A Mother’s Day Gift to My Children – Part IX

In 1970, another tragedy fueled another uprooting.

Only four years after relocating to Scottsdale, AZ, and finding a sudden surge of interest in his art, Herma’s husband died suddenly the day after Thanksgiving.  “It’s time,” Mama declared, “for a rapprochement! ”  She bullied Alfred into moving them across the country, to a house less than a five-minute walk from Herma’s.  Four of the kids were still in school — the youngest, in fact –was still in middle school, but she was undeterred.  Once she had moved, her mother and father followed, and soon thereafter her younger sister Ruth with husband Fred as well.  The family reunited and began life anew.  Yet again.

If Charlotte and her sisters had been paid by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, they could not have been more effervescent spokeswomen for the state. None of them had any desire ever to return to the gentle greenness of the east coast; they were delighted with the dry warm winters, the fragrant springs, even the blistering summers.  Visiting Connecticut in the ’90’s, Mom declared, “I feel so closed in.  I can’t see the sky.  Too many trees!”  Arizona suited her. “When Hitler threatened us, I begged my father to let me go to Israel with B’Nai B’rith, but he insisted I come to America with the rest of them.  This is my consolation prize,” she would exclaim, reveling in an Arizona sunset.  “This is Heaven!”

Herma, right, and Charlotte in 1975 with my firstborn – Both adored their grandchildren.

Then, in 1974, her world threatened to unravel once more.  Both Ruth and Herma were diagnosed with cancer, and Herma died in 1979.  This time Charlotte had polished her armor.  After her beloved Herma left her, she very quickly absorbed the loss and buried herself in her professional development.

After a rough start — in a middle school where the principal was put off by her accent — Charlotte found work in Scottsdale and taught not only Biology but Special Education as well, for the next 25 years; after she died in 1999, the school auditorium was full to bursting with students, teachers, alums, who came to say farewell to a most beloved, greatly revered teacher and friend.

One thought on “A Mother’s Day Gift to My Children – Part IX

  1. Carla,

    Your writing really makes Charlotte come to life. I found it quite moving to hear the same stories that were told to me but with the richness of your experience. I look forward to reading more!




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