless they were in the World Series (oh, for the days before endless post-season playoffs and in-season interleague play!).  So this couldn’t be 1935 because the Tigers played the Cubs in the 1935 World Series.  After a bit more research, I concluded that this was a game from the 1934 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers.

Since my uncle recorded the final score of the game he was following (presumably on the radio) as 10-4, it wasn’t hard to find out which game this was from the 1934 World Series: Game 4 on October 6, 1934, at Sportsmen’s Park in St. Louis.  Here is a link to the box score of that game as recorded by the Baseball-Reference website. The Tigers evened the series 2-2 by winning that game and then won Game 5 to go up 3-2 in the Series, but badly lost Games 6 and 7 to lose the Series.  I wonder which team my uncle, a boy from Brooklyn, was rooting for. Perhaps the one with the first Jewish player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Finally, there are a few short notes from my mother, the baby in the family.  Here she wrote about her big brother teasing her:

My brother is such a pest he calls me all sorts [?] of names for instance fatso, horse, baby and so many and I call him names to.”  I guess my uncle was always a tease—he certainly was as an adult also!

Grandpa notebook 14 Florence comment about Maurice


I wonder how much later she wrote the comment that follows: “When I look at this now I think it silly.  It is childish.”

When she was eleven, she wrote about a favorite teacher, Mrs. Alice Handelsman, who was “just like a mother” to her class, and her boyfriend Myron.  On his birthday in the calendar, she listed a favorite cousin, Sanford (or Sandy), Leo and Mildred Ressler’s son; my mother to this day talks about what a beautiful little boy he was and how kind he was to my grandmother.

Grandpa Notebook 2 Mom note about teacher

Grandpa notebook 16 Florence comment re Sandy Ressler


What a gift this little book from 1930 has turned out to be.  It gives me a snapshot into the childhood of my mother and her siblings and some insights into my grandfather as well.  He was obviously a very careful man when it came to money, recording so painstakingly his income and his expenses. These were the Depression years, and my grandfather worked as a driver for a milk company.   My grandparents were not poverty stricken, but they lived from paycheck to paycheck and for many years lived in a small apartment in Brooklyn and then a one bedroom apartment in Parkchester when my mother was a teenager and her siblings were married and out of the house. My grandfather worked the night shift for the milk company, and my mother would share the bed with my grandmother until my grandfather got home in the morning and she got up for school.  But my mother says she never thought of herself as poor because she always had food and clothing and a roof over her head.

We take so much for granted today with our cars and houses and televisions and computers and smartphones. We throw everything away and litter our landfills with our junk.  Our children and grandchildren have iPads and scooters and bikes and more toys and books than all the children in one tenement building in Brooklyn combined had back in the 1930s.  But my mother and her siblings had their imaginations and their friends and their teachers and their families.  And this one little notebook gives us a peak into how they entertained themselves and how they lived together as a family.  It, like my aunt’s baby book, is a real treasure.







How did they meet?

Among the photos that Robin sent me last week are these pictures of her parents, Maurice and Lynn Goldschlager, taken in 1949.

Maurice and Lynn Goldschlager Camp Milford 1949

Maurice and Lynn Goldschlager Camp Milford 1949

It was labeled Camp Milford in Connecticut.  I asked Robin if

she knew what Camp Milford was, and she said she thought it was one of those camps for adults that existed back in those days.  I looked it up and found this advertisement and these postcards.

Camp_Milford_ad_1948On the Lake, Camp Milford Kent, CT

Maurice and Lynn did not meet at this camp, but met in New Jersey where my uncle was stationed for some time during World War II.  As Robin tells the story, “The story goes that my dad heard the clicking of her heels walking down the hall and he said to a buddy (before he even laid eyes on my mom) that’s the girl I’m going to marry. And they did.”  They were married soon after on June 10, 1945, with my uncle still in uniform.

My parents, however,  did meet at one of those camps, as did my aunt Elaine and her husband Phillip Lehrbaum. It was a popular way for young Jewish singles to meet back then—away from their parents, but under some kind of supervision.

My parents met at Log Tavern in Milford, Pennsylvania (not to be confused with Camp Milford in Connecticut).

Camp Log Tavern Milford, PA

Camp Log Tavern Milford, PA

log tavern from jodylog tavern softball postcard

My aunt and uncle met at Green Mansions in Warrensburg, New York, which became well-known for its theatrical and musical performances.

Ad for Green Mansions in a YMHA newsletter

Ad for Green Mansions in a YMHA newsletter

green mansions

Green Mansions

Green Mansions

Here’s an interview with someone discussing the history of Green Mansions:

It’s too bad these camps no longer exist; they seem like a great idea.  Maybe they were not as efficient as online dating, but at least you met someone face to face, not over bandwidth.  My husband Harvey and I did the next best thing: we met as camp counselors at a YM-YWHA day camp for kids when we were in college.

Thinking about this got me thinking about how my parents met, how my aunts and uncles met.  I am always intrigued by how couples meet.  The stories are usually sweet or funny or romantic or surprising.  They also take on a certain mythic quality.

Florence and John Cohen 1951

Florence and John Cohen 1951

Did my father really first see my mother across the dining room at Log Tavern where he was working as a waiter and immediately tell his friend that she was the girl he was going to marry?

According to another family legend, my Aunt Elaine met her husband when she mistook him for a different man she had met the day before at Green Mansions.  Apparently, my Uncle Phil was not scared off either by her unintentional forwardness or her mistake.  Here they are on their honeymoon visiting Fort Ticonderoga in 1941:

Elaine and Phil 1941

Elaine and Phil 1941

My grandfather Isadore supposedly saw my grandmother sitting in the window of her sister Tillie’s grocery store in Brooklyn and was taken by her beauty.

How did your parents meet? Your grandparents? How did you meet your significant other? If you are willing to share the stories, feel free to use the comment space below or email your stories to me, and I will add them to the blog.

Thank also to Jody for finding the pictures of her parents and the postcard of Log Tavern.  Here are some more of them at Green Mansions.

Elaine and Phil at Green Mansions

    Elaine and Phil at Green Mansions


lap photo green mansions
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Happy times

Dune on Cape Cod near Provincetown

Dune on Cape Cod near Provincetown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the last several days, my posts have been tinged with sadness: my great-grandfather’s Moritz’s life story, the death of Pete Seeger, and the tenth anniversary of the death of my cousin Jeff.  So today, thanks to my first cousin Robin, I want to post pictures of some of the happy days shared by my family.  Robin sent me many wonderful photos, and I will post them all sometime over the next several days or so.

But today I want to post the pictures Robin sent of a family vacation to Cape Cod during the summer of 1962, the first family vacation we shared with my Goldschlager cousins, Beth, Suzie and Robin. I found a few others from my collection from that summer and later summers on the Cape.

That 1962 vacation was special in many ways.  It was the first time that our family went to Cape Cod, a place that has become a place we all love beyond words.  It was, in fact, the first time my immediate family went on vacation for more than just a weekend away.  And it was the first time that we shared a vacation with the Goldschlagers.  My Goldschlager cousins lived in West Hartford, which back then seemed to be a million miles away from where we lived in Westchester.  We would see them for holidays and occasional visits, either in New York or in Connecticut, but this was the first time we were able to spend so much time just being together.

It rained many of the days that we were there, but we did not care.  We were just happy to be together.  We drew, played cards and games, polished beach stones, collected shells, swam when it wasn’t raining, watched television, walked on the beach, and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Julie, Suzie, Ira, Beth, Amy and Robin 1962

Julie, Suzie, Ira, Beth, Amy and Robin 1962

Robin 1962

Robin 1962

My immediate family was staying in a small cottage in Wellfleet in Paine’s Hollow, and my cousins were staying at a motel called Horizons in North Truro.  We spent most of our days at Horizons because it was right on the beach and had an outdoor pool.

My parents at Horizons 1962

My parents at Horizons 1962

Amy and Beth at Horizons

Amy and Beth at Horizons

cousins at our Wellfleet cottage

cousins at our Wellfleet cottage

Although my family went on vacation alone in 1963 to a different part of the Cape, in 1964 all the cousins including Jody and Jeff, our Lehrbaum cousins, were together near Lake Sunapee.  Somewhere I have some photos of that vacation.  We all stayed in little cabins on the lake and spent another week together, collecting rocks, playing with frogs, swimming in the lake, even water-skiing for the bigger and more able cousins.  It was another magical time for us, being all together.

In 1965 and 1966, we returned with the Goldschlagers and the Lehrbaums to Horizons and to Cape Cod.  Here are some photos from those vacations.  They are not great photographs (I was using a Brownie or Instamatic), but at least for me, they capture some happy memories:

Jeff 1965

Jeff 1965

Maurice 1966

Maurice 1966


My mother, I think?

Jeffrey Horizons


Jody Horizons


Maurice, Elaine and Lynn and a cousin

Maurice, Elaine, a cousin, and Lynn

Jeff at Horizons 1965 or 1966

Jeff at Horizons 1965 or 1966

For many years after 1966, Horizons was the place my immediate family would return to when staying on the Cape for vacations.  In 1976, my cousin Beth and her husband Steven honeymooned there, and we, also newlyweds, met them there and sat around the pool, sharing our wedding stories and our childhood memories.  We took our children there when they were little, and even my grandson stayed there when he was just two months old.  One of the memories that never fails to make us laugh is of my Aunt Elaine coming into our motel room and standing on the bed to rearrange the drapes.  I don’t remember why she was doing it, but the image can still make me laugh. Although we all have found other places to vacation and no longer stay at Horizons, I think for all of us Horizons Motel remains a place with special memories

Those were some of my happiest days—being with my cousins, finding our common bonds, getting to be together as not just cousins but as friends.  Yes, those days were too few and too short, but they left an indelible mark that even now, some 50 years later, allows me to conjure up those days with a smile on my face.

Cape Cod National Seashore.

Cape Cod National Seashore. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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