In the 1990’s, Fritzie spent 7 years living in a senior residence near my middle brother Tim, in the Denver, Colorado area. Tim & his wife, Ruth, took on the day care role and my youngest brother, Victor who lived nearby in Salt Lake City, visited her with his family often. She was very happy to have this time with her sons.
They made sure that she was cared for, took her on outings, were in constant communication with her, were there in cases of emergency and… among other things made sure that she had her sewing machine with her. When she did use it, she still showed a flare for design, color and style.
In 2001, Fritzie, already 93 years old, came to live with me in Israel. The only reason she decided to go, was because she was offered the thrill of taking a cruise on the Queen Elizabeth II cruise ship to get there. Still in evidence, her flare for design, color and style, continued…………………
She had a team of young day-care helpers who she was very happy with. They were totally charmed by her and stayed with her to the end, through a stroke that took most of her, the last 3.5 years of her life.
From Elena: “I am Elena, I was one of Fritzie’s day-care helpers for 7.5 years and to this day my memories of that time and of Fritzie herself, are very good. Usually older people are demanding and moody, while Fritzie was always very calm with a favorable temperament and in a good mood.
Fritzie thanked me for everything I did for her: for the food I prepared for her and for all help that I administered to her. It was very pleasant to be around her. I am very sorry that in her last years she was in a very difficult health situation and was stuck in her bed. She was the nicest older person that I ever worked with.
May her memory be blessed.”
(Elena’s words were first written by her in Russian, then translated by her daughter to Hebrew and then translated by me to English.)
I have one last story to tell……………………………………………………………………………
At the age of 95, my mother had another opportunity to express her artistic flare and sense of color. She was introduced to the weaving of little rugs and produced quite a number of them with the help of one of her day-care helpers, Svetlana.
From Svetlana: “She was a good woman. Communication with her was pleasant. We all loved her and tried to help her in everyday life. I worked with Fritzie mostly in the evenings. When ever I arrived, I came up to Fritzie and we chose what to do. Sometimes we read the newspapers, sometimes something cooked together (she helped cut), but most evenings we work on the rugs. When we started to work with a new rug, she chose what colors yarn would be used. She was already at the baskets looking at the colors, a few colors. I put them on the table and she chose what we use each time. She liked to work with a rug and often we did that a long time. When it was hard holding out the yarn I helped her.”
some of the rugs…
Svetlana would arrive as I was leaving to run errands. I have clear memories of Fritzie eagerly going to the baskets that held the colored yarn for these rugs and watched her intently consider which colors to combine. To me, these little rugs are another testament of my mother’s creativity. Where would she have gone if she had landed a job with Valentina in New York City, or ………………………, if her life had been a little different. The color combinations of these little rugs, remind me of some of the early 20th century “modern artists”,
……………..such as Piet Mondrian and
I believe that my mother was happy to have married and had children, but I still wonder what else she might have accomplished in her life.