Bernice FUCHS nee Bina SCHWARTZ(BORT) was my grandmother’s youngest sibling. She was born in Poland (probably in Ostrow) in 1911 and came to the U.S.(with her mother and siblings) on the Gothland from Danzig, arriving 9 October 1920 in New York. The interesting thing here is that her father, Enoch Ber (Henry) SCHWARZBORT, had arrived in the U.S. (on the Zieten from Bremen) on 5 March 1910. That pretty much means that Bernice was essentially a parting gift from her father.
When I was little, I used to ask her how old she was and she would say, "the same as your mother. 18." Except I knew how old Mom was, so I knew Bernice was lying.
She married Ely FUCHS in Brooklyn in 1956. Since they married relatively late in life, they never had children. Fortunately, they got their quota of child interaction via my brother and me (and our two first cousins). We saw them a fair amount as they lived in Far Rockaway, less than 10 miles from us. Later on, they became snowbirds, with a place in Florida. I know they had made earlier trips to Florida because I remember them bringing us horribly tacky things like a change purse with a picture of an alligator on it.
Bernice had a piano, but the only song Bernice could play was something called "The Little Fairy Waltz." She had reproduction Degas paintings hanging in their house and I remember at least one musical jewelry box with a rotating ballerina. She was also the person who responded to my request for a chemistry set by giving me a make your own perfume kit, which she thought was a more suitable feminine equivalent.
Bernice died around 1987, I think. She didn’t make a will, but Ely gave money to my brother, me, and our two first cousins. He remarried in early 1988 and lived until 2002.
Bernice didn’t leave much of a paper trail, frankly. I’ve found no evidence she was ever naturalized, for example. I think I should be able to find school records for her, but I haven’t yet. She even managed to be buried in a cemetery which doesn’t have its records on-line. I’m not entirely sure she would approve of my saying so much about her, so I’ll at least do her the favor of not including a photo here.
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