It seems appropriate, on this, the seventh anniversary of my mother’s passing, to share a bit about her.
Doris May Lichtenthal was born on March 5, 1932. She left this earth after, in her words, “finishing her job,” on December 2, 2011. Mom was 79. For more than seven decades, she dedicated herself to family life.
Decade Number One: 1932-1942
|1938 Passport Photo|
Without a doubt, the single most important event of this decade occurred in June 1938, when Doris, her mother, and beloved grandmother left Vienna, Austria to start anew in America. Only six years old, Doris had no real idea of the crisis which precipitated their departure. She knew her father was “away” (in a concentration camp), but she was focused on getting one of her early wishes, “to go to America and listen to Jazz.”
|Alan and Doris on their wedding day – 1953|
Decade Number Two: 1943-1953
Part of her master plan to have “smart, talented, good-looking kids” was achieved when she married Alan Samuel on June 28, 1953. She got the smart and talented but I’m not so sure about the good-looking! (Sorry, sibs—speaking about myself here!)
Decade Number Three: 1954-1964
Doris completed her “master plan” on October 1, 1964, when her one and only son, Dean Laurence Falcone was born. She had to marry a new guy (Al Falcone) to get the son she always wanted, but “whatever!”
|Dean and Mom – approx 1968|
Decade Number Four: 1965-1975
I’m pretty sure my mother wouldn’t even remember this decade of her life! She was the “consummate” Mom – cooking, cleaning (as little as she could get away with), crafting and carting (driving us everywhere!) We five kids kept her busy! Her most often quoted phrases from that time include, “I haven’t slept a whole night since 1955.” – the year of my birth. When asked what she would like as a gift, Mom always replied, “A little piece of quiet.” Yeah- how’d that work out?
Decade Number Five: 1976-1986
This was a really rough period for my mom. In 1979, she was first diagnosed with a serious skin disease, Pemphigus. It almost killed her. After several hospitalizations, the disease stabilized, but the side effects of the meds affected both Mom physically and emotionally. She never really got over having to stop dying her hair and gaining weight due to the meds. If I had been as beautiful as she was, I would have felt the same way.
|Granddaughter Mia’s love
for her Omi is “infinite”
Decade Number Six: 1987-1997
No “failure to launch” here. By this decade, all of Doris’ children were “grown” and on their own – with a few lapses here and there! Mom could have finally taken time for herself, but instead, she helped take care of her grandchildren! I will always be thankful for the support of “Omi” and I know her grandchildren cherish that time as well. (I only hope I can be half the Omi, she was!! She left some pretty big shoes to fill.)
Decade Number Seven: 1998- 2008
During this decade, Doris lost her husband (May 24, 2004.) Despite being on her own, Mom found the resources to remain in her home. A treasured family tradition, Christmas Eve at Omi’s still continues to this day. Even when the day comes that we celebrate in another place, Mom’s baked treats will hold the family together, forever!
|Linzer cookies were a tribute to Omi
at Granddaughter Meghan’s’ 2014 wedding.
The Last Years
|One of the last pics of Mom and her “brood.”|
Sadly, Mom’s last few years were marked by multiple hospitalizations, surgeries and nursing home stays. But, through it all her mind stayed sharp and her antics kept us entertained. For instance, the day she called me not five minutes after I left the nursing home, begging me to return as soon as possible because she needed help. I rushed back, only to have her declare the food at the Arden House was “IN-edible!”
Thinking back over all she endured, I am in awe of the way she lived her life. A role model to us all – including my stepbrother and stepsisters and her cherished grandchildren.
Mom, I’m looking forward to making your traditional Linzer cookies again this year. Hopefully, no one will declare them “inedible!”
Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog prompt, Random Fact.