She was an outspoken and strong woman who loved red lipstick that left a telltale mark when she kissed your cheek. She loved designer shoes – especially if they were discounted at Loehmanns. She adored “making parties” and fur coats. She also could not resist a good hot dog, no matter what diet she was on.
Most of all she loved her four children, ten grandchildren, four great grandchildren, her nieces and nephews and her friends.
Stelly grew up in Brooklyn during the Great Depression – her family moved many times during her adolescence as they struggled to earn a living. She said she found solace in “moving pictures” and was a regular at the theatre. She served in the army during World War II as a sergeant and founded a successful business with her husband.
Stelly was born the same year as Betty Friedan – 1921- at a time when women were supposed to be housewives, but she wanted to break the mold and work. At my law school graduation a dozen years ago, she said that she was so happy that there was no stigma anymore for women to be professionals, and she wished it had been like that for her generation. But, she said, as she watched the 400 new lawyers stream out of the concert hall, “Does there really have to be so many lawyers?”
Stelly usually told it like she saw it, whatever the topic and whomever the listener. But she was exceedingly proud of all of the members of her family, even if she may have had an opinion to share about one’s new haircut or career choice.
She used to say that when she was sad, wearing bright colors made her happier. Hopefully her trick will work in the coming days and months as we mourn Stelly, and cherish our fond memories of that vibrant woman.