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Re: Blumenfelds/Loss
Posted by: Sean Bentley (ID *****9790) Date: June 28, 2011 at 19:45:17
In Reply to: Re: Blumenfelds by Mary Tim Baggott of 13

Thought you'd be interested in this excerpt from Lena Laser's husband David Blumenfeld's diary.

On May 15th (1912) Lena Laser Blumenfeld received a letter from Chicago from her brother Philip Laser saying that he was sending on their mother, Libshe Loss Laser, who had recently come from Europe.
Libshe was a small rawboned woman. She was shriveled, knotted and dried up, but resilient. Her hands especially were gnarled joints that showed suffering from arthritis. Her face was the color of a withered leaf and seemed crackled with wrinkles. She had dark eyes and skin and the sheitl [wig], without which no virtuous wife was complete, for a married woman must sacrifice her tresses on the altar of the home, lest she snare other men with such sensuous bait.
Libshe had married Moses Laser. They lived in Girtegola [now Girkalnis], a hamlet on the highway about fifteen miles from Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania. They owned a roadhouse. They had a large garden patch where they raised their own garden truck. They had a few cows and chickens for their own use. Libshe was known far and wide among the travelers and military officers for her good cooking and baking, and for the meals she served. She walked in her white apron with the bunch of keys hanging by her side, her small dark eyes close and deep and most of the time half shut, and moving nervously and looking with suspicion at the local Russian revenue officers who were always after her for “hush money” from roadhouses. Libshe was the manager of the place, as her husband was an easygoing, religiously inclined man. She bore six children, two girls, Yette and Lena, then three boys, Pesach [Philip] and Harry and David [Moshe], and the youngest, a girl, Mary. Her husband died in his fortieth year. She [became] a widow with six children to look after.
...She [then] married a widower with several children from his former wife. So her [own] children were forced to shift for themselves. Yette went to America, and later [1884] Lena went to her. The boys somehow landed in England; later they came to America and to Chicago where they followed the baker’s trade.
Libshe’s second husband died. As he left no will to protect her, the children of her second husband ejected her from the premises out into the cold and she was forced to go to America to her children.
When she arrived in Minneapolis [1912] she was met by her two daughters. She recognized Yette, though hazily, but kept on asking, “Where is Lena?” She could not believe that Lena was her child standing there, for when they left her the girls were two scrawny youngsters, and now they were fully blossomed women.

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