Zelda and I were sisters-in-law for 26 years but sisters of the heart for 50. Even after her brother and I divorced, Zelda and I remained fast friends. Our birthdays were in the same year but she had a 3 month’s jump on me. She loved to call around her birthday and give me a weather report on the year ahead for both of us.
We were 19 when we first met at her home in Pittsburgh, PA and she was the maid of honor at my wedding in 1953 in Minneapolis, MN. Once her brother and I were re-located in San Francisco where he was doing his medical internship, Zelda came to visit, and, although she returned home for a while, she definitely left her heart in the City by the Bay.
It wasn’t long before she re-located, found a charming little apartment in North Beach, became a gourmet cook and began cultivating her rich garden of friendships which continued to flourish for all her years. As far as I know, she never left anyone behind. I was amazed at one of her birthday soirees in LA where there were people there from all over the world and from all the decades of her adult life, still adoring and adored, still in communication with her.
During her years in the Bay Area, she worked as a med tech while her love of the theatre began to grow. I remember seeing her in one of her first productions directed by her dear friend Ray Tatar and performed at Merritt College where I was teaching. I may have history a bit garbled, but I recall that someone suggested she do voice overs because of her special vocal sound; she did this and before we knew it, she was in LA, launched in a new career in “the industry.”
I told Zelda many times how much I admired her—her courage, her guts, her total unwillingness to regard her size as a handicap. Her Mother Dincha, whom she adored, had a lot to do with this. As Zelda was growing up, Dincha always infused in her the attitude that she needn’t take a bad seat to anyone and that she could do in life whatever she set her mind to do. And so it was. Look at her career. Look at her relationship with dear David as examples of this winning attitude.
And I admired with awe Zelda’s great, great gift of friendship. Once her friend, always her friend. She forgot no one; Her cast of characters traveled with her around the world, and a very large cast it was, indeed.
Zelda was a great storyteller, very funny, very entertaining. One memorable tale was of two Jewish ladies who went on a Safari in Africa; While Sophie’s back was turned, a gorilla abducted her friend Sadie and carried her off into the Bush. When the friends were reunited weeks later in the hospital, Sophie looked at Sadie with horror. She was bandaged from head to foot. She tried to commiserate with her but all Sadie could mutter from under her swathed face was, “He doesn’t call; he doesn’t write.”
Although Zelda won’t be writing, which she rarely did anyway, or calling any more, which she did often, I know she is with us and her friendship and love are forever.
With abiding love to Zelda, her family members and her many friends.