Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Tribute to my Parents

In honor of Mother's Day, I'm reposting something I shared the year my father died - 2000.  It's hard to believe he's been gone for 18 years, and that my mom has been gone 23 years.  Writing this post was very therapeutic at the time, as I struggled to deal with such great losses.  Not just losing my parents, but trying to wrap my head around how precious life is, and how quickly it can change.  Regardless of how or when we lose loved ones, we mourn the loss and realize that we will face the future without them.  It's not easy!  

Thanks for indulging me the opportunity to share ...  


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A Tribute to My Parents – Fred & Phyllis Gottlieb

They met at Austin High School on the west side of Chicago and were married on October 10, 1954. Mom was 18; Dad was 19. Just two kids themselves... they started their family when I was born in 1956. My brother completed the project four years later, and the Gottlieb Family was off and running. Dad eventually found his place in the car business and Mom worked in mortgage banking.

After a brief attempt at relocating to Dallas, Texas, we boomeranged back to the Chicago area and settled in Skokie. We were blessed to have Josie stay with us— she had helped my grandmother raise my mom and my aunt. While I was growing up, my parents provided the best of everything for us. Our house was the place neighborhood kids felt comfortable and welcomed, and it wasn't at all unusual for our family of 4, to set the dinner table for 8… At one point, my brother and I had our best friends living with us, plus my dad's mom and my mom's sister! There was always "something" going on at our house!

While many families may have been structured differently than ours, I always felt safe and secure in mine. I know that my parents loved me, unconditionally, and I loved them dearly.
The 60's and 70's brought many changes to society, and our family was not immune. My parents realized that they had grown apart; in fact, they grew "up" while raising their kids, and once we both left home, their common bond was gone. When my parents announced their plans to separate, I wasn't surprised, but I wasn't threatened. I knew that even though they divorced, our foundation as a family was solid; Our love was always strong, regardless of where we went or with whom we lived.

Time ticked on. Both parents remarried. And until the time of their deaths, I never doubted their love for me, and I’ve never lost sight of what incredible parents they had been to me.

My Dad - Fred Gottlieb

Frederick Sherwin Gottlieb was born to Leo and Shirley Gottlieb, on February 11, 1935. My dad was the older of two children, and he had many cousins. They weren't wealthy growing up — My grandfather worked in the men's clothing industry and he later drove a Chicago Yellow Cab. My grandmother, of course, raised my dad and my Uncle Dennis. They were terrific grandparents, and I have many fond memories of them.

My dad had a fairly typical upbringing in Chicago, in the 1940's and 50's. He had a close circle of friends, and he did what he needed to get by in school. From all I've heard through the years, my mom's side of the family was opposed to my parents’ marriage, but all I remember as a kid, was having two sets of grandparents who loved me. I was their first grandchild, and they always made me feel special.

One of my dad's early jobs was selling shoes, and he learned early on, how to succeed in sales. He landed in the car business, and enjoyed it, despite the long hours, the long commutes and commission-based income. My friends all thought our family was very wealthy, since every time my dad picked me up from school, he was driving a new car! That was back in the days when dealerships provided "demos" for their salesmen.

Dad did well, and I never understood why people thought car salesmen were dishonest. He came home with some pretty wild stories of how customers would try to cheat the dealership too!

After his divorce, my dad re-married and eventually moved to Indiana. He had always craved a warmer climate, but a move to Florida didn't work out. He even came to Richmond and stayed with us on two separate occasions, with the goal of relocating, but the ties to his church and friends in Indiana kept him there.

In 1996, he started a new career in estate planning and the sale of living trusts. He enjoyed learning something new and different from the car business, plus the better hours. I had heard that one of the worst industries for fatal accidents on the job was sales, because of all the driving salespeople do between appointments, but never expected it to hit so close to home.
On February 15, 2000, I was sitting at home eating lunch, and I got a phone call from my dad's wife. She was calling on a cell phone that was breaking up terribly, but I was able to decipher that my dad had been in a serious car crash, and he was being med-flighted to a trauma hospital in Kalamazoo. I was able to call the hospital where the rescue squad initially took him, and I spoke to my dad before the helicopter lifted off. At that moment, I didn't know if I'd ever speak to him or see him alive again.

I spent the next 6 days in ICU with him and watched as his torn thorax healed on its own. I came back to Virginia before he was moved to a regular room on Day 10, but when I left, it was evident that he was going to be ok. Actually, he made a miraculous recovery and had no permanent damage from the accident. We spoke many times on the phone, and I could hear such a zest for life in his voice! We talked a bit about his physical therapy and the multiple fractures he sustained in the crash, but he never once complained. He was so grateful to be alive!

Dad's recovery was going very well, and he returned to work in May. I decided to spend Memorial Day weekend with him, since his wife would be leading a "Walk To Emmaus" retreat, and she'd be out of town. Dad and I were going to surprise her and show up on her weekend. On May 22nd, I was on my way home from work and looking forward to searching online for the best airfare to Indiana for that weekend. When I entered the house, my husband told me that my dad's wife had just called — My dad was in another car crash, and this time, he was killed.
That type of news is never easy, but this was even more incredible, in light of his earlier accident. I still had my weekend in Indiana with my dad, but it was a lot different than the one I had been planning. My dad's funeral was a beautiful testimony to his life. There was an excellent article in the local paper after his death.  My dad was 65 years old.

Fred Gottlieb
Born February 11, 1935
Died May 22, 2000



My Mom - Phyllis Gold Gottlieb

Phyllis Jean Gold was born July 2, 1936 in Chicago. Her parents were Lillian and Isadore Gold. Mom had one sister, my Aunt Sandy. Mom's father died when she was only 14 years old. The spelling of my first name is in memory of her dad.

I credit my Grandma Lil for molding my mother's character, and consequently, much of my personality. Grandma Lil always treated me as a "young lady" and she expected me to behave as such. How often I heard, "If you want to be treated like a young lady, you have to act like one!"

Mom always wanted my brother and me to be kept busy, so we'd be kept out of trouble! Since she was a working mom (before that was the "norm") she had me in all kinds of activities: Hebrew School, drama, ballet, piano lessons, ice skating and Girl Scouts. She had been a bright student, and I was too. As I was growing up, it never occurred to me that I wouldn't also work when I grew up. I'm grateful that she instilled a strong sense of responsibility and accountability in me.

I was so proud of my mom! She worked in a high-rise office building in downtown Chicago, and it was a treat to spend a Saturday at her office with the latest in technology: typewriters, carbon paper and adding machines! I remember the first IBM Selectric, and we were in awe of how fast Mom could type! I still have some papers she wrote in shorthand. Mom started her career as a receptionist and in a time when women were mostly stay-home moms, she blazed trails and enjoyed a successful career in mortgage banking.

My mom lived an active life and was always confident, classy and in control. Even when her health deteriorated, she remained upbeat. She had a hysterectomy and several breast biopsies before being diagnosed with breast cancer in the late 1970's. Following a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, she was in remission for well over 10 years. But when her cancer came back, it came back with a vengeance.

Having a sick parent is one of the hardest things I can think of… Being 700 miles away makes it worse. Fortunately, I was able to make some additional visits to Chicago, and each time, I watched my mom fade before me. We used to kid around with each other, that you can't be too thin or too rich. But watching her dwindle down to 90 pounds, I can say now, that you "can" be too thin.

Mom passed away on April 21, 1995 — on my 10th wedding anniversary. She had moved to the hospice within Northwestern Hospital in Chicago, and I was driving there to be with her before she died. Unfortunately, she died while I was en route. Her death left a big empty spot in my life, though I was grateful that she didn't have to endure the pain any longer. She was an amazing woman, and a day doesn't go by that I don't miss her wisdom, inspiration and friendship.

My kids were only 2 and 4 years old when she died, and sometimes I feel so sorry that they've missed having the opportunity to know her. Then again, I realize how much I'm like her, and through me, they gain a small glimpse of what she was like. My mom used to tell me how much I would have loved her father — what a strong, upstanding man he was. I find myself thinking the same things about her for my kids -- She has left a legacy, and we all are the beneficiaries.

Phyllis Jean Gold Gottlieb Welch
Born July 2, 1936
Died April 21, 1995


On losing a parent

My mom died a slow, painful and agonizing death from cancer. My father was killed instantly in a car crash. Both were too young to die. Mom didn't want to die; Dad didn't want to be a burden to his children. Both were phenomenal people, and both taught me a lot.

The contrast is stark; My pain similar. The lesson? Always live life to the fullest. Never assume that you can tell someone you love them—tomorrow.

Losing a parent leaves a hole so wide, that you think it will never, ever be filled. For me, I know that my parents live on in me and my children. Yes, I wish they were still here—But when I look back, I'm filled to overflowing with love for these two people who not only gave me life, but showed me how to live it.

I'm grateful for their lives in ways that I can't even put into words. I've tried to express my deep love for my parents, but know I’ve fallen short.  Most importantly, I hope my memories remind us all to take advantage of the time we have with the ones we love. Life really IS too short to treat it any other way. I'm grateful to have been blessed with such a wonderful family, and confident knowing that they knew how I felt.  Is there someone who needs to know how you feel?  Please tell them before you miss the chance.  

Many blessings and much love,

Ilyse


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Spend the Day With Me - May 8th - from Happy Mom

Hello my friends and swappers!  Thanks for being part of "Spend the Day With Me" - these are fun swaps, aren't they?  I always wonder what people must think when they see me taking random photos like this 😀  Well, I chose today to take my photos because I'm on a road trip, and that's more interesting than an in-office day.

I packed my car and started out for my weekly BNI meeting this morning at 7:05.  We meet at a local country club, and it's always so pretty there, especially first thing in the morning.

Packed and ready to roll!
Nice out this morning!

   
Power Players BNI

Salisbury Country Club




















I left the club around 9:30 and headed to my first meeting in Covington, Virginia.  I stopped along the way to return calls and emails, and got to my appointment in plenty of time for my 2 PM meeting.  The meeting was at a huge paper mill and it went well.

Roadside stop

Paper Mill



















One of the emails I had received was from our HR manager.  She's putting together a Power Point as a tribute to our moms for Mother's Day, and she was asking everyone to send in a picture of our moms.  She said vintage, recent - anything would do, so sent this one that I could access from my Shutterfly account:
Mom, me and Michael backstage when his band opened
for James Brown at the Lone Star Cafe in NYC, mid-80's

After the meeting at the paper mill, I drove to Wytheville, Virginia...and I'm here for the night.   

I-64 / I-81
Refuel and bathroom break!
 Wytheville is a quaint and scenic town.  I checked in to the hotel and went to get some dinner around 6.  Caught a brilliant sunset after I ate!
Wytheville Historic Marker

Dinner


Sunset - heading back to hotel
So ... that was my day today.  More miles to cover tomorrow and Thursday, and then Home Sweet Home!  Have a good one every body, and please post a rating so I know you've received my swap.

     

Saturday, May 5, 2018

26 Things About Me - swap from Happy Mom :)

Hello swappers & friends!

What a fun list to complete on a dreary Spring day.  Thanks for checking out my post :)  These are my answers to the swap on the ESG group - and thanks for posting a rating!

A Age - 61
B Biggest fear - I'm not fearful of much, but I want to stay healthy and stick around for my family.  It bothers me that out world seems out of control with terrorism and even domestic craziness.  Crazy people killing innocents doesn't make sense to me.  So, while I don't live in fear of this, it's hard to ignore!
C Current time - Saturday, May 5th, 6 PM
D Drink you last had - Coffee
E Every day starts with - Coffee (lol - see a pattern?)
F Favourite song- I don't have just one favorite.  One of my faves is Oceans - by Hillsong
G Ghosts, are they real - Just the Holy Ghost!
H Hometown - born in Chicago, but have lived in Richmond since 1980.
I In love with - my husband :) Still...after 33 years of marriage!
J - Jealous of - people who live in Hawaii!  I'm happy for them, but wish I'd never left.
K Known language(s) - English
L Last time you cried - a few days ago 
M Middle name - Judee
N Number of siblings - 1 brother
O One wish - I wish for my kids to be happy
P Person you last called - My husband
Q Question you are always asked - "Would you like his voice mail?"  I make a lot of phone calls every day, and no one is ever available, so the receptionists ask that!
R Reason to smile - You're loved :)
S Song last sung - Singing along with Spotify now - "Under the Boardwalk" is on now.
T Time you woke up - I slept in today - Saturday - got up at 8:30.
U Underwear colour - blue
V Vacation destination - HAWAII, please!
W Worst habit - spending too much money
X Xrays you've had- wrist, shoulder, back, chest, teeth
Y Your fave food - big fat juicy steak on the grill with roasted veggies - YUM!
Z Zodiac sign - Leo
Well, that's my list and I hope you enjoyed reading my answers!
Hope to swap again soon, and have a great month!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

My Favorite Photo - March

Hello Swappers & Friends!  It feels good to be back on the blog... I enjoy posting my swaps on here, but just didn't have the energy last month.  I almost never get sick, but I had a bad case of bronchitis that just wouldn't quit.  But I'm back to normal (LOL - I've never been normal), and here I am with my favorite photos from March!  I hope you enjoy seeing them - and as always, even if we're not partnered on Swap-bot, I'd love to see your photos too, if you care to share.  

Early March snow 2018
We start with the frosted trees from one of oh-too-many snow storms we had in March.  I didn't make this photo in black & white, but that's how grey it's been around here.  I just don't see the beauty in it like some do, even though I do try.  

The robin and my Leia seemed confused too!
Leia, "This isn't funny!"



Robin, "What happened to Spring?"



















My son is an avid rock-climber and coach for youth climbing.  The gym he works for is opening a second location in April, and he's been setting the routes.  Check out more at their WEBSITE.
 PEAK EXPERIENCES

This next picture cracked me up.  I snagged it off my son's Instagram.  Now that he's moved out, Pica went with him.  You can tell she's enjoying the balcony at their new apartment!


OK - this next photo was me being silly - probably had one too many cups of coffee.  I got tired of putting my daughter's shoes away.  I usually leave them at the bottom of the stairs, but that day, I "walked" them up the stairs for her.  😂😂😂 And here's a picture of the two of us being goofy.

Here's one from a road trip in March.  I love driving through all the nooks and crannies of Virginia - such pretty spots.  I was in the mountains and stopped to take a picture of this pretty stream.


 And, it seems that Spring has finally "sprung" here.  I don't think we'll have any more snow, but we will still have cold mornings ahead for a few more weeks.  Still, with the time change, Easter, Spring Break and all the pollen out there, I do believe the worst is behind us.

I hope everyone has a fantastic month!

Hugs,
Ilyse - Happy Mom