“Once upon a time there were two little girls who did everything together…” – from skipping school together in grade 1 to eventually marrying two brothers. Aunty Gitel used to start all her speeches that way when she would speak welcoming my family at a shabbos table or at one of my events (simchas or yahrtzeits).
Aunty Gitel was like a second mother to me from the time I was a little girl, coming to Kitchener for a week or two in the summer, when she would make sure I would eat my peanut butter on toast before sending us off to day camp, to singing “Que Serra Serra” at night when putting us to bed, escorting us with Uncle Phyvel to New York on our way to Israel when we made Aliyah, the special times I had with them on their visits to Israel, and of course I couldn’t have my wedding without them! Moving to Detroit brought our yearly summer visits to Kitchener kind of full circle. Your mother made us feel so special and at home. I cherish those memories.
Of course it was so bashert that your parents were with me when I got the news of my mother’s death. Although Aunty Gitel was very much saddened by the loss, she took charge and helped plan the details of Jack’s, Bentzion’s, and my trip to Israel. Unfortunately two months later she was to lose Uncle Phyvel and her life as she knew it. I remember her saying “In two months I lost my two best friends.” Well now she is laying right in between her two best friends.
חכמת נשים בנתה ביתה. And what a בית she built. But after the horrible tragedy of losing her life with Uncle Phyvel, she picked herself up, brushed herself off, and built a wonderful life with Marcus. Even though Aunty Gitel always wanted to visit my family in Detroit, it was hard for Uncle Phyvel to get away. With Marcus, she was able to visit and we always looked forward to her yom tov visits.
Her youthfulness was contagious. I never wanted to seem older than her. She had a way of looking at the world through rose colored glasses. I always wanted to try those glasses on. She was so proud of her family. We were all the best of everything! She was so thankful for her life…
Jack and I spent many Shabbosim with her either at Chavi’s or Leahla’s. We would talk about anything and everything and sing The Great American Songbook songs with her. She knew all the words and I must say, Jack and Aunty Gitel made beautiful music together… I still think of her when I hear those songs…
The world is not the same without Aunty Gitel.