(Eulogy of Anna S. Price read by Hersch
Memories of Mum as recalled by my wife -- Phyllis
Many adjectives could be used to describe my mother -- immaculate, refined, polite, well-spoken, reserved, well-groomed, etc. -- but she was also very determined. She and her younger sister and brother were born and raised in a loving Orthodox home in Rockland, Maine -- a Yankee coastal town known for lobsters, the Samoset Hotel, and more recently for Windjammer Cruises. However, long winters and a lack of marriageable Jewish men, plus a few feminist cousins in Revere, all convinced her to come to Boston. She informed her family of the move by means of a telegram.
Shortly afterward she met my father, and after a brief courtship that involved trolleys and buses at impossibly late hours, my Mother announced to my father "June is a lovely month to get married." And so they did in June of 1938. They took a one-bedroom apartment in Brighton and within 5 months, my Mother convinced my Aunt Ada to leave Rockland and come live with them, which she did for nearly nine years. My Mother did all the cooking, cleaning, food shopping, laundry, and charged Ada $3.00/week room and board. Later they all moved to a 2-bedroom apartment and when I was born, my crib was put into Ada’s room; that arrangement stood until my sister Adel1/2 years later.
And later in 1942 Mum summoned my Uncle Maynard to Boston so that he could attend Boston University as a commuting student. He slept in our living room and paid $4.00/week room and board because my mother made him lunch (bologna sandwiches for a year). My Mother and Father worried about and took care of all of us, including nieces and nephews and especially my grandparents. That is the history.
My Mother was determined as well as ambitious for Adele and me. I think the term "benevolent dictator" applies -- Mum had high standards and high expectations for us. I can still hear her saying: "Phyllis, put on a little lipstick; Adele, get the hair off your face; scrub your feet; don't sit on the yellow loveseat; Nat, change that shirt." I grew up believing that there must be an eleventh commandment that stated: Thou shalt not leave the bed unmade. Adele and I didn't have to ask my Mother for her opinion on an action or issue; we knew how she thought and what her response would be. We knew where she stood. We all loved to tease her, especially Dad, and even Craig joined in. Mum never minded the teasing; as a former Rockland High School champion debater, she could defend her position when required.
In the early years Hersch & I moved frequently. Mum would arrive on the scene with rubber gloves, shelf paper and a batch of fresh brownies, and with amazing energy help us unpack and put away our belongings in record time. She would make up the beds first so that we could crawl into bed when we crashed. She could make a house into a home overnight. And when we came back to Massachusetts, our family of four moved into their modest home for eight weeks while our house was being completed. Only my Mother shared my unbridled enthusiasm for selecting tile, paint and wallpaper; she said it was the best summer ever.
Fortunately for us, my parents always had devoted family and friends - my father made friends in a heartbeat and my mother made them part of their lives. This was especially true with Hersch's parents and Lesley and David's grandparents who remained lifelong friends. Even when illness struck, Mum enjoyed the summers at our home, where she could be among family. As the eldest child, she readily assumed the role of matriarch of our extended family, a responsibility she took very seriously. Mum used her experience as a homemaker, her considerable talents, her religious and ethical values learned from her extraordinary mother, and her love and devotion to our well-being, to reign as the head of the family for many decades; we loved her dearly. My mother has influenced us profoundly, and left her mark on all of us.