Today would have been my mother’s 88th birthday. Doris Lichtenthal Falcone was born on March 5, 1932. She passed away on December 2, 2011, a few months before her 80th birthday.
Mom always wanted to come to America. “For the jazz,” she always told me. In honor of her birthday, I would like to share the story of her trip to America – in her words. At some point in the 1990s my daughter Caitlin interviewed her grandmother for a school project. I rediscovered the video a few years ago and decided to capture it digitally. It’s not the best recording – I connected the old camera to the TV and used a newer one to record it. (You can see me in the TV reflection at the very end!!) – but it does the job.
The video is about 9 minutes and 45 seconds long. Stick with it even though it looks like it’s over several times! (Cait- if you’re reading this, check out what comes on the screen at 9:30!!) You can also catch a glimpse of Mom’s squirrel friend on the deck, munching away on the “treats” she always left for him.
Click here to view the video on YouTube.
(Direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a-i383LyfA&t=12s)
After arriving in the United States, my mother, Doris and her mom, Rose Lichtenthal stayed with Alexander Sved and his wife, the former Irene Oppenheim. Irene and my grandmother were first cousins – their respective mothers were sisters.
My uncle, Emil Speeger (he changed his name from Spiegel) was the apartment manager for 30 Eastchester Road, also known as Beechmont Towers. He gave up his apartment to my mother and grandmother in 1939 when my grandfather, Paul Lichtenthal arrived after being released from Buchenwald. My grandmother lived in apartment 5D until her death in 1972. By the way, my father, Alan Samuel lived next door in 5E, until his parents moved across the hall to apartment 5A. But, that’s a story for another day!
Happy birthday, Mom! You’ve left us some great stories and a wonderful family to share them with.