A Tribute to My Beautiful Mommy, Lee Raffel 10.20.1922 – 8.29.2019

Hi Everyone,

Before we get into the elegant hide the TV solutions, many of you know, but many of you don’t know.

My sweet mama passed away peacefully and gently on Thursday evening at just after 10:00 PM central time.

I sent the word out in Friday night’s Hot Sales, but not everyone reads that. But, since then, have been flooded with hundreds of messages in my email and on facebook. Your notes are all incredbily beautiful and heartfelt.

And, while I haven’t been able to respond, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. It has given me so much comfort, I just can’t say. I know that so many of us have, are currently, or will soon be going through a similar thing.

 

This isn’t going to be a true memorial, but I just have to post a couple of pics I put on my personal Facebook page and say a few words. Probably a few hundred. haha.

 

(Note: I don’t link to FB, but if you want to stalk me, over there, just google my name and facebook and it should pop up for you. Everything is completely open. Being a blogger means saying ba bye to privacy.)

 

Lee - young and glamorous St. Louis '39

 

This is my mommy, Lee Raffel born October 20, 1922, when she was about 17. Yes, I know… She was too adorbs for words. By the way, she wasn’t Lee Raffel back then. She was Blossom Lewis. That’s another story.

 

As, she graduated high school a year early, it would’ve been 1939. And, I bet that my grandmother, Hannah, made that dress. I never met her because my Mommy’s Mommy died in the summer of 1943 when my mom was not yet 21. Grandma Hannah had an inoperable brain tumor and a year before she died, Mom dropped out of Washington, University to care for her.

 

Mom married my father three days before her 21st birthday.

 

Yes, it was during WWII, and they didn’t have time for anything big. She never got to have “the dress.” But, she sure made sure that I had one when I got married! We went traipsing down to Kleinfeld’s in Brooklyn. You New Yorker’s know the place.

Fast forward. My folks had two children in the 1940s. The early baby boomers. However, Mom REALLY wanted a third child. For years, she would discuss it with my dad, and he always said, “no, Blossom, two is enough.” But, she didn’t give up. And believe me, she told me this dozens of times throughout my life.

 

Finally, my dad said, okay, as long as she earned the money to pay for the baby.

 

So, my mom did just that. She gave ballroom dancing lessons to the neighborhood teen-agers in our south-side of Chicago neighborhood. She LOVED to dance and did, every week, until she fell and broke her hip nearly five years ago.

In fact, on her last day of being conscious (August 23rd), the nurses brought in some music from the 40s and Mom did a little bed dance with her hands.

 

Lee continued to teach ballroom dancing throughout most of her pregnancy.

 

So, it just stands to reason, that she would give birth to a dancer. Right?

One day, nearly three weeks before her due date which wasn’t until the end of February 1956,  she decided she couldn’t bear being pregnant one day longer. And, so like the dutiful child I was, I slid on down the one-way shoot on February 7, 1956 at about 1:30 PM.

I tried Mom’s “I can’t bear being pregnant one day longer” 34 and 39 years later with my own children. It’s time to come out!

 

Well, both of them firmly ignored me and were each born two weeks AFTER their due date, but only because the doctor used a giant crochet hook to let out the water in their warm bath. Otherwise, I’m sure they’d still be there. :/

Sure, go ahead and laugh. Foreshadowing, they call it.

 

Mommy and me 1957

 

Lee and me (AKA Buttercup) January 1957, shortly before I turned one. As you can see, my mom was the original Mrs. Maisel. Mom looked pretty much the same until about 10 years ago when dementia began to take hold. She was always beautifully put together.

Well, I could go on and on… But, I won’t. Mom is having a green burial on Tuesday. There is no funeral.

mommy and me march 2018 last photo

Here’s Mom, age 95 in March 2018 with her “Buttercup.” It was our last photo and the last time I saw her. Yes, I feel awful about it, but it broke my heart to see her like that; not old, but cognitively, functioning at about a two-year-old level. I can’t talk about it here. Some of you know the deal.

I read an interesting piece earlier today by a man who wants to live to be 75 and be done with it. He makes some very compelling points.

 

Lee was a brilliant woman before her illness; a published book author– twice. Real books. You can see them on Amazon in the link! And, she was on email at least five years before I was!

 

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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