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mezzotint

12.5 x 10.5 in.

Beverly, 2008

My mother was born Beverly Selzer in the Bronx, New York on December 12, 1927. Beverly was a wonderful person – a loving mother to us, a second mother to others, a devoted wife and best friend to many. She brightened the lives of all who came in contact with her; she was unbelievably kind and warm. Her enormous heart and love caused her friends to joke that she had wings like an angel. She surely has them now.

 

Beverly Sokolow embodied the spirit, success and mobility of the first and second generation of American-born Jews who came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Arriving with next to nothing, she, like many, embraced the American dream; through hard work and perseverance, many were able to establish comfortable lives for themselves and their children.

 

Like many women of her generation, Beverly graduated high school and went directly into the workforce. Unlike most, she continued to work after marriage while raising two sons, myself and Richard. She was a bookkeeper for a millenary (hat maker), a gas station, and finally a prestigious automobile dealership, where she was promoted to office manager. During that time, Beverly and her family moved from the Bronx to Jackson Heights, Queens and then to suburban Spring Valley, New York. She also managed to return to school where she earned a degree from Empire State College.

 

Beverly loved to travel, see the world and meet all sorts of people. With her husband Martin, she visited Africa, Europe and Asia. They were among the first American tourists to visit China and Russia after barriers were lifted. Retiring to Florida in the mid-1990's, she remained active in her community, Newport Cove. Only weeks before her untimely death, she was on a Caribbean cruise.

 

Beverly battled breast cancer three times over a period of twenty years. Despite these battles, she was always concerned more for others than for herself. My mother’s legacy to us was the realization that the heart knows no bounds; there isn’t a finite amount of love to give; and, if you open your heart, you will be loved in return. She died on January 24, 2009 in Delray Beach, Florida.

 

Michael Sokolow