Recent Posts for the 'Profiles' Category

Doris Lightman Lazow: Forties & Fifties Fashion Flashback

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

NOTE:  I chose to post this in March since this is Women’s History Month, and Ina’s mom was way ahead of the women’s movement. She was a single mom freelancing with her art and illustrations, a rarity before the 1960s. So I thought it would make a nice bookend to my posting in early March announcing Women’s History Month.

by Ina Luber (Ina wrote the essay) and ellen sue (I helped put the photos with the story and contacted Reminisce Magazine)

Published in late 2017 by Reminisce Magazine and reprinted with permission.


Introduction by ellen sue

My first visit to my husband’s friends, and now my friends as well, Ina and Jerry Luber, pulled me back into my teenage years. For there on their hall wall were illustrations of women dressed in the clothes reminiscent of my youth: fancy wedding gowns, crinoline-skirted dresses, fur coats, and lacy lingerie. I learned on another visit that the impressionistic paintings on the wall were also from the same artist: Doris Lightman Lazow, Ina’s mother.  (See fashion photos below. I hope to post photos of the paintings in the future.)

With each visit, I learned more about Doris: a single mom with an artistic career, far from the “norm” of her era. At my request, Ina sent me a mini-memoir of life with her mom.  (See below.)


Essay from Ina Luber: Reflections of her Mom

My mother, Doris Lightman, divorced my father, Benjamin Lazow, in the year I was born, 1936. They had been married only one year. Apparently, he was a charming cad, and my mother’s four brothers made him promise he would disappear from our lives when I was born, so my father never laid eyes on me.  My mother then became a single working mom.  There was no child support, except I remember that when they could find my father, she would get a check for $10 from the family court. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as a general rule, garnishment of wages is prohibited.



Despite my fatherless childhood, I was raised in a sort of warm and cozy cocoon. I was surrounded by and lived with: my mother, my maternal grandparents, and two uncles who resided in the home until going off to war in 1942. We all lived behind and above my grandparents’ small corner patent medicine and ice cream soda fountain store in Germantown. On reflection, I realize I wanted for nothing because everyone played a role in making my life feel as normal as possible for an only child with only one parent.


So my mother was left to pursue her amazing talent as an artist. She started off as a fashion illustrator, having graduated in 1926 from the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, now known as Moore College of Art. She did newspaper layouts for department stores such as John Wanamaker, Lane Bryant, small boutique shops and milliners, and window designs for the same stores. Eventually, my mother experimented in many art mediums, including live nude classes, watercolors, oils, and acrylics. She did landscapes, still-life, painted designs on blouses and neckties, and customized accessories in tolle for bedrooms and baths for two high-end linen shops on Walnut St. in Philadelphia and Jenkintown. My bedroom was actually her studio in our two-story, “above the store” home, so I was able to watch her paint every day, becoming intoxicated on the smells of linseed oil and oil paints, scents I shall never forget.



In addition to her painting, she relieved my grandfather in the store, and I guess in this way helped repay my grandparents for all they did for me. I have no doubt that my grandparents paid for almost everything for me – my religious training, summer overnight camp, and college. In those days, single parents did not have their own apartments, residing in their family home. My grandmother was a superb cook, so she did all the kitchen duties. My mother would wash the dishes but was basically left to pursue her craft. Each morning she would come downstairs in stockings and a dress, see me off to school, and then go back upstairs to my bedroom/her studio to illustrate or paint.


Her art brought her an income of sorts, but because she freelanced, the money was sporadic. Since I was lucky to have such a loving and generous family paying for the big-ticket items in my life, my mother did not have money worries. Later, she became an “Auntie Mame” to my own children, because she became their arts and crafts teacher and mentor, teaching them painting or other arts and crafts projects at her side.



           (Ina’s Mom  also decorated toilet seat covers, like this one.)


Doris Lightman Lazow (she used her married name as her signature in her paintings and elsewhere from the time I was born until I was eighteen years old) was one of a kind — a unique and superbly talented woman, who was fashionably single before it was fashionable to be a single working mom with an artistic career.

Go Fund Me Update

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

I am post-dating this update on Nov. 15th, because tomorrow we plan to fly to Las Vegas and onto California, weather permitting.  As of today, Nov. 15th, Go Fund Me contributors have donated $805 of our $1,000 goal.

I spoke with Leah, daughter of Rina, whose book about her life in a Russian detention camp during WWII, is the second book WordWorks wishes to help the author self-publish. I gave mother and daughter the good news with the hope that donations will still come from Go Fund Me to reach our goal.

I also just learned that the person whose poetry book we just helped self-publish has a memoir about his father that involves the Holocaust, so we may have found a niche that will attract other Holocaust refugees.

Again, here is a repeat of the posting about Go Fund Me that will remain until I return home, except for one other posting about plastics and pollution.  But first, to all of you have donated, a heartfelt thanks.

This Thanksgiving I am especially grateful for all the support through Go Fund Me.


Stories of Holocaust Resilience

ABOVE is Cherie Goren’s cover from her out-of-print book, A Time to Keep.

Here is the link to GO FUND ME

UPDATE: 11/09/18 (80thanniversary of Kristallnacht)

UPDATE: Leah Goren, Cherie’s granddaughter, was in the NY Times with her story and herillustrations based on Cherie’s escape from Lithuania. Here is the link:

Original Letter:

We are raising $1,000 to cover the costs of self-publishing the incredible stories of two remarkable but unknown  women who fled the Holocaust.*

Cherie’s father had the foresight and funds to leave Lithuania* right before Hitler took it back, thus saving his family from the ovens. One hard copy survives of the memoir Cherie typed 20 years ago. (Cherie is now 93.)

My friend Rina spent part of the war in a Russian detention camp with her mother, a midwife. Rina was sent to Israel by Kindertransport and eventually migrated to the United States. She started her story and it deserves to be shared widely.

With my writing colleague, Krista Nelson, who handles book design and photo retouching, I plan to publish these two tales of hope and resilience. The costs of editing, developing, formatting, and self-publishing both titles should run approximately $1,000 total. This summer I republished Flight to Freedom: A Tale from Tarpiluvka** on Amazon’s author platform and am confident in our ability to bring these stories to readers quickly and professionally.

So, if you think that positive stories, rather than horror stories, about immigrants who came to America to flee the Nazis is a worthwhile project, we welcome any amount you are able to contribute.

In October, my website,, received 843 unique visitors. If each of you, my readers, contributed a dollar or two, we could get this project off the ground immediately.

Thank you for your ongoing support of my writing. Comments welcome. ……….. ellen sue

Here is the link to GO FUND ME: