monthly conversation experiment #10

Denise Connolly of White Lake, NY

Posted 3/24/21

My grandmother Gussie was born in Minsk Russia. She only had a fifth-grade education, but I found her to be a lot smarter than some people who had many more years of schooling.

She married my …

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monthly conversation experiment #10

Denise Connolly of White Lake, NY

Posted

My grandmother Gussie was born in Minsk Russia. She only had a fifth-grade education, but I found her to be a lot smarter than some people who had many more years of schooling.

She married my grandfather, Sam Levine, and they immigrated to America some time in the early 1920s, processed through Ellis Island. My grandmother worked very hard, along with my grandfather, to have a good life in this country. They learned English and studied to become citizens. My grandmother told me that the day she became an American was one of the proudest days of her life.

In the late ’40s, my grandparents left Brooklyn after they purchased a hotel, Colonial Park Hotel, that stood up on Colonial Hill in Monticello, NY. I was so fortunate to have spent many weekends and many summers there. I learned so many things from my grandmother, things no one else taught me or inspired in me.

Grandma Gussie always told me I could be anything and do anything I wanted if I worked hard, kept my focus, made a conscious effort to be kind, be generous whenever I could and appreciate every day I was given on this earth.  She also taught me how to grow flowers in the beautiful gardens she tended at the hotel and the country club with pools and day camp they had added to their business.

I have many beautiful perennial gardens on my property in Bethel, NY and I often feel the spirit of my grandmother with me in my gardens. I know that my outlook on life and the world in general comes from my grandmother. She was quiet and unassuming, but had a very good sense of humor I always enjoyed. My grandmother showed me what was really important in life.

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