Monday, June 23, 2003

A personal note -- My grandmother, Helen Rosenman Lesses, just died on Friday at the age of 98. She was born in Kielce, Poland, and emigrated to the United States in 1906 with the rest of her family. She grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, in a poor Jewish immigrant family. She went to college (as did all her siblings) and graduated from the University of Michigan. She married Mark Falcon Lesses, of the Boston area, and they had two children, my father (Maurice) and my uncle (Peter). After marrying my grandfather, they lived in Brookline and Newton, Massachusetts. During the last several years of her life she lived in an apartment in the same building as my father and his wife, Eve. She was a smart, independent woman, who got her real estate license at the age of 80 and was an excellent real estate agent. She read widely and kept up on world news almost until the end, when it began to seem no longer relevant to her concerns. I will miss her. She was my connection to a past world that no longer exists. I can still hear her voice in my ears, saying my name, which she always pronounced "Reebeca." She was always happy to see me and her other grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She died peacefully on Friday, with Eve holding her. May she rest in peace.

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