My mother was only 50 years old when she died. For the last four years of her life she had been a patient at a TB hospital in Jamaica, Queens, NYC.
She was born in1899 at the turn of the century so she was always as old as the year she was in. She came from a staunch Repulican Quaker family in a small New Jersey town...60 miles from New York. She always wanted to be an artist, and went to what they called then Normal School to be an art teacher. She managed to travel to Europe in the late twenties with a wealthy friend as a companion and who paid her expenses.
This trip began to change her life. She entered a cover contest run by "House Beautiful" magazine and won. I have the cover framed on my wall. She took what ever prize money there was and her savings and went to NYC...got a small room and went to the Art Student's League where she met my father, a Jewish Democrat. Quite a change, though my grandparents had no problem with their marraige relatives on both sides did.
My mother always worked at her art, going back to take art classes from time to time. She made me paper dolls, read to me and was lots of fun. She loved theater and became involved with theater groups in NY, New Jersey and Provincetown, MA doing sets, painting tapestries even borrowing furniture from our place to use as sets.
In her last years in the hospital she studied Chinese, did hundreds of drawings. and anatomy charts for doctors.
The year after she died they started to come out with the cure for TB...Too late for her.
I often wonder what she woul have done if she had only lived to 70...twenty extra years. Woman artists were more recognized, she might have painted more and I would have known her as an adult.