My Mother-In-Law

I am writing about my mother-in-law, Evelyn “El” Rosenblum. Sadly, I knew El for only 8 years before she died. But she earned my love and respect immediately. One could argue that she was so overjoyed/grateful/relieved that a “nice Jewish” girl (or any girl for that matter) was dating her youngest son, that she was extra nice in order to lure me in. But, even once I was “hooked”, she continued to be warm and loving and welcoming.

My first memory of El was when she (along with Carolyn/Larry and Terry/Bernie) “joined” Howard and me on our second date. (They all wanted to come on our first date, but Howard put his foot down on that one.) Howard had told his family that we were going to a Peter, Paul and Mary concert, and they decided that they’d like to see that show too. They sat about 6 rows in front of us in tiered seating and spent 50% of the time watching the show and 50% of the time craning their necks to watch us.

I remember, too, the time she called Howard early one morning to see how his date went the night before. “How’d it go last night?” I heard her ask. Howard shot up in bed, bumbling and fumbling. “Oh, is she there now?” El asked hopefully?

So later, when she confided in me that Benita was the only one of her children who had ever lied to her, I knew she was wrong. When I told Bernie, Howard and Carolyn what El had said, Bernie and Howard smiled with the knowledge that they had, in fact, pulled it off for all those years. Carolyn just sat there innocently.

Oh yes, and I remember another early date that we all went on to hear a speaker. Ruth Dansky nudged her way over to El, and “whispered”, Who is she?, “furtively” glancing back at me. El whispered back, “Her name is Cathy and he likes her”.

When Tali came along, El was the best grandma – even though she’d already been a grandma for nearly 30 years! And when baby Noah was born, she looked at him lovingly and sadly, knowing that she wouldn’t be around to watch him grow up. And 2 years later, she was gone.

In the short span of years we had together, El got the satisfaction of knowing her little Howard was a happily married doctor with 2 beautiful children. And, she became an inspiration and model to me – of a loving mother and wife, a devoted sister, an adoring and involved grandmother and great-grandmother, and a woman for whom family was the most important thing. Her heart would be warmed to know how close her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins have remained – thanks to the seeds of love she planted long ago.

Happy Mother’s Day, El. We all miss you very much.


Our Mom

In many ways, my Mom was our tent pole. She was tough; she was brash; she was loud, she could embarrass; she was fiercely loyal to and defensive of those she loved; she was so real; she was so warm. She not only held us up; she held us.


My mom
Matt Cole

This was written in 2007 and read at my mom’s funeral. It comes from my heart and brings tears to my eyes 6 years later.

Friday was a difficult day for this family. My sister Abbey, whom, my wife Marilee and I thank so much for shouldering much of Mom’s care these last these hard years and I lost our only mom. My brother-in-law Max and Marilee lost their second mom, Uncle Marty his only sister, Alisa, Helaine, Hope, Barrie, Wendy and Dara lost their last grandma, and 14 children lost a special, special great-grandma.

Only in this crazy family could three sisters and a brother name their first born the same name, Rozy. To differentiate them, they were called Big Rozy, Little Rozy, Moe’s Rozy, and just plain Rozy. Ours was just plain Rozy, but there was nothing plain about her. To my knowledge, she only earned two prizes in her lifetime: one, a beauty contest when she was a little girl and the other bronzed booties for warming our hearts and feet when she was 90. But she was a world-class mommy, grandma, and great-grandma

My friend John Ungashick related to me that when George Washington died, The Federalist Party said it had lost its tent pole. He held up his political party, the Federalists. Indeed, a few years after his death, the Federalists disappeared. Our family won’t disappear without our Rozy, but it won’t be the same.

In many ways, my Mom was our tent pole. She was tough; she was brash; she was loud, she could embarrass; she was fiercely loyal to and defensive of those she loved; she was so real; she was so warm. She not only held us up; she held us.

I can still remember at about the age of seven while waiting in line to see the Christmas Show at the Radio City Music Hall being squished between her warm body and her Persian lamb’s wool coat as only she could squish. No one could warm you like my mom. I touched her after she died and that warmth was still there. It seemed that even death could not take it away

Mom was lucky… she lived a long life; she got to see 13 great grandchildren in person, and she saw Xena’s picture which I showed to her just hours before she died. I know she saw it. I know it made her happy. I watched her open her eyes and felt her squeeze my hand as each of my daughters said goodbye to her. Between her pained breathing she mumbled something each time. It was so hard to understand, but one time I could make it out, and it was “I love you.” That’s what mom was so good at — loving you.

Remembering our mother
Mom beauty contest winner

 For her great grandchildren: I give you a little history lesson

When she at your age Xena, the Titanic was being built

When she was as old as you Sita and August, WWI started

When she was as old as you Harry and Ruben, the 1916 Model T Ford was first produced for $250

Sophie, the Russian Revolution broke out when she was your age.

Orlando, when she as a old as you she survived the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic

Jack, when she was ten, women first got the right to vote

Amy at your age in 1927, Charles Lindberg was the first to fly solo the Atlantic


Remembering mothers.
Our mom

Casey and Brooke, she was 18 when 1929 Great Depression occurred

Robert, at 21 she voted for her first President, FDR

David, 22 it was a good year. Prohibition came to an end

At Jeff’s age, things became terrible for this world as Hitler invaded Poland and World War II began.

Grandma survived WWII, the death of Kennedy, the landing on the moon, 911 and almost made to the end of “Bush-that bastard’s” (her term) term of office. 

She was with us a long time, but not long enough. I always say at occasions like this “There are so few people who love you. It is such a loss to lose one.” This is one helluva loss.

Mom, you knew how to love. Oh how we will we all miss those hugs. Mommy, I love you so much.

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