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Thread: An interesting life

  1. #1

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    An interesting life

    Way off topic, this was in the obituaries today (Detroit Free Press, reporter Jeanne May)

    Elizabeth Eichelbaum

    When Elizabeth Shapiro Eichelbaum was 3 years old, her mother left her and her two older sisters in a small village outside Odessa, Russia, to come to the United States to build a new life for the family.

    The children stayed with their grandmother -- and suddenly the Russian Revolution was upon them.

    Hiding in a basement, the three sisters and their grandmother eked out an existence until the grandmother died and the children were found alone.

    Separated and placed into separate orphanages, they managed to stay in contact. One of the older sisters made secret nightly visits to the other orphanages, carrying food.

    When the revolution ended, a New York Times reporter toured the orphanages, and one of the sisters pulled on his pants leg to get his attention and told him that she had a mother in America. Back in New York, the reporter wrote about the children and found their mother in New York. She sent her new husband to get the sisters.

    The journey to America started in a covered wagon ride over hundreds of miles to the Russian border and took a year, eventually landing Mrs. Eichelbaum in New York.

    She managed to finish elementary school there before she quit to go to work to help support the rest of the family.

    [There follows an account of her marriage and her life as the owner of a downtown deli. which became a well-known hang-out for such notables as Milton Berle, Barbara Streisand, Eddie Cantor and Lenny Bruce. Also some information about her charitable and volunteer works.]

    When her husband died in 1973, she continued to run the deli alone, and she went back to school to begin getting the formal education she'd longed for.

    When she was 63, she received her GED.

    Several years later she sold the deli but continued to work there while attending Wayne State University.

    When she was 69 she earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts. She had a 4.0 grade point average.

    At 80, she received a master's degree in art history from Oakland University.

    Two years later, she moved to Knoxville, Tenn., to attend the University of Tennessee, where at age 90 she earned a doctorate in art therapy.

    She'd been doing therapy work all along -- in schools and senior citizens centers. She also lectured and painted....

    "She had a patient in an adult home who hadn't spoken in over 30 years, and in the third session with him, she had him speaking," her son Stanley said Friday.

    Dr. Eichelbaum died Friday at age 92, surrounded by loving family and friends.

  2. #2

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    Re: An interesting life

    Mathmann I find peoples lives to be very interesting. How lifes paths take us and what wonderful stories can be told. I found this one interesting because my grandparents are from Odessa, Russia and I am doing research on my dad's side of the family. I have found many interesting stories about my family that I never knew. I still have a long way to go to put my family history together.

  3. #3

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    Re: An interesting life

    There are many stories about excapes from persecution and Elizabeth's is certainly right up there. But I often wonder about the people who remained behind and lived. How are they now coping?


  4. #4

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    Re: An interesting life

    Her life was lived well. Wonder what happened to her sisters?

  5. #5

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    Re: An interesting life

    Hi mathman,

    She sounds like a very interesting and spirited woman who lived her life to the fullest. Like heyang, I too wondered about her sisters. Unfortunately, they probably died long before her.

    Makes me look like a horrible Olympic Gold like Tara and advanced degrees....I don't know any celebrities.....I'm beginning to depress myself. OK, I'm just kidding.

  6. #6

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    thank you

    that was very interesting to read, thank you for posting that.

  7. #7

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    Re: An interesting life


    It just goes to show what the human spirit can accomplish. We are never "too old." This lady had iron-clad determination. It's a very inspiring story.



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