Photo Album 1 – Arnold & Sue Heller: My Beautiful Wife of Thirty-Eight Wonderful Years
Sue, age 3, pictured with brother Marc Auerbach, two years older.
It’s been said that behind every successful man is a good woman; also, that one and one equaled two. Not so. I was lucky to partner with a very successful woman in her own right, so in our case, one and one in our case equaled three. Sue Auerbach Heller, who passed at age 59 November 21, 2009, was warm, funny, beautiful, and intelligent.
I met Sue July 22, 1971 in Manhattan. My friend Richie Cooper and I were baby-sitting an upper East Side apartment for four girls traveling in Europe. Sue visited with the late Fredda Rich and I found my teacher – partner that I was searching for. Sue’s pictured in front of her West Long Branch, NJ, apartment across from the beach where she would soon graduate from Monmouth College.
We were engaged February 26, 1972; her shower was at Rod’s in Madison (see below picture with umbrella), NJ, and our marriage at the Manor in West Orange, NJ, June 17, 1973. We honeymooned in Martha’s Vineyard and are pictured before our lovely cottage in bucolic Menemsha.
Bill Couch, a fellow teacher and amateur photographer at West Fulton High in 1973, captured this image of Sue lounging on a couch.
It’s apparent that Sue and I were middle class hippies and reveled in those rebellious years. I am pictured standing next to “Ollie”, Sue’s beloved red Beetle with an automatic transmission, perhaps the slowest car in history and produced for only two years due to a record number of auto deaths by accident and class action lawsuits.
I received an educational grant in 1975 to visit Mexico and develop a curriculum for the Atlanta Public Schools. Unfortunately, that year Mexico voted in the UN to declare ‘Zionism to be the equivalent of racism’ and many Jews canceled vacations. We didn’t and Sue returned home with chicken pox and pneumonia. I guiltily worried that God had punished me and put a pox upon my wife. We traveled to Israel the following year where I prayed at the Wailing Wall for forgiveness.
1976: In Netanya visiting Sue’s Uncle Murray Panzer with West Bank in distant background.
Sue and I traveled to California in 1976 and spent a week in the San Francisco area and a week in the LA area where hooked up with Joe Cohen, a friend from college, who was working with Alan Pariser, a rock music producer and promoter. Sue and I spent New Year’s Eve with Joe and Alan who was famous for recycling rock groups that had once been big stars but had fallen out of favor.
The next picture is of Sue at thirty-five, and in my opinion, her most beautiful age. Notice the cigarette in right hand, the probable cause of her four and half year long bout with lung cancer. The contrasting picture is her at age forty.
Sue was a great Reading Specialist and English teacher and also taught every area of Special Education that existed at the time: Giftedness, Intellectually Challenged, Behavioral Modification (behavior problems, psychological difficulties).
In my opinion, Sue’s greatest achievement was for twenty years directing the Open Campus Program at Independence High School on Mimosa Boulevard in Roswell near historic Bulloch Square and the Canton Street corridor. She helped hundreds of students who could not conform to the normal classroom environment to graduate and get on with their lives. Singing star Usher started performing on the road at age fifteen – Sue faxed young Mr. Raymond his classwork to keep him on track.
Sue received the 1986 Fulton County Teacher of the Year Award for her success in boosting reading scores and used the following professional head shot for years. She was a classic readhead and a ninety-five pound powerhouse.
Gatlinburg, Tennesee, 1977.
Both of us loved to travel – she visited thirty-six countries with me, forty-five US states, and seven Canadian provinces. We loved weekend getaways and visited Gatlinburg, Tennesee a couple of times. St. Simonds Island and Hilton Head were our favorite southern beach destinations though we’re pictured in Charleston, SC, a place we liked but was a seven hour drive from our Dunwoody home.
Charleston, SC, 1987