Monday, January 11, 2010

Another "Etc.", in Memory of Lily

I just got a phone call from my Mother-in-law, telling me that my husband's Aunt Lily had just passed. Having been in this family for nearly thirty years, she was my Aunt Lily, as well.

This woman was the orginal "Independent Woman"...she ran four companies in New York City, and even though she looked like a "Cupie Doll", she was tough as nails (with a heart of gold). She was the comptroller for comanies that produced safety equipment for firefighters, traffic signal lights, and who knows what else. This was in the forties and fifties, and she would regale us with stories about going up against "The Mob" (read Mafia), dealing with some pretty rough Union Bosses, and sitting at her desk at three am, wondering how to pay all the bills and keep all those people, who had families to support, working.

Every day for thirty-five years, she would drive into New York City, (my husband learned all his curse words while riding in the car with her), work well into the night, and then, go home and take care of her elderly mother and father.

My husband, and his brother were like her children, as she never had any of her own. She would dress them up in suits and ties, and they would spend the day in Manhatten, going to the Metropolitan Museum, plays on Broadway, and fine restaurants.
When any of the family had financial difficulties, it was alway she who bailed them out.

When she retired, she moved to Tennessee, to be near my mother-in-law and father-in-law...She was always cheerful, generous, and funny (although, I don't think she meant to be funny). One great story is that she and the family were in a coffee shop, which was filled with construction workers on break. She had a rather loud voice, with a wonderful Brooklyn accent, and she stated: "Last night, I cooked dinner in the crotch pot". My mother-in-law said, "Lily,it's called a crock pot"..."yeah, yeah, yeah," she replied, "the crotch pot." There were construction workers rolling on the floor with laughter...SO, for our family, it will always be "the crotch pot".

I am packing now to go to Tennessee, to pay final respects, and to stage her house for sale. My mother-in-law is 88, and it's too much for her to handle alone. I know I will be bringing home some beautiful things, as she had fine taste, and has left it all to us. Have no idea where we will put everything (or even keep it all), but one thing I will always keep and treasure is "the crotch pot".

Rest in Peace, darling Lily.


  1. Oh Jessica, I know you're so glad to have known her. I love people like that. I could listen to their stories for hours. Everyone could learn a thing or two from elderly people like her. Your husband's life must have been so fun with her.
    I'm sorry for your loss.
    Take care,
    xoxoxo Kelly

  2. Thankyou...she was a wonderful woman and role model, but at 87, with Alzheimer's, it was merciful. She was a brilliant woman, who was diminished by the disease.
    We will be going to her memorial in Tenn. the first week in Feb...then, I have to stage her home for sale.
    So, I am going to be around a bit longer.
    You have been so busy, making wonderful things.

  3. Rest in peace sweet Aunt Lily.
    It sounds like she lived a very full life. The crotch pot story is priceless!!!!

  4. What a very sweet and funny post. I love hearing stories of interesting REAL people. I'm sorry for your loss.

  5. Our loss is softened by the thought that Lily is where she should be...singing in the choir (she was always a bit off key), and being Lily again, not an elderly woman, ravaged by a terrible illness...thank you all so much.

  6. Jessica my prayers are with you and the safe and come back to us soon....Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  7. I'm so sorry for your loss! She was a great woman! What a wonderful post to share with us all!

  8. Thanks to "allya'll" - We have moved the memorial service to Feb. 11, as there are family members in Europe, making reservations to come to the service.
    During WWII, Lily and her family in the States supported an entire town in Austria..keeping them alive and fed under terrible circumstances. They were not Jewish, but still, ravaged by the war.
    Love to all,