Wednesday, January 5, 2011

End of an Era

Oh, sorry. Have to go off topic again. Because yesterday, the chic woman in the photo slipped away at the age of 104. She--named Ida Tumarkin when married to her first husband, Sam (pictured above)--was my husband's grandmother. Sam was his grandfather. When she was born, she was named Ida Zweig. And when she died (or slipped away), she was named Ida Kesselman. I love this photo, especially the easy physicality of their companionship. Sam loved boats, and here they are, on the water.
     I could tell many stories about Ida (Sam was gone by the time I entered the family). For now, I'll just share the above image and another one: that she danced in spike heels at her 80th birthday party. As my husband said of her, "The evening gown is her business suit." He said this because she was a very active community leader and fundraiser on the gala benefit circuit.
     Until about 10 years ago, she lived in a glorious light-and-color-filled apartment in Miami Beach. As my daughter said when she heard that Ida was gone, "She was an institution." And I suppose that's true when you've lived so long. For my husband, having Ida alive into his middle age prolonged a phase of life beyond what most people experience. Few of our contemporaries even have one parent alive, yet my husband still had Ida (and both parents). It's a family with lots of longevity. Jim's mother, Janet, is on her way to Ida's funeral as I write this.
     I remember my mother saying that no matter how old someone was, nor how long they lingered with their illness, it's always a shock when they die. It's that final finality, the hole left in the world.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful tribute!

Susan Messer said...

Thanks. I was thinking last night about the time Ida (when she was 80+ years old) taught my daughter to jump rope. That was very amusing--standing out in the sun on the patio in Miami Beach--and watching the lesson.

Jim Poznak said...

It's true, about a death of even a very infirm person leaving a hole. Although for the past few years Ida was not quite the same bright jewel of a woman whom I had known for all of my life, her passing is nevertheless a great loss.

Susan Messer said...

I was thinking that they look like they could be in Antonioni's L'Avventura.

Margaret P. said...

To think that Ida lived through almost the entire 20th century. All the changes that she saw going on around her, all the ups and downs she must have gone through personally. Volumes of living.

Susan Messer said...

Oh, yeah. Not to mention traveling all over the world . . . and baking thousands of cookies for her children and grandchildren. the cookie baking was a central image that carried over the decades.

Jeff said...

She was an amazing woman! I don't know you Susan, but Sam was my great Uncle (my Dad's uncle) and Ida thus my great Aunt. I have so many memories of both of them, and when I lived in Miami did go boating with them :-) Ida came to my wedding and we stayed in touch over the years.
-Jeff Tumarkin

Susan Messer said...

Jeff,

thanks so much for stopping by and leaving this note. I'm married to Jim Poznak. His mother (Janet) is Ida's daughter. I'll let them know that you're around. Who was your dad?

Jeff said...

Ohhh OK, I know Janet I just never met Jim. I know Gerry and Linda too. My dad is Joel, his father Herman was Ida's first husband Sam's brother. I was sorry to miss the last Tumarkin reunion in San Diego but that was the weekend we drove our daughter to college. I hear there is talk about the next reunion being here in DC and that I have been volunteered by my dad to coordinate lol Hopefully we will meet you guys then!

Susan Messer said...

Yes, of course I know your parents. I wasn't at the SD reunion but I was at the Chicago one. And I'd met them previously, at other family events.

Just got off the phone with Janet, and she was telling me many stories about Herman (her favorite uncle) and your father as a young boy. And about you and your daughter and your sister. Funny how the internet opens up the possibilities for connection.

Thanks again for stopping by.

rasirds@cox.net said...

Ida lives in the hearts of all of those who knew her. How wonderful to read something so inspiring during these troublesome times.

Susan Messer said...

Thanks, dear. These are troubling times.