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.
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