September 3, 2006
She was born Sarah Miriam Maslynsky in 1920 to Harry and Rebecca Maslynsky. She grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, one of three children. She was shy and had a lisp and struggled in school until a teacher took her under her wing and helped her recognize that she possessed both beauty and a touch of regalia. She learned to stand up tall and to respect herself. She battled and stood up to her father and eventually made peace with him before his death. She loved and took care of her mother and felt a certain guilt about the end of their relationship. She met my father towards the end of the war and married him at 25.
You could talk with my mom about anything at all. You could talk about drugs, about sex, about politics and if you were an overly serious teenage boy looking for ultimate understanding of the universe, you could talk philosophy with her as well.
Some other things my mother taught me early in life are:
When you do something, always do your best.
You can hate what someone’s doing without hating that someone.
You have to respect the role money can play in your life.
It’s important to be a good person and by that she meant that you told the truth, were polite to your elders, picked up after yourself and called your mother often enough.
Some of the things she taught me later in life are:
Support someone you love if they’re passionate and really want something, even if you don’t think what they’re doing what will be the easiest thing in life.
Staying connected with those you love is more important than petty differences.
You could be in your eighties and still get down on a tricycle because you loved someone enough to forget the aches and pains of your eighty some odd years.
What I want to tell you today, Mary Levine, is that you did really well. You are well loved because you loved well. You made huge deposits in the emotional bank accounts of so many here today and your youthful vitality will remain with us always while the images of the last few weeks will fade away.
While your body lies peacefully in this place that always comforted your spirit, may you journey forth into new and exciting places, find your spiritual path and continue loving and guiding those of us still on earth.