Joshua Gortler and architects during the groundbreaking for The Summit at First Hill, on July 11, 1999
Part of Kline Galland's senior services, The Summit at First Hill is the only Jewish retirement community in Washington State.
Cora Gray and Bernice Stern at the groundbreaking ceremony for The Summit at First Hill, July 11, 1999
The Faces of the Summit showcases some photos and stories that show the rich, varied histories of the members of the retirement community at the Summit.
I was born Adele Levine and raised in New York where I lived thirty years of my life as a New Yorker. My father was a pharmacist and one day he sent me to a wholesale supplier to buy medicine for a prescription. There I not only found the medicine, but I also found my future husband, Irving Sharaga who also was a pharmacist. We were married for sixty-four years. Soon I had two sons and was happy to be a stay at home mom when they were young. My husband’s pharmacy was around the corner from where we lived in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. After my father’s early death, my mother and sister moved in with my aunt who lived close by. It was a special time having our family living so close together. When I was thirty, we moved to Oradell, New Jersey and lived in that beautiful suburban town for fifty-eight years where my sons received an excellent public school education. I immediately joined the Parent Teacher Association and became chairman of the safety committee. I fought for sidewalks on busy streets, traffic lights on important crossings near the elementary school, and bike racks. Suddenly everybody got to know me in town. After moving into Oradell, we learned that there were only twelve Jewish families in town. Making sure my boys had a good Jewish education was important to us, so we joined a synagogue in a neighboring town where they each became a Bar Mitzvah. I also discovered that we needed a hospital closer to our town. I heard that a group of women from Westwood were working to raise funds and were asking for help from other towns in the Pascack Valley. I invited twenty neighborhood women to my home and we decided to start a fundraising group in Oradell. I spent most of my time working on this hospital project and was elected chairman three terms. After seven years our combined women’s groups succeeded in raising one million dollars. This was all through local efforts such as bake sales, dances and "come as you are" breakfasts. When matched by government funds, we had enough money to build Pascack Valley Hospital. After many years I was honored as the town’s Volunteer of the Year. In the seven month period between December 17th, 2003 and July 11th, 2004, I lost five people that I loved. Starting with my younger son, followed by my two brother-in-law’s. Next was my closest friend who lived across the street who burned to death in her home, ending with my husband who fought a hard battle with cancer. These tragic events led me to leave the home I loved. I waited six years before gathering the courage to move in 2009 to Seattle, where my older son Ken had established himself as a lawyer. I love The Summit at First Hill, the residents, the staff, and even the Pacific Northwest climate. I don’t know why anyone complains about the weather it is so much better than the east coast winters and summers. Now I am the luckiest mother to be living just two blocks from Ken. Living near each other makes Seattle our home.
Alan and Bonnie Stone
For many years Alan woke up every morning by looking at Bonnie and saying, “I’m sorry!” He figured this would give him a pass for the rest of the day. Call it a preemptive move or just plain smart it has worked for them for the past sixty-five years. These days he begins each morning by saying, “Good morning, sunshine.” They agree starting their days this way is the key to a successful marriage. They believe that marriage is about “give and take.” As they finished each other’s sentence, they both came up with the phrase, “caring and sharing.” This is what they said to each other on their fiftieth anniversary and it still holds true today. They met on a blind date when Alan moved here from Chicago. Bonnie is a native and went to high school at Garfield. Alan had first dated Bonnie’s friend until she “ditched” him and “gave” him to Bonnie. The friend’s loss was Bonnie’s gain. Bonnie and Alan have three children, three grandchildren and two honorary grandchildren, their cousin’s kids. To sum it up, “We are comfortable with each other."
I was born in a small town near Frankfurt Germany and had a very happy childhood. Then the Nazis came to power and suddenly there was much anti-Semitism. My parents arranged for me and my brother to continue our schooling in England. I was ten years old. My parents began their search to come to the United States, but had to wait three years before obtaining a visas. My mother’s younger sister had moved to New York and was hired by the head of Sears Roebuck to help bring his relatives out of Germany. Luckily my aunt was able to obtain visas for many, many families through this contact, an amazing gift. My parents, brother and I arrived in New York on April 16, 1939 just prior to the Second World War. For many years we have celebrated this event with an ice cream cone on April 16th and now the younger generations have joined this tradition also having ice cream on April 16th. My aunt had an apartment ready for us and I was enrolled in 6th grade in a New York public school and graduated from high school in February 1945. I had always wanted to be a nurse and graduated from Adelphi College in 1947 as an RN with a BS in Nursing. I soon left New York, first for San Francisco and then Boise, Idaho where there was a polio epidemic. In 1948 I moved to Seattle as I had an uncle there. I was hired by the King County Visiting Service where I worked to further my nursing career. I also decided to meet some young Jewish people and joined Hillel at the University of Washington where I met my husband, Will Brown. We were married April 1949. Will was working at Boeing as an engineer, but soon decided to teach. Our family moved many times while Will was teaching. We also moved when he decided to return to school and earn his PHD in Science Education at the University of Florida in 1963. As a registered nurse I was able to find work that I loved in every community where we lived. I had jobs ranging from being a school nurse to my favorite job as a public health nurse. We have two children, two grandchildren, four step grandchildren and one great granddaughter and four step great grandchildren. I believe it is important to document your family and life. I am very lucky to have extensive journals that chronicle generations. I am continuing that tradition by writing the story of my life, “My Life Has Been an Adventure - 80 Years of Reminiscences.” I wrote it for my family but so many friends asked for copies, that I sold the books for $35 and was able to donate $3,000 to our Infant and Toddler program at the preschool in Bellingham.
Life has not been boring.
Anne Mezistrano Hirschhorn
There were two loves in my life, reading and dancing. As a child, I never missed the story hour at Seattle Public Library on Yesler. My brothers always knew where I had been reading because I ate apples and left the core behind. As a fourteen year old I had my first job at the library shelving books for twenty-five cents an hour. I started my second love at The Settlement House near Washington Junior High School with tap dance lessons. I clearly remember my blue and white check costume. As a teenager I even came in second at a dance contest at Temple De Hirsch Sinai. After I married I didn’t dance for a long time, in fact not until I was in my eighties. I was at an exercise class that included a dance routine and many people asked if I had dance training. I said, “Yes, when I was seven years old!”
I moved from California to Seattle when I was six years old and my family settled in a neighborhood called Laurelhurst. It wasn’t until I was in Roosevelt High School that I encountered anti-Semitism and my being “Jewish” became an obstacle to having friends. I remember a time when a friend called me and told me she couldn’t be my friend anymore when her parents found out I was Jewish. My family was very active at Temple De Hirsch and I went to Sunday school where I met the Jewish friends who have been a part of my life ever since. I attended two years of college at University of Washington and then worked in an accounting office until I met and married my husband, Harry. I became a stay at home mom to our three children. I was married for sixty years and have three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. When I married Harry and took his last name I became Barbara Bush... well once George Bush became President and Barbara the First Lady, I had to laugh.You can’t imagine how many times I was called a liar when I tried to make dinner reservations!
I recently moved from the East Coast where I had lived in upstate New York for most of my life. I was moving to Seattle to be closer to my daughter and to be around people my same age. My friend told me before I moved into The Summit, “Barbara... participate, try new things and be outgoing.”
I followed her advice with no regrets! Moving to a big city like Seattle from small town Hudson, New York has been easier than I expected. People here are friendly and everything is so convenient. Best of all is the change it has brought out in me. I have jump-started my “inner outgoing” personality. I have always been a social person which served me well as a clothing shop owner for sixteen years. I love being with my family. I have two amazing daughters and a wonderful son. I also am lucky to have two marvelous daughters-in-law, and two terrific grandsons! As my grandmother always said, “I have wonderful kinder!”
You might think I’m too old to improve or change.
But I awake each morning with the thought
What will I learn?
What new adventure awaits me today?
I do have some memory problems.
But that only helps to make each tomorrow
Something to look forward to.
That at this late stage in life,
There is more for me to grasp.
Selfishly, I have set these goals.
For without them what would my life be like?
What have I learned in life? Stay healthy, stay upright, and don’t do anything dumb. But the most important thing I have learned is “don’t assume.” When you eliminate assumptions it will lead to curiosity and will pay off in the end. This was especially true with how I came to love art. Both my wife’s father and my mother were “Sunday Painters.” They painted to satisfy something inside of them. But it was my wife and living in Manhattan that really opened my eyes to collecting art. When I look at a piece of art it opens my mind to different ideas. Art speaks to everyone in its own way. It allows you to let in foreign thoughts that you never had before.
Lead a good life, don’t lie, don’t cheat, and do unto others. All words of wisdom I have learned along the way. I was born and raised in New York where I lived for most of my life until moving to Florida and then most recently, Seattle to be close to my daughter. It was the culture as a young Jewish woman in New York to socialize at the resorts i n the Catskill Mountains and the local synagogues where they would have basketball games and then a social dance. I met my first husband in the Catskill Mountains where he approached me by saying, “Would you like to dance?” When I said “yes”, he responded, “Okay, we’ll dance later.” That was it for me, we were married for fourteen years and had two daughters. I met my second husband through a mutual friend. At that time everyone was anxious to fix me up on dates. We had our first date on the ferry to Staten Island. You wouldn’t believe how romantic the Staten Island ferry can be. We were married for twenty-three years and now I also have three step-children.
I grew up in Pittsburgh, attended the University of Pittsburgh where I majored in education. I was married for fifty-four years and have two daughters and two sons. I have seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. My husband and I were both only children and grew up in very quiet homes. Unlike the way we were both brought up, we wanted a large family with lots of children and a busy household. We moved to Seattle over fifty years ago so that my husband could work at Boeing. I stayed at home with my kids until they were older and then I began to work as a teacher in a preschool. I have always been a quiet person, probably because of the way I was raised. My husband was a quiet man too but I think that gene must skip generations because my children provided an active home. We always had dogs or cats and lots of extra kids in our home that added to the wonderful chaos. I really enjoyed reading, cooking, baking and being with the family. I have lived at The Summit for three years. These days, I like to sit back, listen, observe and go out as often as I can. I have learned in life it is important to just go with the flow.
I majored in biology at Brooklyn College, and my first job was as a lab technician in the largest hospital in Brooklyn, Kings County Hospital. I was assigned to the Hematology lab and spent many hours there cross-checking blood for safe transfusions. I worked in many other fields before I realized they didn’t have the personal involvement that I needed. I had avoided the field of teaching because I didn’t think I would like it. When my children began school I decided to try teaching so that we would have the same hours. It wasn’t until I became a teacher that I realized just how well it actually suited me. What I hadn’t expected was how much I would love the rapport that I had with my students. I enjoyed each and every day of the twelve years that I taught... I finally had found my calling.
I was born and raised in Seattle and never wanted to live anywhere else. I have traveled the country and the world and this city is the best place to live. The climate, the people... there is nothing like Seattle. I dropped out of high school and joined the Merchant Marines and travelled to Alaska, France, and Israel and all over Europe. I have been a taxi cab driver and have seen it all. I was a landscape contractor and met many people along the way. Seattle has given me a good life with a wonderful family and great friends. My only piece of advice is... “Don’t grow old."
The best thing to do in life is to be able to laugh. As I grow older that becomes more apparent. I try to focus on the positive and find the humor in the challenges of aging. I grew up in San Francisco and moved recently from Berkeley to Seattle to be near one of my three children. I also have seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. My husband was always the “art collector” who “gave me culture” while I “gave him socializing”. We made a pretty good team together. I continue to enjoy culture through my art collection, the opera and the symphony. My move to Seattle has been surprisingly good. I chose to be close to my family and I couldn’t resist the view from my apartment. I plan to live there for the next forty years.
I made my husband quit his job. Then I quit mine. I pulled my teenage children out of school despite their tears. I told them you can cry till New Jersey and then we are on vacation! Even though I had never been to California I had a love affair with that state since I was a little girl, and so I had to follow my dream. We packed up and drove a Ford LTD across the country and when we crossed the border I jumped into my husband’s lap and yelled “We’re here! We’re here!” Our thirty years in California was the best decision I ever made.
I have always loved dogs, especially dachshunds. I think it started with the three dachshunds and cocker spaniel I had as pets. Now I get to enjoy other people’s dogs that live and visit The Summit. In my apartment I have a very large collection of dachshund everything. I have dachshunds on my clothes, jewelry, and anything else you can imagine. Everyone knows this about me and gives me gifts to add to my collection. The other thing I love is volunteering at Kline Galland. I have gone almost every day for the last thirty-four years because I love the residents and I know it’s an important thing to do.
Years ago the mothers did not want children in their kitchens. That changed for me when I was in middle school. I had made oatmeal cookies in my home economics class. I enjoyed baking so much that I came home and asked my mother if I could bake in her kitchen. To my surprise, she said “Yes!” Ever since, baking has been a significant part of my life. It is important for me to continue the Sephardic tradition of baking delicious pastries. My parents were both from the Island of Rhodes and I grew up eating those wonderful baked goods. When my mother baked she always used a green cup as a method of measurement. In those times the women didn’t formalize recipes with actual measurements. If you asked someone about a measurement they would say “you fill a cup.” How long do you bake it? The answer... "not too long.” In order to pass the recipes down through the generations having correct measurements was essential. I revised the old recipes to my taste and feel and wrote down the measurements. I always baked to support my synagogue, Sephardic Bikur Cholim. I am told that I have a reputation for my borecas and over the years, I have been happy to teach others some of my baking secrets. How many borecas have I made? Thousands!
I was born and raised in Seattle and have been fortunate to be able to raise my family in the city that I love. I was lucky to be married to a wonderful man and have three beautiful children. Family has always been the biggest thing in my life. First with the large family I was brought up in. I was the sixth child of eight brothers and sisters. Both my older sisters guided and spoiled me. I always felt like I was raised by three mothers. I was also fortunate to have worked in the cosmetic departments of The Bon Marche and Fredrick and Nelsons since graduating high school. Working gave me financial freedom and the opportunity to “talk, talk, talk,” which is one of my greatest skills. I am also blessed to have lived such a long life which I attribute to both my daily walk and drinking at least six glasses of water. “It helps to stay healthy and that ain’t easy.”
I wasn’t able to attend college, however, being a true Gemini, I acquired an impressive education working with extraordinary people in environments as diverse as arts and science. I hungrily absorbed all I could, enriched by a creative atmosphere in making good ideas come true. Many of these bright talented individuals came from repressive dictatorial countries. For the first time, they had the freedom to voice political dissent. I still hold dear how effortlessly blended were our working lives and our social lives. We still found time to fight for civil rights, women’s rights, the AIDS crisis and political change. My experiences are singularly unforgettable. I believe there was a magical common thread stitched through it all. It was not about what I worked on but whom I worked with. If you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life.
My best advice to people is to “listen carefully”. If you don’t pay attention to what you are doing you can end up in trouble or you can sign up for something you don’t really need. Either way I try not to “stew” about things. I learned the hard way to take each day as it comes. My parents both died when I was very young and I was raised by my grandparents. I went to nursing school in San Francisco and when the night shift ended at midnight we would all go to jazz clubs to listen to the musicians jam. I worked as a nurse until I had my son and wasn't able to work the long shifts. Instead, I took an on call job at The Bon Marche and worked there until I retired. I have been married twice and have one son who lives in Israel. I have four grandchildren and around forty great-grandchildren who also live in Israel. I just turned 102 years old and my secret to long life is... “There is no secret."
I was born in Poland, and lived with my parents and siblings. My grandparents, my aunt, my uncle and their families also lived nearby. But this changed in September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. A year later all Jewish people lived in the ghetto and we had to wear a yellow Star of David on our left arm. On the star the word “Juden” was written. The SS made us sweep the streets and do other chores. In 1943 we were taken on black buses with other young women to the city of Oberlustadt and the concentration camp that was there. We were taken away from our families and I never saw my family again. I worked in the Kluger factory and every day the guards walked us ten kilometers to work. Life was very hard. In May 1945 we were liberated. I met my cousin who had been in a camp nearby. She had typhus but fortunately did recover. Through the Red Cross my cousin found her sister in Sweden. Soon after I met my future husband, Alex, and we immigrated to Sweden where we were married. Through the Swedish Jewish Committee we found jobs and an apartment to live in. I worked in a factory and later got a job in a bank. The people in Sweden were very kind and helpful to us. My husband was a tailor and he became a foreman in a factory that made men’s coats. After a few years we decided to immigrate to the United States because we were missing “Jewish life”. We settled in San Francisco and again met nice people who helped us get jobs. My husband worked at Wilkes Bashford the most exclusive men’s store in San Francisco. Later, I went to Helds Business College and was able to obtain jobs in accounting and payroll. I was married for forty-two years. I have two wonderful children, a daughter and a son. Five grandchildren and two very young great grandchildren. Thank G-d I am blessed. In September 2009, I moved to the Summit where again I met very nice people and made good friends. I am proud to say that on June 13th, 2010 I had my Bat Mitzvah at The Summit along with four other residents. It was a wonderful occasion that I will never forget! In April 2013 my daughter and I went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. where we attended the twentieth reunion of Holocaust survivors. My living testimony can be read at this museum. I have been asked how I have kept such a positive outlook. I have always tried to find the humor in things and I believe that music can make you feel wonderful. I also loved to bake honey cakes and “baker’s cheesecake” and give slices out to neighbors. Now that I can’t bake, I give out candy to my friends and neighbors. Through the years I have tried to keep smiling no matter how hard life gets. I try not to be bitter as I put on my happy face and keep going. The most important lesson I have learned in life is to be nice to each other, respect each other and help each other.
Schick and Frieda Feinberg
Fate has always played an important role in Schick and Frieda’s lives. They were married in January 1949 after meeting each other on a double blind date. They were not originally dating each other that evening but a single word “MESHUGAH” brought them together. Frieda overheard Schick say that Yiddish word to his date and knowing Yiddish herself began a conversation that has lasted over sixty-eight years. Frieda grew up in Dresden, Germany and moved to the United States when she was eleven. Her father was already living in the United States and her older siblings had escaped Germany to Israel. It was time for Frieda and her mother to take the long voyage from Antwerp to New York. They were in the hotel, when they heard an announcement asking for them to come to the office. Afraid that they were in trouble or being sent to a concentration camp they made their way to the office only to find out they would not be able to sail on the original ship. They were told to wait for another boat that would leave in two days. They waited the two days and boarded the new ship only to hear a startling announcement. The ship that they had originally been set to sail on had sunk and there were no survivors. Schick had his own experience with fate during the war. He was stationed in Tokyo when he was walking to the synagogue on a Friday night with three other Jewish GI’s. On the way they ran into General Douglas MacArthur who asked, “Where are you young soldiers heading at seven pm? They told him they were going to Sabbath services and he said, “Glad to see we have some pious young soldiers.” And they said, ”Thank you, Sir.” Frieda and Schick credit their marriage to ballroom dancing, bowling, playing poker, loving life and “never going to bed angry.” Frieda says, “He’d smile and I couldn’t stay angry”. Fate brought them together and blessed them with two children, nine grandsons and fifty-three great-grandchildren and as of today two great-great-grandchildren and counting.
Shirley Grashin Zarkin
I was born and raised in Seattle, attended Garfield high school, went to the University of Washington and received a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics. My husband, Sam also graduated from The University of Washington as did our three children. Doesn’t get more Seattle than that! I was married to Sam for over sixty years and have three children and six grandchildren. I was lucky to be a stay at home mom baking, gardening and spending lots of time with my family and my large extended family of cousins and relatives. Sam and I always found a way of getting through life together. I have learned that it doesn’t do a lot of good to complain. My expectations have always been to survive and have good kids who become good adults. And I did.
Sylvia Slonim Haden
Pills, food, shower, dressing
Is this all there is??
Call in; Yes, I’m fine
Gym; Yes, I can
Reading (listening), walking (walker).
Aha!! Lunch, Mahjong, Bridge, Movies, Poker, Dinner
Volunteering at Children’s Hospital
Alas: Bedtime dreams
Galapagos, Machu Picchu, Noah, Alex,
Sam, Marc, Debbie, Bobby, Kay, Ellen, Annette, Sarah,
Molly, Henry, Zachary, Elena
Nieces, Cousins, Friends
Up to me!
Ally Lavin speaking
Joshua Gortler speaking
Lisa Kranseler speaking