Sue proudly and lovingly displayed photos that were special to her in attractive frames, or on prominent walls. Four years ago, when I moved into my apartment, all of her favored pictures were gathered in to a visibly prime display space in my living room. With the creation of these online photo albums, the space can be re-purposed for what it was designed for – placement of a laptop to stream shows into the adjacent home entertainment center.
Samuel and Sadie Bernstein celebrate 50th Wedding Anniversary
The Bernstein family gathering for celebrating Samuel and Sadie Roth Bernstein’s 50th wedding anniversary is my most treasured photo – my mother’s whole family is gathered. My grandfather, born Shimon Berghenstein in 1870, left Austria in 1895 and arrived at Ellis Island at age 25 where he was renamed by the Irish immigration official who could not say his name – Samuel Bernstein. Voila.
Samuel married Sadie Roth, left her in Austria with Rose, Joe, and Fanny to go to America and get a job as a furrier. Remarkably, he brought the family over two years later. Morris, and Jeanne were born in the US, my mother is the baby.
L – R: Rose and Morris Bernstein, Betty Goldstein with father Irving, Joe and Minnie Bernstein, Fanny and Harry Becker, and Jeanne and Bernie Heller. Rose Bernstein was Italian and Catholic; she and Morris divorced five years later. Rose Goldstein was ill that night – her daughter Betty subbed for her. Irving Goldstein is of Romanian origin.
Betty Goldstein, now about 83, is the only person in the picture still living. She married Mel Mintz who played a major role in the computerization of the textile industry – Mel passed a few years ago.
Joe Bernstein became a successful insurance broker and the family patriarch; Minnie was the first college educated woman in the family and successfully battled breast cancer for the last thirty years of her life. Fanny, the middle child, married Harry Becker, a man of German origin, who was a plumber and luncheonette owner. Morris Bernstein, an easy-going man who ran marginal cleaning stores, moved to Florida after divorcing Rose and lived with Elsie Melniker for the rest of his life.
Freda Heller, my Dad’s mom, immigrated from Belarus at age five (1900). She married Albert Heller who died at age forty in 1927. Jeanne and Bernie, my mother and father married in 1935 at age twenty-one. My sister Bobbie was born in 1941, me in 1946 – proud baby-boomer that I am.
I am ten months old in this picture and did not walk until I was seventeen months. Sue is a year old in the following picture. It’s my opinion that she looked more like a Campbell’s soup kid than any other American child.
Sue – one year old.
My theory – to be tested by an upcoming DNA ancestry search – is that in 1740 Mennonite Joachim Heller and his five sons left German speaking Switzerland and landed in Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania colonial government opened up the northeastern corner for settlement by driving the Leni Lenape Indians out.
Joachim and his five sons moved in. They opened up the first trading store, started the first farm, and established Hellertown in the Lehigh / Saucon Valley. Fifteen years later, apparently annoyed by a new elite, the Heller family moved fifteen miles east to found Penn-Argyll.
Albert Heller, around 1911, supposedly moved from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, where he grew up to Newark, NJ for a job. He met Freda Belford, proposed, and was rejected until he converted to Judaism and was also circumcised.
Albert managed a carnival and traveled up and down the coast. He supposedly died of pneumonia in 1927 in a small southern town and was buried in Newark.
The woman in the following picture is the most mysterious photo I’ve ever possessed. She is my great grandmother yet I do not know her first name nor anything about her. My mother developed hard feelings towards this branch and shielded Bobbie and I from them during our formative stages. I presume she is a Christian woman and given the gown, may be associated with a religious order such as the alleged Mennonites.
My Grandfather Albert was supposedly very hard on Bernie and Ralph; when Albert drank, he could become abusive. Albert traveled with the carnival – Freda sometimes joined him on the road and sent the boys to stay with relatives.
The below picture of my father is the only one I ever saw of him as a child. Bernie spoke very little about him – my mother always changed the subject when I brought it up.
Bernie Heller, about ten years old.
My sister Bobbie Heller Polinsky, age 4, flanked by her Uncle Ralph Heller (L) and her father Bernie Heller (R).
Sister Bobbie Heller Polinsky with husband Arnold Polinsky.
Sue loved this picture of my sister and brother-in-law; a copy adorns a wall of mine with other beloved family pictures.
Craig, Carrie, and Brett Polinsky.
Given that the three Polinsky children were born two years apart, Brett is ten here, Craig eight, Carrie six.
Picture of Sasha with cousins Carrie and Craig Polinsky.
My cousin Ivan Heller, in 1985, migrated from New Jersey to Atlanta at age thirty-six. He married Gail Zweigel who had a son Ethan with first husband Hank Zweigel. Jared Heller, about three months old in below picture, is now twenty-six.
L – R: Ivan Heller, Arnold Heller, Sasha Heller, about 12 – 13, Ralph Heller. Ralph passed away five years ago, Ivan three years ago.
Sasha Heller, age nine; Melissa Zandman, age 6; Adam Zandman, age 4.
This picture was taken in 1988 in Great Smokey National Park in Cherokee, NC. They spent so many camping trips together that Sash was almost like a big brother to Melissa and Adam.
Fiftieth birthday party picture.
This happy picture is worth another showing.
Photo of Sasha, age 14, and my mother Jeanne and husband Rubie Polinsky at Sasha’s Bar Mitzvah (1992).
Left picture: Sue and I in Kiowa Island, SC, at Heller – Polinsky – Auerbach family reunion. Right picture: Sue with Nan Haas Feldman around 1987 in Framingham, Mass. Nan and Sue became best friends age twelve.
Excursion from Alaska Sea & Land Cruise
Yes, that is me under all of that protective wear which is needed to handle the flying mud and swirling dust. This was the only time in my life on an all-terrain vehicle which I rode very carefully. We arrived in Denali, found our excursion outfit, and drove down a river bed, over hills and down trails for an hour – loved every second.
Life is a journey and I’m still on my way.