Friday, March 03, 2006

Martha Eisenstein

I'm still working on my husband's endless sweater. But it's on hold... I needed to make a prayer shawl.

My friend's mother has died. She was 85, and had been sent home and her children summoned. It was just a matter of time.

I had a public history class several years ago and chose to interview Martha as a part of it. I picked Martha because I was really curious how a nice Iowa farm girl had ended up in Chicago's north suburbs, married to a nice Jewish Actor-turned-real-estate-mogul.

Her answer to that was "The War". He'd been stationed in Iowa when she met him. He was handsome and fun and exciting. He'd been an actor before the war, with the Goodman Theater in Chicago. And he was different than anyone she'd ever met in Iowa. She said she never thought about the religious aspect of it. She didn't really practice christianity, and Judism was just an earlier form of Christianity, right?

She was widowed young, and left with children, her youngest age 3, to raise. She told me with tears in her eyes of how her beloved husband, Irving, choked to death at the Country Club. How she'd been so hysterical that her family and doctor had tranquilized her into numbness... and how she'd regretted not being able to really grieve for him for more than a year because of the tranquilizers.

I have several hours of conversation with her on tape, talk about her life on an Iowa farm, about her days in the heady atmosphere of Chicago-after-the-war and of learning to live without her beloved husband... and later today I have to see if I can unearth the transcripts for my friend and send them along with the shawl.

My friend and her family are sitting Shiva today for a fine lady, Martha Eisenstein. My heart is with them.


Blogger Mary Peed said...

In truth, I started this post several days before Martha died and saved it as a draft. Matha died on March 10th.

1:20 PM  

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