27 March 2020

Published March 25, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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Another installment to celebrate Women’s History Month. 😀 This week, a woman from my own tribe. Some of us remember her from the TV show in the 60’s called “I’ve Got a Secret.” 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

FOR SUCH A TIME

“I would’ve been taller.” Bella gaffed off her daughter’s complaints. “But we couldn’t afford it. Back to your homework.”

            At 5’10”, twelve-year-old Bess stood head and shoulders above her classmates, garnering her the role of Olive Oyl in the school play. An honor she didn’t want.

            As she matured, her awkwardness became statuesque grace.

            Bess’s sister entered her in the Miss New York beauty pageant. Although embarrassed, she competed, refusing to use a pseudonym that didn’t sound “so Jewish.”

            On August 15, 1945, in the shadow of the liberation of Auschwitz, Bess Myerson proudly wore the crown of Miss America.

*******

89 comments on “27 March 2020

    • Dear Suzanne,

      I remember my mother pointing out to me that Bess Myerson was Jewish. Mom’s way of reminding me of my heritage. At the time it just irritated me. Now I’m glad she did. Thank you re my story. Stay well yourself, my friend.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Josh,

      She was one elegant lady. I aspired to be the second Jewish Miss America but I was too short. (You’re buying this, right?) Thank you re my story. I can’t claim originality for the quip. I’m just a good finder. 😉

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • What a truly beautiful woman, inside and out it seems. Good for her for refusing to change her name though how depressing that some of the sponsors withdrew their backing. And she continued her courageous stance through her life so it seems. Wonderful. And another great story from you Rochelle. Hope you’re surviving there okay. We’re n lock down as you might have heard – no work, no leaving the house unless we need to. Keep well

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      Bess Myerson was a household name as I was growing up. Of course my mother made sure I knew she was Jewish. 😉 Thank you mom, for the constant reminders that irritated me at the time. I didn’t know about her being Miss America until i was older. I just knew her as the pretty lady on What’s My Line.
      We’re also on lock down and surviving just fine. Being a bit of a recluse, it doesn’t feel too different than the norm…save the fact that the pool is closed and i really miss my swims. At least I have an exercise machine and a nice neighborhood for long walks. There are many things I’m grateful for…one being electricity, the other being internet.
      Thank you again.

      Shalom and good health,

      Rochelle

      Like

      • I’m missing my walks – used to walking out most days, even if it’s just to go to the shops. Feel like walking miles at the moment. We’re only supposed to go out for food, medicine and a brief exercise once a day. Hard to stay focused on much, I’m finding. Keep well, Rochelle

        Like

  • A beautiful young woman who grew old just as gracefully as she grew up. She was an amazing person to me, as I grew up; not just because, you know, Miss America, beautiful, etc. Does anyone remember what her talent was? But because she was a lady. Always.

    Liked by 1 person

  • A great story.
    Gertie is so proud of you and her.
    She’s kvelling!!!!
    But as we all know, it’s not the height that matters (and that was no tall story – you know I had to make that pun).
    Zai gesundt. Be in good health, stay in good health.

    Ran-da-lah

    Liked by 1 person

  • Here’s another person I’ve never heard of. I feel like I learned a lot in 100 words. Good for her for not changing her name. I’ve heard of many entertainers choosing names that sounded less Jewish. I’m sure it was especially meaningful given the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    I love her! Now I feel I have to go on a serious diet because 5’10” and 135 lbs is like. Yeah. Never mind. You brought her to life, as you do in your inimitable (though we sometimes try) way.
    What a beautiful woman and kudos to her for standing her ground and being her own gorgeous, Jewish self!

    Shalom and lotsa beautiful love,

    Dale

    Liked by 1 person

  • Isn’t it strange people tease you for something that then becomes something that they then praise you for. A true life ugly duckling story and I really liked that ‘we couldn’t afford it’ quote.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    This is so a beautiful and uplifting story. Her sister did the right thing getting her into the pageant and Bess deserved to win. She was lovely. I love the fact that she received her crown the same time Auschwitz was liberated. As usual, you brought us a bit of history in an engaging and expertly penned story.

    Shalom,
    Adele

    Like

  • I didn’t know about it… I recently listened to a podcast about Vanessa Williams who was the first black woman to be crowned, but who had to give it up because of nude photos. There is always something important with the first of a minority… but how amazing that it was 1945

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Björn,

      I remember the whole Vanessa Williams fiasco. I wonder if the nude photos would be an issue today. Nonetheless, Vanessa is a beautiful woman and has gained success as an actress. Yes, the timing for Bess’s crowning is timely. 😀

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Like

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