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Frieda Merel - My Mother-In-Law

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Frances Merel

I loved Frieda Merel, my mother-in-law.

She was president of the Menorah Chapter of the Bronx some 65 years ago and she made me a life member of Hadassah.

When she picked up my mother, who was a hat collector, to be sure she attended every meeting; first she went to my mothercloset to take a hat to wear at the meeting, since the president had to always be dressed well.

As her daughter-in-law, I had to attend all the functions, from fashion shows to donor luncheons. I even had a speaking part in a play her chapter put on for a fundraiser.

Shari Lewis, the puppeteer who was on TV, whose puppet was Lamb Chops, was also in the play since her mother was a member of Menorah.

Frieda was a lifelong and devoted Hadassah member. She would never accept an excuse from a member for not attending a meeting. Snow, hail, hurricane were no reasons to miss a meeting. If it was bad weather, so what?

Frieda was a fabulous president because she knew how to handle people. At every donor luncheon there was always someone that complained about where she was seated, but Mother diplomatically would tell her, t you know that wherever you sit is the head table?

They would be satisfied and leave smiling. We surely could use people with her style in the world today. I try to emulate her in my dealings with people every day, but I donll ever do it as well as she did.

As unusual as it is to hear, I deeply loved my mother-in-law.

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