Friday, October 16, 2015

OBIT | Ruth Hirsch (1913-1995)

The front of the card that Ruth was given at her
retirement party. I would put a credit in here but
 I don't know who the clever artist was.
Ruth was born in 1913, destined to bring great joy to her nieces and nephews.

This joy perhaps offset the creation in the same year she was born of the two most currently unpopular institutions in the United States - the Federal Reserve System and the Internal Revenue Service.

Her 80th birthday was in 1993. She retired that year. She passed away at Lenox Hill Hospital two years later, in 1995.

This post is a testimony to her selfless life. It is also a way to share with other members of the family an album of family photos that we gave to her on her 80th birthday.

The drawing at left is by the art director of the book publishing firm for which she did proofreading. She was an excellent proofreader.

In a later day, when women's potential was not as limited, she would have been a publishing company officer.

Her 80th Birthday Party, 1993

It is good to remember the pleasure that Ruth had in her 80th birthday in 1993.

Brigid put together an album for her that she was overjoyed with. It was among the things that Ruth left behind for Herbert to sort out in 1995 and it was in his estate when he died in 2006. Most of the album will eventually be included in this post. I am just entering a few of the items now to open up a space to add more.

Here is the inside of the card that her office gave Ruth on her retirement:

Retirement card for Ruth, 1993.

The title page of the album Brigid prepared.

And now for the album.

The first page shown at left displays a younger Ruth with a blue ribbon drawn by Brigid over her head. Ruth as a young woman was quite good-looking. She had several suitors. But she also had a mother and father who needed her at home. She was the only daughter in the family. From my perspective, she was something of a prisoner - probably more typical than the freedom Americans experience when they leave home. In the moment of her emancipation, she lost the use of one of her eyes and could not use her freedom.

Each family provided a photo or two or three or four to add to the album.

Montreal, 1949. Brigid, Lis, Ruth, her mother, Hilda.
The next photo below left is of Ruth's visit to us all in Montreal when Elisabeth was about four years old - 1949.

That was about when Trusty arrived as well, in a little pail - something I will never forget. It was round the time that Mom wrote Patsy and the Pup, with Trusty as the model for the pup.

It was bad year for Hilda, because her mother died and she lost her seventh child after delivery, and her ability to have any more. Annus horribilis.

Ruth was extremely fond of her nephews and nieces and greatly enjoyedvisiting them and seeing them in New York City.

She would provide collectively expensive gifts for all of them every year.

Mom and Dad encouraged her to buy useful things like pajamas.

The Tepper Marlins (John, Alice, Jay, Caroline) and O'Neills (Shane, Sheila
Roisin, Caitrin, Liaidain and Ailise), 1980.
The next photo at right skips to 1981 when we were in Austria. Caroline is wearing a kimono - we had been in Japan and we stopped off in Austria on the way back.

Daddy used to rent vacation homes every summer and then would lure his grandchildren to spend time with them.

Caroline was about four and Jay was seven.

The other children are the four O'Neill girls.

Brigid Marlin

Not in the group photo is Brigid, who is next at left. She is the one who engineered the gift of the album and tied all the photos together with drawings. She is looking very happy.

Brigid had three sons - Benny, Christopher and Desmond.

She wrote about her eldest son in A Meaning for Danny.

Next we have several photos of the Paulsen family.

Ruth was devoted to her Paulsen niece and nephew and the three great-nieces.

More photos to come.

The Paulsens (Tom, Marbeth, Kari, Kendall, Kate)

A home-made birthday card from Hilda.

For Ruth's 80th birthday, her sister-in-law Hilda drew her a flower and wrote her a poem.

Paulsens in New York with Aunt Ruth.
Ruth, Jay, Tom
Ruth between two of her three brothers,
Herbert (L) and Maurice (R).

Ruth's Death, 1995

Two years after her 80th birthday, Ruth died in Lenox Hill hospital. I brought her a pot of flowers but the nurse in charge said I was not allowed to leave them because some other patients might be allergic. So they were held at the desk. Ruth was sitting up in a chair in the E.R. so that intravenous fluid and vital signs could be monitored. I gave her a kiss and she said "delicious".

I went out to meet Herbert, who had come to see Ruth. I asked if he wanted to visit first and he said he would have lunch at the hospital cafeteria first so as not to tire her out, since I had just been to see her. But when we got back to Ruth's room, she had died.

The next morning the hospital nurse called to say she was sorry that Ruth didn't get to see the flowers I brought her. "If we had known..."

If anyone ever knew...

I said that they should keep the flowers and give them to someone who could enjoy them.

We had a memorial service for her with a card. The four siblings died in birth order. They are all buried together in the same grave with their parents.

Ruth's picture is the one of her when she visited us in Ireland in 1951-53. She was on O'Connell Street in Dublin with Brigid.

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