This post is a little different than what you’ve heard from me, but it’s a true story of resilience and pushing through setbacks. We’ll resume our regular newsletter topics next week.
She lost her job on a Friday.
She was devastated. It was her first job out of college, and she loved it.
She carried herself back to her apartment, picked up the phone, and dialed the number she knew so well: home.
Her mother picked up. Through her tears, she told her mother what happened. It was unfair, it was awful, she felt sick.
She wanted to come home for the weekend. She wanted to hide out for a few days. She wanted to wallow.
But her mother didn’t do wallowing.
Her own life had not been easy.
Born in Brooklyn in 1920, she was the younger daughter of a clothing store owner. She was one of the first women to attend Hunter College, in New York.
As a young woman, she went against her parents’ wishes by marrying a man from the other side of the tracks, her first love. She lost her first child, a daughter, as a toddler. Two sons followed.
When her husband died in WWII, she was left with two children under three years old.
She was overwhelmed with sadness and she even thought about ending it all, but she pushed through.
To support herself she became a seamstress, eventually becoming a master seamstress. She was incredible. She could make anything and make it beautiful.
She married her second husband and they had two children. Then their family of six moved from New York to Mississippi.
Theirs was the only Jewish family in their small town. But despite curious looks, probing questions, and even phoned threats, she never shrunk back or apologized for who she was.
She didn’t do wallowing.
That night on the phone, the woman waited to hear those words of comfort so she could run home.
But her mother said no.
“Today is Friday. The classified ads come out on Sunday. Pick up a paper and get a job. Then you can come home and we can celebrate.”
Shocked and hurt, the woman hung up the phone. And that Sunday, she picked up the classifieds.
The woman in this story is my Mom. Her mother, my grandmother.
I heard this story this past week as we shared memories about my grandmother, Shirley Greenfield, who passed away last Monday at 98.
She was a formidable woman. She endured hardships and tragedies, and who never wallowed, but rather looked ahead to the next happy occasion.
So much of what I’ve learned from her has led me to where I am, and even directly led to helping me sell. Active, enaged listening. Proudly taking up your own space. Being resourceful. Lifelong learning.
I was lucky to have her in my life for 37 years.
Thanks for reading.