IN LOVING MEMORY OF
18 AUGUST 1939 - 4 AUGUST 2002
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Enjoy this beautiful site dedicated to my beautiful, one-of-a-kind mother.
I'd like to extend special thanks to my great friend Dave Zuckerman for devoting countless hours and boundless creativity to this project...his dedication and generous spirit is much appreciated by the Brodoff family.
I met her 38 years ago (almost 39) at Brooklyn Woman's Hosptial
I just wanted to say that this section where people can leave their thoughts and memories is really terrific... I just read the comments made by Ilene's friend Beth and laughed out loud when I read her comments, especially the reference to the cigarette behind the glass hanging up in my house. I had completely forgotten about that and it just brought me right back to my childhood in a flash. :) I guess this is what this section is all about. And thanks to my brother and his friend Dave for creating it...
Barbara Danielle Harrison
She saw me 'pop' out as she would always say
on January 15, 1986....She is my Grandma.
I am sure I will probably share much more as time goes on, but I want to start here by saying thank you to Uncle Bruce and everyone who helped him make this site. It is a great comfort to me to be able to check in and see her face and read what other people wrote, etc. I am so lucky she was my Grandma. I could go on forever but I'll stop and say: I love you Grandma and you will always be with me. (And I love you more!)
Ilene Jane Harrison
She is forever my loving mother
It is very hard to believe that you have not been with us for over a year already. We have been through all "the firsts", which have been incredibly hard, as well as the simple day to day times that we wished you were here.
What I could share about my feelings and memories would fill volumes, and have too difficult to organize, as is evident by my not writing on this site until now. Also, for some reason, my beginning to write this came easier as a letter to you, versus writing it as a straight entry.
My mind goes in all directions as I think about our life together. Some samplings:
When I was younger, you were there to show me love, help me grow, sing and dance with me, come to my shows, support me in school and work,share our love of Kings Bay Boy Clubs and The Bay, help me do my hair and makeup before a date, open our house to my friends,go shopping with me, lift me up when I was sad,teach us how not to hold our feelings inside or to hold a grudge but to yell, fight, talk it out, never go to bed angry, share fun times, worry with dad when I was late coming home, leave your signature "red lips' mark on my cheek after a kiss...
When I got older, you were there to celebrate my milestones, help set me up at Downstate, share the ups and downs in my love life, show me all that goes into a successful marraige, share my happiness with Lou and his family, help move us 3 times in 2 years, join us in the delivery room to watch Barbara come into this world (you called her your "jack in the box"), share in our call to announce your granddaughter Michelle's birth, give your love and time to develop a beautiful relationship with your granddaughters and Lou, help me out when I would say "does this smell or taste right to you?, share through the cards and letters that you always wrote to us beautifully expressed feelings, organize a suprise for me when you got tickets for us to see Barbara Streisand and then we took at horse a buggy ride after the concert, share "tea and tears" with me whether in person or over the phone,share your love and enthusiam for your last job with Mayor Giuliani and all of the events that you beautifully planned for his office, show us how to always look at life in the best way possible, how to be strong even in the worst of times, how to keep kind words flowing, never to be bitter or jealous, how to show love and caring to family and friends and others not so well known, and how to fight the fight.
I think I will stop rambling on right now, but I do feel better having expressed some of the things that are always floating around in my head, when I think of you. Not a day goes by that I don't miss you, don't get that moment's thought of "Let me give mom a buzz", or don't see your imprint on things that I do and say.
Though the reason Marilyn's Place came to be were not of our choosing, we feel that as a place of comfort for those going through difficult medical times, you would be proud to have it carry your name with love. The room in Phillips outpatient division has the furniture in, a TV and stereo will be installed, the bookcases are ready to be filled with books, the walls are awaiting your painting,photo and other items, the plaque is being inscribed in your beautiful scripted handwriting, the art program is ready and other programs will follow as we grow. A second room in the hospital is already set up and will open soon as well. We also hope to set up some larger areas as space becomes available.
I am very lucky to call you my mom,
Ilene and I were friends in grade school
What a beautiful site!
I can remember playing over at the apartment on Shore Pkwy and Ilene going on and on about Michael Jackson and other black entertainers. Marilyn said, how about anyone Jewish and Ilene said, "Sammy Davis, Jr!" I also remember that there was a cigarette in a little plastic case on the wall of the hallway with a small ax attached. It said "in case of emergency" I think your dad had quit smoking and it was there to remind him. I remember that your mom was a very warm person - I always felt comfortable in your home.
We met in in the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting...
What a woman! To know her is to love her and to truly understand the meaning of love.
I was lucky enough to meet Marilyn when she was volunteering at the Mayor's Office of Film back in the mid-90s. Her show-stopping brains, talents, energy and "star quality" was so obvious that one day I suggested that she might consider taking-on City Hall. The rest is history!
Marilyn is, and always will be my hero.
With much aloha,
Joey couldn't keep her a secret forever!
I remember a special time when I happily bumped into Marilyn. It was 1982 and I was working on Wall St. I had completed my first very small deal and I was thrilled and jubilant walking around downtown Manhattan. No one knew of my success then. It was late in the afternoon and while leaving my office, I happened to see Marilyn who was working in the area. I told her about my good fortune and she beamed and glowed and congratulated me as if I had been the man that conquered Everest.
That wonderful, special scene as well as so many others, will always stand out in my mind. Marilyn will forever be with me.
Your ever loving old buddy,
36 years ago when she worked in the drug store
Beauty is skin deep besides being beautiful on the outside her beauty was within. She was the kindest most loving giving friend. Every time I was ill she & Joe were always there. I miss her bright big blue eyes that always twinkled and her smile.
We sat with her at the Katz Family Seder once a year
Marilyn , Joe, Marge and I would always sit together at the Katz family seder. It just happened that way until it was something we looked forward to as cousins in law and their families became our own family. Although we would only spend one evening a year with Marilyn, it was always a special time and I think of her now as always generating a special light, part love, part delight in life, part interest in whomever she was with. As she struggled with cancer, her bravery and life force was an inspiration and model for courage in the face of life's difficulties.
I'm Marilyn's first cousin on her Dad's side
When I visited Marilyn and Joe in the Poconos a few years ago, Marilyn and I went shopping together at her favorite place--yet another garage sale. I bought an electric pencil sharpener and an insulated food container (which I still have). The pencil sharpener resides on my desk to this day.
Marilyn was ecstatic over some bargain that she bought at the sale. Her enthusiasm was boundless. You would think we just returned from a jaunt to Tiffany's or Lord and Taylor.
Judy and Jerry Spitz
We met her through Joe, a childhood friend of Jerry's
Three brief recollections:
1) Marilyn had a great sense of humor, able to laugh at others as well as at herself. We were playing a game called Celebrity in which she had to quickly give clues to identify known people. The clue she gave was "oldest living American Jew" and surprisingly someone correctly guessed Irving Berlin. The next morning she said she couldn't sleep, thinking that not only did someone get the answer, but how many myriad of other clues she could have given to describe Irving Berlin. She had a great laugh!
2) Marilyn as a youngster was head of the Brooklyn Dodger outfielder Duke Snider Fan Club. It was near the end when she and Joe joined us for a wonderful lunch and she regaled us with stories of her childhood, baby-sitting for the Duke and getting to know him so well. We were amazed to find another side of Marilyn we had never known.
3) Marilyn was such a compassionate person. She not only always called to express her caring for us and all her other friends, but also wrote us frequently in her beautiful handwriting. Her notes, whether congratulatory or in moments of sadness, were lovely and touching and always filled our hearts with joy.
She was truly a magnificent woman who we will always remember.
There are too many great memories of Marilyn to mention in detail. However, she was staying at our house for the summer in Monticello, when I met my husband. We shared lots of girl talk and lots of laughs. Marilyn was my maid of honor at my wedding and a beautiful maid of honor indeed. She is in all our wedding videos and 3d slides. She will stay in our hearts forever along with lasting memories.
Myron & Marilyn Rothman
Friends till the end.
Marilyn was the type of person that you would always want to be with, because she always had a positive outlook about everything no matter how bad the situation. Till the end she was always upbeat and made you feel that way just by talking to her, knowing she was in bad shape. She was a wonderful woman and will always be in our memories.
Elaine and Stan Davis
We are second cousins on her mother's side
We will always remember Marilyn,
As a ray of sunshine,
A most courageous woman,
An inspiration to us all,
Truly a Woman of Valour,
A beloved wife, mother, grandmother, cousin and friend.
We miss her and think of her often.
Postscript. Millie her mother,and my mother, Sylvia Berman Schub,were first cousins.In so many ways Marilyn often reminded me of my mother,especially the beauty of face and heart, and that fighting spirit. Must be the Goldstein genes.
Mayor's Office Buddies
Mariyln is one of those people who will remain in your mind for life. She and I gravitated towards each other immediately, and never drifted apart. She had a way of lifting your spirts, even when hers was down. We "crashed" several functions together at the South St Seaport and Wall St.area. My favorite was a concert to see Bette Midler at the Garden, which she wanted to see. We were in the office, and it was 4:45 pm. She'd had plans that evening but they had changed, so she decided to go The Garden. Even now as I write this, a smile comes across my face, as I recall the wacky conversation that we had waiting on line. As we neared the box office window people were being told that nothing was available. Mariyln approached the window, asked how the gentleman was doing and turned on her "Mariylnism" charm. Need I say that we walked away from the box office with 12th row tickets, cener aisle at balconey prices. :-)
Mariyln was full of sunshine, and love, love for her family and her friends, some of us who were lucky enough to introduced as her extended family. I miss her dearly, but, I do not mourn her, because she is, and always will be in my heart, and my thoughts. Marilyn is like the line from the Carley Simon song "Nobody Does it Better"
Peri and Len Brum
We met her as Joe's wife
Recollections of Marilyn
Vivacious, Beautiful,Warm, Caring and Intelligent. A delight to be with.
But the most lasting memory of all is the wondrous relationship that Marilyn and Joe had with each other. There was an obvious joy in living, exhibited by both.
Marilyn, you are missed by all
Ed and Libby Berday
We met through joe, one of the Bronx Boys
Marilyn was a "special person"in our life. All who met her were taken with Hher ability to relate to others, and her capacity for fun and laughter. She was the one that was remembered in a crowd! She was bright, curious to learn and test new areas. She was compassionate withe an extraordinary memory; all of which made her a generous friend. She was always "upbeat". healthy or sick.
She had that unique ability to project a great deal of energy as she drew you into her world wirth her warmth and beautiful.inviting smile! We shared many joyous times together; weddings, births, birthdays and reunions. We even ended up getting married in the same year.
Marilyn wanted to live! We saw this in her willingness to continue fighting, enduring so much pain and disappointment, as she clung tenaciously to life.
We will miss you Marilyn. We will miss your sound, your color, your energy. But we will remember that you were our friend and feel fortunate. Libby &Ed
One of my Dearest Friends....
There were so many things to love about Marilyn; it's hard to know where to begin. But what I remember most is "I am not a phone person," but Marilyn and I had so much to say to each other that we could sometimes be on the phone for 2 hours, and it seemed like 15 minutes.
We felt like soul-mates. She and I had thoughts and feelings that we felt no-one else had, or would ever understand. But when we expressed it to each other, we completely knew what the other person meant, and we couldn't believe how much we thought alike.
She was always so sincerely happy for you if you had good news, and always there for you if you had a problem.
I am so glad Joe Brodoff and Joe Nussbaum were boyhood friends, which gave me the opportunity to meet Marilyn so many years ago. It's rare to meet someone like her, and I feel lucky and blessed to have had her as my dear friend.
I will never forget her and she will always be in my heart.
All my love,
Joseph & Dorothy Shafran
We knew Marilyn & Joe for about 35 yrs. I knew Marilyn when she worked for Chevette and Joe in the textile industry which we both made our living. My wife lived two blocks from her and my best friend lived in the same building as Marilyn on Park Place. We had a lot in common and enjoyed each others company when we met at many social get togethers during the year and continued for over 25 yrs. Marilyn was a beautiful person, intelligent, kind, and wonderful to be with. The thing I will always remember is the love she had and showed when she spoke to and about her Joe and the way her face lit up with a tremendous sparkle.
We met through mutual friends
When Marilyn learned that I had been diagnosed with lung cancer, she immediately called me and, with the warmth that was so characteristic of her, offered consolation and advice. This, despite the fact that we were not close friends having seen each other on only a few occasions. I was so impressed with her making that phone call, trying to help someone she barely knew. Unfortunately, our relationship was much too short, but long enough for me to realize how caring and giving a person Marilyn was.
shirl & syd brody
we were friends
I know Joe for 53 years having worked with him at JPStevens& United Elastic. I was with Joe on his sales call to Chevette Lingerie the day he met Marilyn. It was love at first sight. I remember many a time walking down Madison Ave. with Joe when he would stop and whistle;the window on the 5th floor would fly open and there was Marilyn smiling and waving happily.
After they were married, and Marilyn became pregnant, we brought her a gift: Dr, Spock's Baby Care, which she loved and put to good use for Ilene, Bruce, and Steven. Then we would see Marilyn & Joe socially and at business functions thru the years. When we were with Marilyn we saw a pretty, very bright gal, with a fun twinkle in her eyes.She had a way of talking and a way of smiling; you knew that she was happy, you knew that she was enjoying life. It was a delight to be in her company.
When the cancer hit her from time to time, Marilyn had the same "up" attitude; you couldn"t tell what she was going through; she didn't dwell on her illness, but was concerned for others; she was seemingly indestructible.
This website of sharing our thoughts with so many others as well as the photographs--the whole thing--is a wonderful, heartwarming tribute to a great lady.
I Worked With Joe
In 1988, I was a young college graduate ready to tackle my first job. Early on, I met Joe. For the next 7 years, I had the good fortune to meet and become friends with Marilyn. I learned about the spirit of life through Marilyn and Joe. They taught me the importance of family and friends, and to always be honest with yourself and those in your life. I was a young southern kid that was taken under the wings of Marilyn and Joe, and gained experiences with these 2 wonderful people that I still cherish today. I am blessed!
We were neighbors
Marilyn was always a cheerful and friendly neighbor, but one memory above all sticks in my mind.
On Thanksgiving Day several years ago, Marilyn knocked on my door to unexpectedly deliver some homemade stuffed cabbage she wanted my apartmentmate Ben and I to enjoy with our meal.
I thanked her for thinking of us and told her that her gesture was much appreciated because due to Ben's serious illness we were unable to shop for and prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
A few minutes later Marilyn knocked on my door again, this time bringing enough of the food she cooked for her family to enable Ben and I to enjoy a delicious and plentiful holiday dinner.
I'll never forget Marilyn's kind gesture...the memory of her generous spirit still warms my heart.....
She was my sister in law
She was a beautiful, intelligent girl with a great sense of humor. She was a good wife and mother and her family adored her.I respected her various abilities, especially the roles she played in the Guilini administration. There seemed to be no end to all she could accomplish. It was a great pity that fate took her away from us. I and my family will miss her more than I can say.
Esther and Howard Stern
thru Joe, long-time friend of Howie from the Bronx
Joe, when men who were boyhood friends remain friends throughout adulthood, Esther says that it is usually the wives who are responsible. Our gang of guys fortunately married gals who, without exception, have kept us together as "one happy gang" proving the adage "there's nothing like old-time friends". Whenever we meet the camaraderie is something special because of the bond we all have formed thanks to the gals.
Marilyn's interest in the welfare of others and her upbeat attitude always made her the "life of the party". While the men would play poker, the ladies went out to dinner. Esther remembers how Marilyn was so eager to have fun, try new or unusual menu choices and live life to the fullest. Her warmth and concern was so especially strong and pervasive that her presence is still felt whenever our group gets together. So sorely missed, we still look forward to meeting and sharing happy memories.
Marilyn's "trademark" was her wide and glowing smile. She loved to laugh and it was contagious --- it made everyone feel good. Esther says that, when she sees a ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds, she often thinks of Marilyn. It's as if Marilyn is looking down on her family and friends telling them to be brave and carry on. Joe, we thank you for bringing Marilyn into our lives. She taught us the true meaning of courage. We have framed the "miraculous" drawing you gave us along with the source photo of Marilyn raising her arms to the sun while standing on the beach. It looks down on us in our den, and serves as an inspiration to us.
Congratulations to the Brodoff family on a magnificent website. It portrays the greatness of "The Woman" and reflects the full life that she lived with an extremely positive attitude. She set an example for us, and we've all benefited from hearing her expressions of compassion and concern towards others. Her interest made us feel that we were important to her, and that made her an important part of our lives. She was a godsend.
I am her son...
Today is August 18th...
Happy Birthday Mom! You are in my thoughts today (and everyday) and I miss you very much...
Just wanted to thank those who have taken the time to share their thoughts and memories about my mom. It has meant so much to relive some of the moments and to learn new things that we would never have known.
Please continue to add things as you think of them...you'd be suprised how a simple sentence can have such an impact.
Only after the fact do you realize how much more there was to know about a person, or the different things you never asked, even when you were close and shared alot.
Too much time could never pass to make an entry "too late" to enter.
No matter when, you can be sure it will brighten our day, just like mom's beautiful, big smile did.
Pearl and Irving Sloane
Friend and relative
Everyone who visited us at Tahiti Cove, where we spent our winters, directly on the Intracoastal Waterway in Florida, remarked on the beauty of our location. But Marilyn was ecstatic! She gazed entranced as the sun set on the water, the boats, and the birds. We now live eleven stories above that scene and include the vastness of the ocean and the sky in our view. I think of Marilyn often when I look through our picture windows. How she would have appreciated these sights! I like to think that the intense pleasure Marilyn found--and engendered-- in her too-brief life constituted more joy and deeper experience than other people derive from a longer but less passionate life.
She was my Aunt
I will always remember how Marylyn looked me up in LA at a time that it was greatly appreciated. Joe tells me it was she who insisted on finding me. We had a wonderful dinner Uncle Joe and Aunt Marilyn, Uncle Murray and Aunt Phylis and I. I also remember the laughter in my Uncle Joe and Aunt Marilyn's family when I was a kid. I remember the laughter and I remember Ilene singing.
Ken and Alyce Brodoff
Our warm, loving and wonderful Aunt
When we think of Aunt Marilyn, we think of everything warm, cheerful, bright, intelligent and loving. Her incredible laugh, positive attitude and love of life are a shining example for us all. She was a woman of extraodrinary character and insight with a heart of gold who always made the time we spent together a memorable and lovely experience. Her priorities were always perfectly in order, and spending time with her in person and on the telephone were some of the most cherished times of our lives.
Aunt Marilyn had many interests and knew the concept of steady, hard work. Her passion for humanity and unselfishness have left this world an incredibly much better place. For those of us fortunate enough to be in her family, the reward is ten-fold.
Uncle Joe is a soul of equal proportion.
To have known her is to know what our potential as individuals is. Her bravery was unsurpassed, but Aunt Marilyn always knew how precious every moment was even before she became ill.
This is how we will always remember her.
Heard her story on the crossingover show
I know that I did not know Marilyn, but I was very touched by her story shared on the Crossingover show. I was very touched on what a wonderful person she was said to be. She seemed to be a very happy and loving woman, who did not take life for-granted. That's the way life is meant to be spent. I believe that Marilyn's Place is going to be a very special place for others, and for her family to be able to share that is a very unselfish gift to give to others who are sick. I just wanted to tell all her family how lucky there are to have known someone like her. I'm sure she is looking down on you all and smiling and very proud for all you have done.
Viewer-Ruby Rodriguez in san antonio
This is the most beautiful website I have ever seen. The love you had for your mom and wife is evident in the pages. Thank you for sharing her life.
i knew soneone else-i have an idea for your web site!
i think that along with this your thoughts and memories thing, you should have a place where people can write about loved ones that they have lost.this ight be a good idea because sometimes people can feel better when they alk to someone about something, dont you? thouh I am only 11 yrs old, I think this should be a good idea. I hope you take my idea under consideration.
thank you, sry about your loss
Crossing over segment
Your memorial of your mother is breath taking. Reading your family history brought joy, laughter, and tears to my eyes. The love that your family has for one another is overwelming. If families today had half the love that your family has the world would be a better place. Your mom was a wonderful person and as long as you keep her memory alive and in your heart she'll be with you forever. Thank you for sharing your story. My condolences go out to all.
Crossing Over Show
I think that this is a wonderful site. It is something that holds the memories that you have of the loved one you lost. When I was watching the Crossing Over episode that said all of you made this website in loving memory of Marilyn, and every time you see a new entry you get exited and full of joy I decided to make an entry, because you guys deserve it (to be happy and full of joy) for doing all of this for someone you love. God Bless
Brenda J. Jenkins
Crossing Over with John Edward
I would like to thank the Brodoff family for sharing their story of love for their mom, wife, friend, cousin, aunt to many. Although I did not know Marilyn except through the Crossing Over show, I was deeply touched by the caring and love that her family has shown. I too, have lost many family members to cancer and know how hard it is to deal with such a horrible disease. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. May her love always shine down upon you. God Bless you all!!!
Jim M. Bonilla
Crossing Over Show
Hello, I am very sorry for your loss. I think when people die God sends them to a beautiful place where they are happy.
I kno Marilyn is watching over you, And she would be very happy.
Saw a T.V. Program which featured the Family
I have never met this lady but, I just viewed a program called Crossing Over with John Edwards and saw this amazing website that was set up in her honor. From what I haveviewed I can tell that Marilyn was an extrodinary woman as well as very loving and caring. I wish the family and friends of Marilyn the best in their life and commend you for all of the love and devotion you all have to her memory. I wish that I would have known her, for she has definately left an everlasting impression on everyone's lives!!!
R J Matthis
Crossing Over Segment
To Marilyn's Family:
I didn't know your wonderful mother, but I know of your love for her thru the segment on Crossing Over. I am so sorry for your loss.... she seemed to be an outstanding lady. Your love for her is evident here on the website. Your stories of remembering her are such an inspiration. I know that in heaven, your mom is smiling down on you, and continueing to wrap her arms around you all. Be of good cheer, and thank you for sharing your story.
Crossing Over show about memorials
Thank you for sharing your mother with the rest of us in this way. I lost my dad to cancer on Jan 22 1999. There is so much that I didn't get to know about him and this web site gives others a chance to let you know things about your mom that you might not have known. Sharing and remembering our loved ones will keep them in our hearts forever. thank you so much.
I saw your memorial message on Crossing Over
Just to let you know that Marilyn's vibrant spirit reaches out across the miles. I saw your family on John Edward, and was moved to sit down at the computer just before you mentioned the website. Of course I had to come and visit! Marilyn inspires me, even though I never met her on this side. I don't need to tell you how lucky you are you are to have this lovely lady in your life. And bravo for this beautiful memorial that shares a little of her with so many, even those far far away (I live in Peace River, Alberta, Canada!)
With love and light,
learned through the website
I would like to thank the Brodoff family for sharing Marilyn's memory. Although we can't bring her back to this earth, her memory and legacy is touching lives all over the country via this website and the show. Marilyn's grace will continue on through the memories in your hearts and the valuable life lessons others have learned from reading this beautiful and boundless story.
Saw her on John Edwards
Just wanted you to know how touched I was by her story on John Edwards. I couldn't help but notice what a beautiful woman she was, especially the huge smile she wore in every one of her pictures. She looks like an angel. My heart goes out to the family for their loss. You must be very proud of Marilyn's place. Thank you for caring about others in your time of grief. The world is a better place because of people like you. Like they say "The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree". She obviously did an excellent job during her time here on earth. Marilyn is still alive in all of you. Keep smiling for her!!
from Newfoundland, Canada
John Edwards Show
This site is not only a wonderful tribute to your mother, but to your entire family. Thank you for sharing your memories. I did not know your mother, but her beautiful smile will remain with me for a long time. My thoughts & prayers are with you all.
I never knew Marilyn but your story touched me very deeply. We have all lost loved ones in our life and it was very touching to me to see the memorial you have set up in Marilyn's name to help those who truely need it. What a wonderful family you are. I'm sure Marilyn is very pleased with the work you are doing in her honor. I truely beleive that our loved ones remain with us after they pass and I try to live each day to make them proud of me. Marilyn's smile will be one I will forever remember. You can't imagine how you have touched so many lives. I am from British Columbia Canada. Please keep up the wonderful work you are doing and may God bless you all.
Mary Slade from Guelph, Ontario, Canada
from Crossing over Show with John Edwards
Just remember Marilyn is always with you, just though a single thought! How proud she must be of her family!
From the John Edward Show
What a wonderful tribute! This is a beautiful way to remember your mother and wife. I wish our family knew how to create a site like this.
Christopher M. Ragazzo
Bruce and I are the best of friends
Most of you reading this have never met me. My name is Chris.
In college, I was lucky enough to become fast friends with a young Bruce Brodoff, a hyper-kinetic ball of energy and information whose vast stores of knowledge on subjects ranging from Czarist Russia to the New York City Sewer system fascinated me. What I didn't know then, is that my friendship with Bruce was merely a bridge to the true storehouse of information, and so much more, Marilyn Brodoff.
Over the years, Bruce would often find that Marilyn would be on the phone for over an hour before handing the phone over to him, explaining that Chris was on the phone. Bruce would take the phone from his Mom, rolling his eyes, knowing that my friendship with his mother was as important as our own. How did that come to be, I recently asked myself? I had only met Marilyn in person a handful of times, and yet, in those few meetings, I felt a connection in the deepest of places. Sitting at her dining room table, in the apartment that she raised her three children in, we would discuss everything from pop culture to family recipes. I always loved the hallway filled with photos of Bruce's Bah Mitvah and other rites of passage.
Her laugh was a gift to my ears. Her sheer delight and appreciation for a well-told story was evident, but her ability to tell a story from her vast experiences was her real gift, and I can only sum it up with one word: passion. She had passion for people, for places, for food, for causes, in short...for life. I'm a person who is drawn to the flame, and if ever there was a flame, it was Marilyn Brodoff.
I called her Mrs. Brodoff for at least five years, due to my upbringing, but as I got older, I started to call her Marilyn. From time to time, I would check in with Marilyn. I honestly don't think we ever spent less than an hour talking. We just couldn't. The two of us would swap stories, one on top of the other.
When Bruce informed me that Marilyn's tests had not been positive, I gave pause. I live in California, with my wife and two daughters, out of sight, out of mind. Lord knows I wouldn't know what to say to her. Then, I thought of my sweet friend, (who twice made the effort to visit my young family on her short stays in Los Angeles with Joe, even when Bruce no longer lived here)...I thought of her contagious laugh, her lights of Broadway smile...and I picked up the phone and called my dear friend.
For the next two hours we talked about everything, from the dire to the mundane, we talked, we laughed and most of all, we connected. I will never forget the time we spent that day. There were no secrets. I told her of my initial reaction to the news of her illness and my concious decision not to run away, and she told me she always appreciated my "in your face honesty", as I did hers.
After that day, I would always know that our friendship was secure. Not a week goes by when I don't think of her. She loved her children and spoke openly of that love with me.
My friendship with Bruce is a most treasured one. Being able to say that I knew his mother, Marilyn, only strengthens my bonds with Bruce and the Brodoff's. I still know their phone number by heart. That should tell you something.
To enter the Brodoff home, was to enter a home of love. I consider myself lucky to have been invited in, to witness firsthand, the inner workings of a strong and loving family. Thank you Marilyn and Joe for always treating me like a member of your family. Marion and I can only hope that our children can know the love and security that you both provided for your children.
Finally, I have to say, that Marilyn always offered me her true-blue and undying support, as I struggled to build my writing and directing career. Like my own mother, she just wanted me to be happy and to fufill my dreams. She always told me to hang in there, never doubt my talent, and everything would turn out right.
As my first novel goes out to publisher's this week, and having just sold my first television show, I proudly say to you Mrs.B., "You were right, Marilyn! Everything did turn out right, just like you said!"
This website is a labor of love by a loving ,devoted and multi-talented son. You did good, Bebo! Momma would be proud.
Love to all,
I am her son
My family and I would like to thank all of the wonderful "Crossing Over" viewers who took the time to write us such beautiful, heartfelt messages.
It was very exciting and touching to read all of your thoughts and sentiments. We are very happy that our story touched so many people across the U.S.A. and Canada, and we gained much comfort and strength from your good wishes.
May all of you enjoy long, healthy and happy lives.......
Elaine Smiley Burdick
sister Fran's friend
I was a close friend of Marilyn's sister, Fran Scholnick Feinberg. We go back to JHS 210 days when Marilyn, Fran and I lived on St John's Place in Brooklyn. Fran would ring my doorbell on the way to school every morning and I listened to the most recent Marilyn and mother Millie happenings. Boyfriend Joe was still in Marilyn's future. As the years went by, and Fran became an aunt, she often talked about Ilene, her great love. Fran was married in 1967 and had two children. When she got sick, Marilyn was there for her. Fran had a key to my apt on 71st St. in NY and after treatment at the hospital a few blocks away, she would go there to rest. Marilyn would meet her there to care for her .When Fran passed away in 1982, Marilyn and I often called each other and shared stories and memories. Our conversations continued for 20 years and she kept me up to date on Joe, the children (both hers and Fran's),the grandchildren, her job, and -her health.She was so helpful and supportive when I had a medical problem. I loved Marilyn's personality, warmth and energy and I always enjoyed our talks. Marilyn's Place and this website are two wonderful ways for all of us to keep our memories alive.
Diane Klimczak - Chicago, IL
The first time Joe was on Crossing Over and connected with Marilyn, I cried..I could see the love and devotion Joe had to her. I couldn't help but to think how truly blessed they both were to have had the time together that they did.
The second time Joe was on Crossing Over, again I just cried and thought how they were such a fantasic example of the meaning of "love".
I had to view this website and how very glad I am that I did. What a beautiful dedication to such a wonderful spirit.
I felt like Joe and Marilyn had something so very special and the photos and stories just showed how the love we share with others lives on even after we have left this earth.
Thank you for sharing Marilyn with so many on this website and on Crossing Over.
Thank you Marilyn for being the beautiful spirit that you were on this earth and continue to be on the otherside!
Robin L Wolf
your story touched me very deeply. I lost my mother on June 12,2002 (from stomach cancer) which we had no idea she had. My mother had asthma and we thought she was having an asthma attack so my father took her to the hospital and the doctors said her ovaries were 3x's bigger than they were suppose to be and schedule her for a Hysterectomy. She had her surgery done on my 41st birthday (not a birthday present I had wanted) but during the surgery the doctors found cancer in her stomach She passed 13 days later at the young age of 61. My parents were getting ready to celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary on June 24. My mother & I were very close and it's been really hard. I want to thank you for sharing Marilyn (your mother) with so many on this website and on Crossing Over.
cousins 'through the heart'
Marilyn often spoke of the Sloanes as if we were part of the Brodoff clan, and I have never considered myself, Robert and the girls, anything but close family. When she and Joe came to Florida they always made the effort to spend some time with us. I miss sharing those garlic pizzas with them!
I will miss that burst of energy that seemed to surround Marilyn, and followed her wherever she went. Marilyn was one of the most positive people I have ever known. She is my role model for living life to its' fullest potential. I will never forget her smile. She was truly beautiful inside and out, and will not be forgotten.
Crossing Over with John Edwards
I was so drawn to Joe's story about his wife that I had to find the web-site and share in all the wonderful memories of her life. I couldn't stop reading all about her and wondered why I was so intrigued. I found the connection...she was born on August 18th which is my grandma's birthday. I loved my grandma very very much and miss her as much as I feel you miss Marilyn. You have honored her in such a special way and I am sure she is enjoying Marilyn's Place and this web-site as much as all of us. John Edward's show has given me such a sense of peace to know our loved ones never really leave us.
Susan and Larry
The other day Larry was talking about nice people. People who are so well liked by everyone, people who are so loved and everyone wants to be around, people about whom never a bad word is said. Then he said,"Marilyn Brodoff and my mother were like that". Marilyn always made us feel good and everyone would gravitate to her. We were treated to Joe and Marilyn's wonderful hospitality in their country home. I remember enjoying Chinese food in the "treehouse" porch and laughing all night long. Everyone wanted to be around Marilyn because she was such a wonderful and joyful person.
Chelsea - Viewer of the John Edward's Show
Her wonderful appearances on John Edwards
I so enjoyed the first two times I saw Joe on Crossing Over and saw him again yesterday. I was just wondering how he is doing and if he is coping okay. He seems like such a special guy but as he was wandering around his back yard he seemed a little lost. I hope knowing Marilyn is watching him...as indicated on Crossing Over that he knows she's just a memory away.
The warmest smile I have ever seen belonged to Marilyn Brodoff. To say that Marilyn's smile could light up a room is an understatement; she was the light in the room. I have the fondest memories of playing the word game, Dictionary, with Ilene, Barbara and Marilyn in the Poconos (and can even remember Marilyn's answers! Missal- to miss a sale at Bloomingdales). She always made me feel like she loved me like a grand-daughter; Barbara and Michelle are really lucky to have had such a wonderful grandmother, just as I am lucky to have known her. I think of Marilyn often, but really missed her during this past Chanukah. Our annual family Chanukah parties are one of my favorite events of the year! I've realized that it is because of the people I have the good fortune to spend it with. I hope Marilyn enjoyed my company as much as I treasured hers. I loved her dearly and miss her very much.
Mary Perry Smith
Thru Joe, we both worked @ JP Stevens
My chance to know Marilyn was thru Joe and our working for JPStevens and United Elastic. My job in sales transfered me to California it was while there that Joe and Marilyn came for a visit. One of their sons was in Palm Springs I believe at the time. We had the chance to have dinner and get to know each other. She was a very loving lady and we had a great evening. The thing I remember most is the love in Joe's eyes when he looked at Marilyn. The love between the two was so strong you could not help but notice. May God continue to watch over her loving family and bless you for all the good work you're doing.
I was reading through the site today 11.24.03, because I was thinking of Mariyln. Chris Ragazzo's words are so true about her. She was someone who was one of a kind, and she truly did appreciate "in your face honesty."
My best to the family. Even though I do not call, you are always in my thoughts.
First Cousin to Marilyn on her Dad's Side
This evening my husband Barry and I had dinner with Joe Brodoff. Joe showed us the two segments of "Crossing Over" that we had missed, and it was like having Marilyn back with us. I have many photos of Marilyn and her family over the years, but the televised photos were especially poignant and alive for me.
Thanksgiving is coming and I remember a Thanksgiving we spent together a few years ago. Eileen, Lou and the girls were traveling, so the rest of the Brodoffs (Marilyn, Joe, Steven and Bruce) were at our house for dinner. We had a great time and in addition to the traditional holiday turkey, Marilyn made her famous pot roast. It was wonderful, and I always meant to ask for her recipe. If anyone has it, please email it to me at email@example.com. It would keep her memory even more alive for me.
Happy Thanksgiving to all the Brodoffs; Marilyn's spirit is there with you.
We were friends from the Mayor's office
I would just like to let you know that there is not one week that passes with out the image of your mom or a memory of our time together popping into my head.
I would say now even more so, as it is the holiday season and all the finest restaurants in the City seem to be appearing on all sorts of TV programs. Funny enough, they are all the restaurants your mother had "friendships" with.
I call them "friendships" because to Marilyn they were not contacts, she would call them for a simple donation of dessert and not only would they call her back 100 times, she would be eating at the restaurant the next week with her husband.
I always admired her relationships with people and the way she made every single person she came in contact with feel special.
Partners in Crime at the Mayor's Office
We both had a strong background in securing donations for various events and we were also the "seniors" of the group. What I can I say about Marilyn? -the most outstanding detail that I remember about Marilyn is that she was a fighter -- and she would encourage me to do the same when I wanted to give up. We stuck together and won many battles including a few WARS. It was fun!!
She was my friend and I miss her dearly. I love you, Marilyn, and thank you for being part of my life.
Bruce Baruch Kivo
from John DiPrima
A very lovely, kind woman who just enjoyed
Marilyn was such a positive and extremely kind person who will be missed by all who had the privilage of knowing her.
Friends from the Mayor's Office
Your mother meant a lot to me in the brief time I spent with her. Her enthusiasm, determined zest for life and motherly advice was infectious and warmed my heart.
I want you to know how proud she was of you and how much she loved you. She cherished you as a son and a friend.
There have been so many great stories of her children, husband, friends, restaurants, shows, vacations, etc. She touched anyone she came across.
I will always regret not spending more time with her. Forever her stories and laughter will remain in my heart.
I hope that you and your family will always be comforted that she was a happy person and lived life to the fullest (and looking gorgeous). We should all be so lucky.
I'm friends with her son Bruce
The fondest memory I have of your Mom is when she visited me at The Plaza Hotel, when I was working at One CPS Restaurant.
She rushed over to me with that wonderful, glorious energy of hers and gave me a big hug (she was so happy I was working there).
Your Dad, well he just stood there and didn't say much, she had enough energy for everyone. She really made that day for me.
Bruce, your Mom was the ultimate in cool!
We were all lucky to have her touch our lives!
HARRIET HASKELL (BEFORE HASONOFSKY)
WE GROW UP TOGETHER, AS KID'S ON PARK PLACE
my name was harriet hasonofsky, I lived 2 house's from her cousin michael elmen. marilyn went to p.s. 144, and I went to p.s. 191, we grow up the same. I went with her to j.h.s.210, and jefferson.we are the same age. I was born july 4th 1939, in brooklyn women's hospital.we are a month apart.i spoke to her the last time, just a year before she died, then I called again and her huspand told me what hapened, so I called all the people that went to school with us, and also lived on park place all the way down to rochester ave, near 210. I still keep in touch with my school friend's, even the girl she was talking about bloosom fiserman, i'm the one who told blossom that she died, and I gave her marilyns home phone number.it's alot closer, when you grow up together.living on my block, it was like family, every body was close to each other.my granmother lived 2 house's from marilyn, right next to the temple.anyway MARILYN, GOD BLESS YOU, AND I'LL SEE YOU IN HEAVEN WHEN I DIE. LOVE HARRIET
she is my mom
Lou and I and the girls just got back tonight from a trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado with the Levy's. I thought of you much as the town and skiing vistas were beautiful and you would have loved this winter wonderland. Lou even quoted you saying your famous "I could live here" sentiment. When I picked up the local paper, I commented to Shelly that I always brought one home for you, as you loved to read all about the goings on in all different places. A scarf of yours was sprayed, with what is now a trademark perfume of yours, so that in some way you could be on the trip.
Barbara is busy now getting ready for her flight to Montreal in the morning. She will be meeting up with Christina, Laura and Sahrah for their first trip away together. As always, you would have been very excited to share this with her. Barbara's big 18th birthday is in two weeks and you would have been marveling and preparing for that I am sure. Between that, her driving, her upcoming high school graduation, her performances and getting accepted into college you would have been enjoying and celebrating it all with your little "jack in the box".
You also would have been so proud of Michelle. You would have been sharing all that is going on in her life and not believing that time was passing so quickly and that she just turned 14 and will be going into high school next year. You would have been cheering at her softball games as you had for her and barara in the past.
Having just been your wedding anniversary on the 28th of December and with New Year's Eve upon us your absence is so strongly felt (as it is every day) and we miss you greatly.
Though I never thought that I would "write" to someone who was not here anymore, I felt compelled due to missing you so much and reading the old and new memories from friends and family on the website.
No matter how close you are with someone there is so much more to know and to share. I am so happy that people are continuing to share their stories and memories....there can never be too many..... We were blessed to have you in our lives...there should have been so much more ahead for us...
we were cheated of future time and experiences...but we did have fun, love and devotion.....
i am her daughter
Once again wanted to thank those who have taken the time to share my mom's web site, as well as their thoughts and memories.
It means so much to us to hear old or new stories whether from her childhood or the recent past, from family or friends, or home or work.
If you think that we don't have an email address for you, we would love if you would add it when you wrote.
Wishing you all a Very Happy and Heathy 2004.
A Family Friend
I think it is beautiful that you, Ilene, write letters to your mother. I was just checking back today, thinking of your Mom and eager to read what others have to say, and I smiled from ear to ear as you brought your Mom up to speed on the latest news. If I might borrow from your concept:
Just wanted to drop a line and let you know that you have been in my thoughts, especially as the Christmas season came and went. You might remember that you gave us a wooden Santa Claus on one of your first visits to Los Angeles. You might also remember that it was lost to the Great Ragazzo Garage Fire of 2001.
Well, I am happy to report that a package was delivered this year, and upon opening it, I was delighted to see a fresh and jolly Santa Claus. It was sent by noneother than your son, Bruce (aka Bebo). Knowing that we treasured our Marilyn-Claus, he made a special effort to replace it. Now, whenever someone asks about our Santa, I am happy to use it as an excuse to talk about you....and believe me, we do!
Know that for every season in my home, for the rest of my life, myself , my wife and children will unpack our Santa and smile as we think about you.
Happy New Year to you, my dear friend.
Love and kisses,
Crossing Over with John Edward
I sure wish I had known Marilyn, however, reading every line written in this website makes me feel like I did know her. This is one giantic love story I will not soon forget.
You are all very lucky to have such a wonderful family.
This website is really moving.
The Rabbi's eulogy and your mom's memories are so touching.
The story she tells is so involving...although I never met her, I find her observations very open and inviting.
I would have liked to have known her.
March 2, 2004
Today we were privileged to bring our friends and family together to share a much awaited event.
A newly designed room, called Marilyn's Place, and a beautiful plaque, inscribed with a replication of my mom's distinct signature, were dedicated today in her honor.
This welcoming space, at New York's Beth Israel Hospital, will be used by patients undergoing cancer treatments.
With its home-like atmosphere, it allows them a private place in which to rest during, or in between, their daily regimens.
Those that use "Marilyn's Place" can watch TV or a video, listen to music, read, borrow a book, write thoughts in a journal, paint with an art therapist, visit with company, have a refreshment, take a nap,or just relax quietly.
I know that my mom would be proud to have her name associated with a place that is dedicated to the helping of people during such a difficult time.
My family is certainly proud of my dad for working so hard to see this dream become a reality.
Though this project is complete,we are happy to note that the Marilyn Brodoff Memorial Fund will continue on. Our mission is to have a new project each year that will contribute to the comfort, support and healing of those with cancer.
For 2004 we are working to secure funding for the purchase of new reclining treatment loungers, for the chemotherapy suite, as well as portable DVD players. For more information you may click on 'Marilyn's Place' below.
Many of you reading this note knew my mother well. We thank you for your support and hope that you will continue to think of our cause when you wish to make an "in memoriam" or "in honor" donation.
For those that did not know my mom personally, I hope that this website has brought to life all that made her so special to us. We also hope that you will be inspired to support the goals of our fund.
Whether a few words or a story, each written memory touches us greatly.
We look forward to future entries.
With wishes for a cancer cure
in our lifetime,
I am Ilene's friend
I have known the Brodoffs since Ilene and I were in 6th grade together. I distinctly remember the first day I met her mother. It was Ilene's birthday party and Marilyn welcomed a large group of giggling girls into her home to celebrate. I was new to Ilene's circle of friends, but was made to feel quite at home. As the years passed, I spent many days just hanging out with Ilene and many nights sleeping over.
I remember being at their home the night of the black out in 1976. Ilene's parents had gone out that night - I think they were at Madison Square Garden for something. When they returned home, they found Ilene, Bruce, Steven and me sitting around the table eating all the ice cream from the freezer because it would have melted away if we didn't.
I remember Marilyn's contagious smile, kind heart, welcoming embrace, adventurous personality, and most of all her love for her family. I know she is greatly missed by all those who knew her and I am touched by the way her family and friends have chosen to honor her memory through this site and Marilyn's Place.
She is my Mom!
Today is Monday, March 21...I am in Brazil right now.... in Salvador, Bahia to be precise... I just logged on for a moment to see my mom´s face and to read the latest entries....
I also wanted to share something I experienced tonight while watching a movie here (alone) in the local shopping mall... I went to see ¨Something´s Got to Give¨ w/Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton.... I don´t know why exactly, but I felt my mom´s presence so much tonight while watching this movie... she would have LOVED this movie! Maybe you would have had to have seen a movie with my mom to understand exactly what I mean. Often people are shy about laughing out loud in a movie theater, but definitely NOT my mom..... There was so many scenes in this film that I know she would have found extremely funny and while watching this movie I could actually HEAR her laughing out loud.... which only made me laugh outloud even more... really I could here her laughing like I often did when I went to the movies with her.... which was very nice. Truth be told though I would sometimes cringe from ¨embarrassment¨ and maybe even jokingly give her the elbow at times because she would be laughing so loud!! But nothing stopped her from laughing .. no matter where she was. Anyway go see the movie and think of my mom... maybe you´ll even hear her laugh like I did tonight.
Esther & Howie Stern
Friends of the Brodoff family
On March 2, 2004, we were privileged to be part of a large and loving group of family and friends who gathered together to share in the heartfelt dedication of a special room at Beth Israel Hospital in honor of a very special person. The light shining down from above that day was especially bright as you beemed with pleasure to observe this wonderful event. We were deeply moved to actually see the room which will be providing much needed comfort to patients and their families. It forever perpetuates your sincere consideration, concern & affection for your fellow human beings. One of the administrative nurses made a special point of telling us how appreciative she was to finally have this special, unique room available for her to meet in loving and peaceful comfort with troubled patients. The warm and glowing picture of you on the beach enhances the feeling of peace that the room provides. Through Joe and your children, your loving kindness will always continue to live on. We look forward to sharing in future additions in your honor at Beth Israel.
Love, Esther & Howie
A Family Friend
I just had to share this. Over the weekend I created my first website to advertise a local Mac consultant business. This morning I decided to check and see if it would show up in a search engine, so I typed my name and this was the reslut:
Marilyn (Scholnick) Brodoff
... for over an hour before handing the phone over to him, explaining that Chris was on the phone ... was thinking of Mariyln. Chris Ragazzo's words are so true about her ...
more hits from: http://www.marilynbrodoff.com/thoughts - 79 KB
The way I look at it, Marilyn and I are forever connected in cyberspace. It's pretty random, if you consider that I simply typed my name and nothing else. Either way, it brought a smile to my face as I thought about Marilyn this morning.
Howard Alan Krigsman
My mother is Adele Krigsman
This a wonderful tribute to Marilyn and brought many happy memories and tears. My warmest regards to all the family and friends of the Brodoffs. I am now living in Coral Springs Florida with my wife Bonnie and our daughter Amy. A special hello to Joe, Ilene, Bruce and Steven. I'm sorry we did not stay in contact, after my mother passed life was never the same. Thank you for all your kindness and for these for these special memorie. Love to you all. Howie. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Edward show
My father and aunt (today, may 31st would have been her 61st birthday) both died of cancer. It is nice to see someone taking a negative and making it into a postive.
Great website and I wish you all the best.
You have a beautiful family.
I DIDN'T, BUT,SHE HAS A GREAT FAMILY...
I SEEN YOUR STORY ON THE JOHN EDWARDS CROSSING OVER. I AM TRUELY SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS. I CHOOSE TO BELIEVE, THOSE THAT GO BEFORE US DO SO TO BE ABLE TO GET THINGS READY FOR US WHO WILL FOLLOW LATER. MY GRANDMOTHER (DOROTHY EVA HIEBER) WAS TAKEN FROM US ON FEB 6,2004.I, AS WELL AS THE REST OF MY FAMILY. HAVE BEEN HAVING A VERY HARD TIME DEALING WITH THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING HER DEATH. I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR THE INSPIRATION YOU HAVE GIVEN TO ME AND SHOWING ME, AS WELL AS OTHERS. A GREAT WAY TO HONOR THOSE WHO HAVE CROSSED OVER. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. I AM SURE MARILYN IS SO PROUD OF ALL OF YOU. GREAT JOB!!!!!!
John Edward Show
I was struck by her photographs and the light that came through in almost every one. What a beautiful memorial you have created with this website and with Marilyn's Place. I am grateful to the John Edward Show for bringing this to the viewing world. Know that she is with you always.
Pat in Florida
John Edward show
I just have to tell you that I am sitting here reading about your mom and tears are rolling down my face. She must have been a beautiful person. I saw that her maiden name was the same as mine, except spelled different and I was curious about that. You did a beautiful job on this website and I am sure that your mom would be very proud of her family. I lost my husband three years ago after 30 years of marriage. Once again, you did a beautiful thing. email@example.com
we were neighbors in seacrest building
Iam very sorry to hear about your mom she was such a beautiful person, and always smiling , happy theres not one day that I use to see her walking by the building that she wasnt smiling always very happy,
Heather N. B.
John Edwards Show
I saw your story on Crossing Over and was touched by it. I lost my grandmother to ovarian cancer on March 21st 2004 and 25 hours later, I lost my dog to cancer as well. It's good to hear that you are taking a negative experience and turning it positive. God bless.
JOHN EDWARD SHOW
IT SHOWS IN HER FAMILY WHAT A WONDERFUL WOMAN SHE WAS AND STILL IS...
I'M SURE SHE IS VERY PROUD OF ALL OF YOU...
I BELIEVE SHE IS STILL WITH YOU EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY...
LOVE TO ALL OF YOU..............
Thank you so much for sharing your intimate thoughts, feelings and special tribute to your mother on the John Edwards show. My family and I have been trying to create a similar website for my husband and I was thrilled to find such a shining example of how it could be done! Marilyn obviously has a terrific family and your love is evident in all you have said and created here. I wish you continued success in life and in Marilyn's Place!
Blessings to you from Chicago.
John Edwards Show
May 31, 2004
I just happened to catch a small part of the Crossing Over show today and saw a segment about Marilyn and how your family took the time to create a special room at Beth Israel Hospital for people getting cancer treatments. This website was also mentioned and I just had to look it up. All I can say is that the love you have for her has touched me in a way incapable of being expressed in words. I only wish that I could have known her in life, too. I laughed when I read where her son had watched "Something's Gotta Give" and spoke of how he could see her watching it and laughing. I too, have seen that movie, and if she's anything like me, I know the parts that would have tickled her.
God Bless all of you for the work that you are doing to help cancer patients... and I too leave you with the hopes of a cure for cancer in our lifetime.... I lost my uncle May of 1995.
Julie in Tennessee
I just saw the show today and was drawn to your site. My beloved father also died of cancer, as did an uncle and a family friend... but 3 aunts have survived it! Thank you for honoring your mother's memory and the family spirit that gets so many of us through trying times. Good Luck with Marilyn's Place-- we need more places like that to help people retain their dignity and comfort through medical challenges.
Gary R. Beck
Crossing Over with John Edward
Although I never knew your dear Marilyn, I was filled with joy from her smile, big ruby red lips and white teeth. I could hear her sing with her spirit. Her husband is a clever, humorous, warm and a gentle soul. All of you are to be commended for remembering her with Marilyn's Place. Yes, she is above there smiling as you said, knowing her spirit is there as a helper in those hearts and minds in need. She was blessed to have you all, and vice versa! And now you know for sure thanks to John that she is all around and with you until you cross over into her spirit once again. May God bless each and every one of you.
San Francisco, CA.
The first time Joe was on Crossing Over and connected with Marilyn, I could see the love and devotion Joe had to her. I couldn't help but to think how truly blessed they both were to have had the time together that they did.
I had to view this website and how very glad I am that I did. What a beautiful dedication to such a wonderful spirit.
I felt like Joe and Marilyn had something so very special and the photos and stories just showed how much love they had for one another
this memorial of your mother is breath taking. Reading your family history brought joy, laughter, and tears to my eyes. The love that your family has for one another is overwelming. Your mom was a beautiful person she'll be with you forever. Thank you for sharing your story.
I had met vMarilyn only twice which was insufficient time to know someone. However reading through all the thoughts and memories of friends and family, gives me a beautiful portrait of a most beautiful human being. Thanks Joe for suggesting I log on to the website
Sherry L. Brown
Although I never met Marilyn I can see the love that Joe and she shared. I record Crossing Over every day (3 of them) and several times I have seen Joe. I have watched the Joe and Mairlyn one several times. Tonight as I sit alone in the house I watched the show and they shared this website. I just had to leave the TV and get to this site right away. I've so enjoyed reading and seeing all of the family pictures again. What an incredible family and relationship she and Joe had. What you have shared and the memorials you have created will forever be appreciated. More folks than you'll ever know will benefit from what you have done.
Since I started watching Crossing Over I have a new found faith and belief in our life after we are done here on earth. Seems as though our journey is only begining.
Many many thanks to your family for sharing, and many thanks to Marilyn for touching my life and thousands of others.
Thank you Joe - you are an inspiration all by yourself. Marilyn was truly blessed to have had you in her life.
Blessings to all of you, and Marilyn please say "hello and send my love" to Francis and Jackie if you happen to see them. They are the world to me!
7/14/04 Lovingly, Sherry
I'm her daughter
I have felt your presence alot today.
I have also been thinking about all that is happening now and how much you would have loved to have experienced and shared it all with us.
One strong image is your pulling up in a taxi to the front of my home,in Hamden, CT, after your train ride from NY. You came to visit for a few days as I was overdue to give birth.
We busied ourselves for a few days and then we had the blessed event: the birth of Barbara, your "jack in the box". You were there to witness her birth and the glow on your face is forever etched in my mind when Dr. Holly said "here grandma" as he put her in your arms.
A few years later, Michelle was born.
You were away in Connecticut for the weekend and I remember calling you and dad so that I could "ask" you if you were ready for another little granddaughter. There were screams of joy upon hearing about our new blessing and within no time you packed up, came home, picked up Bruce and Steven in Brooklyn and arrived in New Jersey to meet your new granddaugher.
Now we fast forward, and Barbara is
off to college in less than 4 weeks
& your other favorite granddaughter,
Michelle, is going into high school.
How we talk about how much you would have enjoyed and beamed at each milestone, accomplishment, and day spent together.
We miss you..... and continue to feel your presence each and every day.
You will always be an integral part of our being, a source of inspiration and our guiding angel.
I am her son
AUGUST 18, 2004..... MOM WOULD HAVE TURNED 65 THIS WEEK!! I IMAGINE IF SHE WERE HERE SHE WOULD HAVE ENJOYED CALLING HER KIDS TO ASK, "SO.. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE A MOTHER WHO IS COLLECTING SOCIAL SECURITY???" UNDOUBTEDLY,SHE WOULD HAVE TAKEN THIS MILESTONE BIRTHDAY IN GOOD HUMOR. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM... WE LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU!!
I am her daugher
It's 3am and I hear you saying, "Ilene, get some sleep", but we just got home one hour ago from North Carolina.
Well, your little "jack in the box" is now a college student!!
We know how much you would have loved the school, North Carolina (we heard you saying, "I could live here")and being part of this momentous time.
For sure you are with her in heart and soul and we know you are watching over her.
By the way, she moved into her dorm on your 65th birthday and a butterfly flew right passed me just as we first opened the door to the building!
We all miss you so very much.
Crossing over.(tv show) on living tv
To the family, you have my greatest sympathy and condolances. It must be very hard to lose a mum. I think by opening
im very sorry but I pressed enter before I had finished. I think it is wonderful that you have opened the Marilyn room. Its a very good idea as you are worshipping her and others can go to there room for a calm and quiet atmosphere. Good luck in the future to all of you. Again sorry for not finishing the message above^ God bless you all.x.
saw crossing over programme here in England
Hello, I have just watched Crossing over here in England where I live. I remembered the name of this website, and I was touched by your story. My mum died in 1995 of cancer she was 62, she was beautiful as well. I think Marilyn was very beautiful, and looked like a lot of fun! She reminds me a lot of my mum actually! I wanted to leave a message here to let you know that even in another country Marilyn has touched other peoples hearts.
saw crossing over in England
Hi, just a quick note to say that from reading your website,your mum sounds like a amazing person.The photo section I thought was a lovely memorial to your mum she was certaintly very beautiful.Well done for creating this tribute.
I would like to say how after watch John I feel I also had to say a few words on your site, your Wife, Mother, Grandmother, was an exceptional Lady as looking at her pictures in life she just shone and I think it would have been a privalage to have known her. This site will now be one of my favorites as it does touch my heart so Love and God Bless you all.Betty Twycross.(SCOTLAND)
Thank you for sharing with us the lovely/loving memories of your Mum,wife,grandmother and friend.
I was watching Crossing Over today (Oct.13th)here in England and her smiling face hit my tv screen and lit up my living room. Marilyn would be so proud of all of you for keeping her memory alive.
Her self portrait painting at Cape Cod pretty much tells me the kind of person she was...a people person, bright, cheery, loving, caring to describe her in only a few words..
Best wishes are sent to all who knew and loved her.
i am her daughter
To all who write:
You can only begin to imagine the emotion and joy that comes over me when I read a new note.
It touches my heart that my mom still has the ability to connect with so many people and bring a smile to their face..
Nothing would have pleased her more.
Being able to communicate with people from all over the world is certainly exciting for us and would have thrilled my mom even more.
Through the caring and generosity of so many of you, Marilyn's Place is able to bring daily comfort to those undergoing cancer treatments. In a very home-like environment, they are able to rest, read, watch movies, listen to music, have private time for themselves or with family. During treatments they have access to phones, portable DVD players and movies. Upcoming are special reclining chairs for treatment comfort and the addition of two computers. These computers will allow the patients the opportunity to connect with loved ones and to conduct daily business, supporting their need to keep control over as much of their normal routine as possible.. Not only is it important for them to have a feeling of control, but it will help them to avoid falling behind in their obligations, which would obviously lead to additional unnecessary stress.
Our goal is to expand these rooms and
programs throughout the Continuum Health Care System allowing us the
privilege of supporting all of those who are so bravely facing this difficult time in order to look forward to a bright, happy and healthy future.
If you would like to learn more about how to support the efforts of Marilyn's Place, please see the special section devoted to this room and fund on the main page at www.marilynbrodoff.com
Thank you again for sharing with us.
May the lives and memories of your
loved ones be for many blessings.
Just wanted to wish you all the best with Marilyn's place,what a wonderfull idea,I'm sure many people will enjoy it.I lost my mother to cancer also.God bless and good luck from Ireland.
Crossing over in england 13.10.04
I felt compelled to write after watching "Crossing over" today and remembering the website address. I must say you are a truely great and loving family I was moved by your comments and love which has bonded you all. What a lovely idea to start "marilyns place" I hope it brings much happiness to those who use it and that it continues to grow in size over the years.
Thank you for sharing this story and I wish you all the best for the future.
martina mc ilkenny
Through crosing over
i really think what you have done for marilyn is couragous and very brave. I have lost members of mu family so I can understand the pain breavment can bring. thank you for giving us this to reflect on our own lives.
crossing over edinburgh
watching tv the other day, your big red lips filled the screen and my heart. I hope I never have to miss someone as sore as your family misses you. maybe someday we'll all be lucky enough to meet you and if your not sure its me, i'll be the one who remembered the new lip tatoo lipstick, for a true lady. xx
first cousin on fathers side
Last week was our 50th wedding anniversary and there was so much talk that day about my cousin Marilyn. She was staying with us all in our Monticello home when I was first introduced to my husband. She was the only cousin at my wedding, since it was a rather small affair. She was my maid- of -honor and have the video of her dancing with me at my wedding. She certainly was a very high spitited girl, and her spirit will always live on.
Darrow Terry Vineberg
I grew up with Ilene
First I want to say what a beautiful gesture this website is. I am touched at how many people felt so strongly about Marilyn (I always called her Mrs. Brodoff, though)and that her children and husband wanted to honor her in such a way. It makes you wonder if you will be remembered and adored that same way - as only a special angel would be.
I told Ilene recently, that I remember her mother always created great games for us to play at Ilene's birthday parties. The one that I remember most was her "memory board" where she would attach several household items, show it to us for a little time and then put it away and ask each of us to remember what was on it. The one who remembered the most items would win a prize. But the coolest thing about Mrs. Brodoff was she would always have a "booby" prize for the one who remembered the least. I liked to win that one because then I knew I was guaranteed a prize every time! (Sorry Mrs. Brodoff - I cheated!!!)
I also remember her fascination for entertainers, most especially Barbara Streisand and how Ilene would sing like her in her room.
Sorry Ilene, but remember the big furry hat she made you where to school in the winter?!?
I thought your mother was warm and caring and fun to be in your house with.
A big "Yasher Koach" to you and your family for creating Marilyn's Place and for wanting to share your mother with everyone. She sure did a good job raising you all.
Well, today is Michelle's 15th birthday.
We looked up into the crisp clear sky and thought of you and know that you are watching over us with love.
Rosalie Cohen DeVito
We were classmates -- Thomas Jefferson High School '57
I knew your mom and enjoyed her friendship.
She was a sweet young girl and always had a smile and "hi" for me.
We weren't "best friends" but I have fond memories of our school years together.
she's my mom
December 28, 2004
This is a special date, as it represents the day, that you and dad married 46 years ago.
Yours was a wonderful union of love,enjoyment,family, friends and incredible teamwork.
Though luckily blessings were abundant, at times there were life's trials too, which you weathered with grace,strength,humor and faith; always together as a well oiled unit.
None of this was ever lost on your children, who you modeled life's living for, in the most beautiful of ways.
As a part of you, we carry around your love, spirit, life and essence each and every day.
Esther and Howard
Joe, on this bright and shiny first day of the New Year 2005, our thoughts of Marilyn are with us as always. We felt that your recent message wishing our family health and happiness for the upcoming year was also being echoed by Marilyn from above. We continue to feel the warmth and consideration that you shared between yourselves and towards others. Marilyn's presence was genuinely felt at the Berday's recent house warming gathering of the "Bronx Gang". She was there! Our memories of Marilyn's strength, courage and high spirits are again proving helpful to our family, especially now as the past year has ended on a downward note for us. We will lean upon these thoughts to help shape a positive attitude; to us and to so many others, she continues to make a difference. Love and best wishes to the entire "Brodoff clan".
Barbara Marowitz Trontz
jr.h.s.210, jefferson & the old neighborhood
We did not hang out together but always said hello when we saw each other. She always had a smile & was very friendly. Years later we met again in the drug store she was working in. We talked & found out we lived in the same neighborhood & she told me all about her children & of course I told her I had a girl, Debbie & son Howie. When ever we met in the store or in Silver star we always talked about our children. She was a warm person & I felt terrible when I found out about her passing. My birthday is Aug.9,1939 & my husband is on Aug.18,1938. I think this web site is great, a wonderful memory of Marilyn.
I didn't but wish I had...
Never mind being proud of your mom...I'm sure she is looking down and feeling extremely proud of you all. What a wonderfully warm and loving family she was part of. I think that creating this site in her memory was a terrific idea. She sounds like one in a million. I'm sure her love is still keeping you all warm...take care of each other.
Through her son Bruce
Your Mom sounds like a WONDERFUL person as the testaments from friends attest to.
I am very sorry she left you so soon, but she left you and your family very pleasant and meaningful memories.
After I read the Rabbi's words, I can honestly say, tears came to my eyes.
I wish I had known her, maybe in my heart I do.
Thank you so much for the memories and allowing me into your life with your lovely Mother, Wife, and Lady.
(I worked at the Nemerson Hotel in the Catskill Mountains around the time the Brodoff family spent their summers there, but I did not know them personally.)
Adele Krigsman's eldest son
My mom & Marilyn were very good friends. My aunt Bernice told me about this website today & I wanted to pay my respects. My uncle said he still sees your dad at Pathmark from time to time. I live in upstate NY now with my wife, Kyle & our three children. I've been telling my family about the "old days" at the bungalow colonies and how much fun we had. My thoughts & prayers are with you all and hope you're all doing well. If you ever get a minute, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm sorry we loss touch throughout the years, but back then my mom was the glue that held everything together. It all seemed to slip away once she was gone.
Well mom...it is a few days past my birthday..one of the big ones...
Hard to believe...but even harder to believe is that you were not with us to celebrate. You were a most special person and mom. I hope in life that you truly felt that love and admiration from me. I am confident that you did, as I feel we shared a special mother/daughter bond.
Today we celebrated Ellen's son, Alan's, second birthday. His birthdate is the day before mine, March 29th.
He turned two and is just adorable.
I know how much you would have enjoyed the celebration, and how much your face would have lit up watching all the adorable toddlers play and "talk" at his party.
Thinking of you always,
Your devoted daugher,
I did not know Marilyn
I just watched the last few minutes of the segment on the John Edwards program about Marilyn. I felt compelled to communicate these words, all the way from Australia, so that you know that our hearts are with Marilyn and her memory from all over the world. xoxox Sharon
Jenny from Sydney Australia
I watched Crossing Over today, 22 April 2005, and immediately visited this website and tribute to a family's Wife, Mother, Grandmother and Friend.
It has inspired me to put memories to paper for my children who never met their grandmother (and my Mum) who died of cancer in 1973.
What you have created is absolutely wonderful and as a wife and mother I can't begin to imagine how proud Marilyn must be of you all. You have given her the greatest gift imaginable - a living celebration of her life. Thank you for sharing with us.
Best wishes from Down Under,
Kimberley, Sydney Australia
What a great memorial to your mum, she must have been very loved. How wonderful to have "Marilyn's Place" for those in the hospital, a living tribute.
She's my mom
Hi Mom, May 8,2005
Though I never thought I would be the kind of person that would write a letter to someone who is not here with us anymore, I feel it comforting to do so to you. It makes me feel like I am connecting to you through the airwaves to the beautiful place that a beautiful person like you would be.
This is our third Mothers' Day without you with us...we miss you each day more than words can say.
Though usually together with all the family on this day, this is the first year that I was not. Lou and I drove down to North Carolina for a weekend getaway in Pinehurst, NC before picking up Barbara at college on Tuesday. Michelle couldn't miss that much school and softball so she wasn't able to come with us. Dad slept over Sunday night helping to make our getaway possible.
I know if you were here, you would have encouraged Lou and I to have a relaxing getaway together, though it was Mother's Day weekend. We were lucky enough not to need a holiday to get together, to celebrate in your being a wonderful loving mother to me, nor my being a mother.
You were thought of all day, in all the little things that we did and saw, knowing how much you would have loved the area and that kind of trip..Many times I heard you saying, "I could live here!" When we listened to Shirley Bassie and Carol King, during our drive,I remembered the fun we had singing together and your beautiful voice.
Visions of your arrival in Hamden, Ct
in mid January 1986 (to keep me company while I waited for Barbara to arrive)popped in my head, as we arrived at her school. It was hard to believe that she had just completed her 1st year of college.
Time does fly, of that we have no control. Luckily we do have control
over remembering the special love of a parent and the wonderful memories coming from that warmth and devotion. That we can keep alive and close to our hearts forever...and that we will.
We honor you today and everyday.
I wish I had known your Mother. I am so touched by everyone's memories of her. What a wonderful way to cherish them! I wish you every success with what we discussed. It would truly be "god's work."
Thank you for sharing this with me.
mae wolf kaplan
I've gotten to know about Marilyn just
by listening to Joe.
What I have learned is that she was a most
exceptional woman who was cherished by so
Few women have had such a devoted and caring husband.
She's my mom
Mom, I just returned home from Brazil where I spent the past 3 months. Every now and then, while I was away and sending emails from an internet cafe, I would take a quick look at this site, just to see your smiling face and also to read any new comments that may have been posted. I really regret that you are not able to be around to share in so much with us all. I know you would take great delight in hearing about all my adventures in Brazil. Others may listen politely when I speak about my trips, but I know you would be genuinely interested in hearing and seeing EVERYTHING.... down to the last digital photo... down to the last souvenir. I know you would be so proud of me right now for getting out there and living in the world. Oh, something happened one day on the beach that made me think of you and smile. About a month ago, I was walking on Ipanema beach, which was rather crowded with people, mostly young people, all engaged in very social activities: talking with friends, playing soccer, riding the waves, etc.. Suddenly I came upon a woman, sitting alone, on a towel, maybe in her 40s or 50s... as I passed her I noticed her digging for something in her bag.... when I took a second look, I watched her as she very carefully applied lipstick to her lips, while checking her lips in a small hand mirror. It was a very funny scene.... all the activity around her didn't make her flinch.. she just concentrated on her important task. Well, it made me stop and think of you.. and of course it made me smile. In that moment I felt that you were with me. I couldn't help but think of all the napkins and tissues I would find around the house or on the table in a restaurant, with an imprint of your big red lips!! Strange the things you remember about a person. On another day, as I sat and watched the sun setting, I found myself thinking of you and of all things...your HANDS! I have a very vivid memory of your hands.. including your "injured" thumb nail. I remember you telling me how you once stuck your hand in your pocketbook while you were in school and how you got stuck with a protractor. Anyway, your hands will be etched in my mind forever.. for so many reasons... they are the hands that comforted me when I was young..... they are the hands that made my favorite meals (including chicken cutlets!!)....they are the hands that wore your wedding ring, your engagement ring and all the other rings that I remember you wearing. Anyway, I could go on and on with so many little memories that I have . I don't usually write things here on this site, but for some reason I was in the mood tonight. And to tell you the truth, writing these things right now and remembering all these little details, made me feel closer to you than I have in a long time. It's not that I don't think of you regularly, of course I do, but in this moment, I feel like you are with me RIGHT NOW.... like I am talking to you.. not sure why .. it just feels different in this moment.. well, maybe you are with me now.. here.... in this room that I am in ... my old bedroom in Brooklyn!! I am here for the night. I am going with dad tomorrow to the house in Hemlock.... the house that you made a HOME. Anyway, I hope you are here with me... not just here, but everywhere. Ok, I am going to sleep now.... Mom, come visit me in my dreams.... I always like seeing you there... come more often if you can...
love you... Steven
Hi Mom... well, I already "talked" to you since I arrived here a few days ago.... "here" being Los Angeles. I am here for a couple of weeks visiting Joy and some other friends for my birthday. Well, you probably know all this already since I am sure in some way you are watching over me. As I zip around the Pacific Palisades, and drive along Sunset Blvd., passing through the neighborhoods of Bel Air, Brentwood and Beverly Hills, I cannot stop thinking of you as well as feel your presence. I know how much you loved it out here and I can hear you say over and over again, in your enthusiastic, melodic voice, "Oh, I could live here"!!
It makes me smile and laugh every time. Well, maybe your wish has come true in way, because while I know you are with me, Bruce, Dad and Ilene on the east coast, I also imagine you now, sitting on a beach chair, on Malibu beach, surrounded by old and new hollywood stars.... just taking it all in...enjoying the sounds of the ocean... taking nice walks along the shore as you look at the houses... and of course, no walk of yours would be complete, without a conversation or two with some hollywood star or producer that you have always admired.. and whom you know EVERYTHING about. And of course, they would be taken with your famous smile and engaging personality as well ... so much so that they all look forward to running into YOU as much as you them....
Anyway, this is my little fantasy and one way in which I would like to think you are spending your time now.... doing all the things that for one reason or another you weren't able to do in your lifetime "here"... who knows, maybe now it is all so much better.. "there". I hope...
I am thinking of you mom and wishing you were here with me to celebrate my 41st birthday next Friday..
Mom, yesterday was your 3rd anniversary in Heaven. Well, if there is such a thing as Heaven, for sure you are being housed at "The Four Seasons", in their best room, with a spectacular view of the ocean....
Dad and I visited you at the cemetery yesterday. For me though, I find I just don't feel close to you there. In fact, it is probably the one place that I feel the most distant from you. Like you are not even there. And I think I figured out why. When you were here with us physically, you were so full of life and with such good energy, that it is just not possible to see you any other way. I still feel you are with me and around me as I live my day to day life. I feel you everywhere I go and with everything I do. A cemetery is for people with no life, but you are still so alive to me, in so many ways, that I just cannot feel your presence there. But that is ok. I think it is a good trade off. I would rather continue feeling your presence everywhere else...
Through memories from her Aunt Dorothy & Cousin Mel
Life is so ironic. I came across this website on a fluke by doing a google search for something totally unrelated. This website was amongst the search results.
I recognized the name and thought it could not possibly be the same person that her aunt Dorothy and Cousin Mel spoke of. When I scrolled thru the website and saw a picture of her husband Joe (who I had sat next to 2 months ago at Addie's wedding) I quickly realized that it was the same Marilyn.
I took time to look thru the entire website and was very moved by its content. It is obvious that she was a remarkable woman who loved life and the people around her. It is very apparrent that there is so much love in your family and that is where she found her strength to continue her battle against the terrible disease that ultimately took her life.
Although, I have only met her children and husband briefly, I feel as if I know them and Marilyn too. I am sorry that I never had the pleasure to actually meet her but know that she is someone that I would have enjoyed speaking and relating to. It is comforting to know that the world has people like Marilyn in it....whether they are here physically or spiritually.
I commend her children and husband for taking the time, energy and generousity to share her story with others so they may benefit from it. Just from knowing the type of individual she was, I am sure she would be very proud that you chose to use this venue to carry on her legacy. Creating Marilyn's Place exemplifies the values by which she lived.
It has also inspired me to gather the memoirs and history of my own family in a similar way so it can be passed on and how important it is to keep those memories alive.
she's my mom
Happy Birthday, mom.
It is so hard to believe that this past August 4th was 3 years since you passed away and sadly left us.
That is one thing that I won't truly ever get over. Life is good, but there will always be something very special and important missing as well as an underlying quietness. You were vivacious, strong, a lover of life and us and you had so much to first begin to experience. Plus, I looked forward to sharing all of it with you, and of course you sharing in our lives.
This note will be short as it is very late and I have to get up soon. You know how I can get started on a project and stay up late.
Mom, I know that you are still here for us. I see and hear you each and every day in so many ways.
I wish I could give you a big hug and kiss, and get a red lip mark on my cheek from you. Would love to hold your hand and feel your love. I do though and will always continue to.
You were cheated, as were we.
May your own special heaven be lifting you up to feel healthy, free and happy.
We love you mom .....
She is my fabulous Mother
Today is your 66th birthday, and I am sitting in the house in the Poconos – the house that is still so infused with your style and spirit – thinking about you.
It is hard to believe that it is a bit more than three years since you passed away, and more than four years since your illness robbed us of the energy and vitality that brightened all of our lives.
But you accomplished so much, and touched so many people, during your too-short life that even in death you remain a constant source of inspiration and love.
You are ALWAYS in my thoughts, so I decided to finally collect and share them with all the people not fortunate enough to be able to call you Mom.
My earliest memories of you involve sound, color, and movement.
I may have been too young to understand all that was around me, but I sensed that I was in the middle of a whirlwind. I remember that your clothes contained vibrant colors and patterns, and that your cosmetics drawer was a rainbow of powders, lipsticks and mascara.
I remember that you were always singing and that you were always in motion. Taking care of the kids, cleaning the house, doing laundry, going food shopping, cooking....you never stopped.
And I remember that you could spend all day Saturday cooking and cleaning, and then leave for an evening out looking like a movie star.....
I remember how you used to invite friends over the house for a drink and appetizers before going out.....how you would put out cut-up vegetables and dips, pretzels and cocktail peanuts and cantaloupe cubes with the little wooden toothpicks sticking out of them...I tried not to eat all the cantaloupe before company arrived......
I also remember trying to go to sleep to the sound of you and your girlfriends playing an occasional after-dinner game of Mah Jong, the sound of your game tiles clacking and the grown-up smell of perfume and coffee filling the house.....
I remember all of the birthday parties you would throw for us, inviting all the kids from the building for ice cream and cake and games.....and all the impromptu coffee and cake get-together's you'd have for your neighbors, and how you'd welcome all the new people who moved onto the floor. You always became their new best friend.....
I remember that you would go on major shopping trips to Key Food and have the groceries delivered in big cartons....and how we would help you unload the boxes and put away everything. You always would make me happy by buying me the things I wanted....especially the "astronaut-themed" foods that were popular with kids in the late 60's and early 70's, Tang and some freeze-dried chocolate stuff that you used to pack in my lunch box.
I also remember that during the summer months you would always buy a big piece of watermelon every few days. Every time, without fail, you would take the piece out of the bag, hold it up over your shoulders and announce: "WAAAAATERMELLLON!" You told me that's how the fruit man used to sell his wares on the streets of your neighborhood when you were a little girl.....
I remember that you were an incredible cook.....everything you made was good..... Lasagna, meatloaf, tuna croquets...... Roasted chicken with your secret sauce, which you told me was made with orange juice and ketchup and spices.....You loved the story about how one day I came home from junior high school and told you that I smelled your chicken while sitting in one of my classes......and then you took me into the kitchen to show me the freshly-made roasted chicken cooling on the counter.......
It was always a favorite moment to come home from school and see your chicken cutlets draining on paper towels....As a kid I always liked to watch you make them, and help you dip them in eggs, milk and breadcrumbs before frying them in oil.....
And no discussion of your cooking skills would be complete without mentioning your brisket and stuffed cabbage....you faithfully recreated the recipes handed down from your mother and grandmother, giving these dishes an "old world" flavor no restaurant could ever match. One of the biggest regrets I have about turning vegetarian for six years is missing out on these dishes!
I remember that you were a big fan of salty foods, like pickles and olives...you even wrote in your memory book that when you were a little girl you used to buy a sour pickle everyday after school.....you must have eaten a lot of these things while you were pregnant with me, because I love them too....and you can be sure I think of you whenever I eat them......
Speaking of food, I have to acknowledge one side effect of all your good cooking....the absolutely VOLCANIC belches you were capable of producing....they were off the charts and you were never shy about letting them rip...they were ALWAYS good for a belly laugh!
That's a main memory I have of you.....you had a wicked sense of humor and always loved to laugh and have fun with your kids.......
I remember how important family was to you...how close you were to your mother, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins and nephews, and how important you were to them.
I remember the incredible love you and dad shared...there were always lots of hugs and kisses and other displays of affection between you two....and I can hardly remember any arguments or raised voices...ever.....
I remember what a great friend you were to SO many people, and what an incredible grandmother you were to Barbara and Michelle.
Family and friends were really all that mattered to you...you didn't have a materialistic bone in your body, and measured success and happiness by the quality of the relationships in your life.
I remember your love of California.....Although you were sad when I moved to Los Angeles for four years, you told me you were excited that I lived in the Pacific Palisades because when you were a young girl you used to write fan letters to Esther Williams, who lived in the Pacific Palisades in the early 1950's.
I remember how excited you were to visit me and spend time exploring Los Angeles. I remember how you would pore over maps and explore many neighborhoods and attractions, and how you loved walking through the Malibu Colony shopping center, which was right next to the famous "movie star" neighborhood....I remember how much you loved eating and people watching in the restaurant "Coogies".....how alert and observant you were, looking at all the diners and people coming through the doors, hoping to spot a celebrity or two.....I was surprised you didn't have whiplash by the end of the meal!
I remember we had breakfast at a popular restaurant on the Pacific Coast Highway called Patrick's Roadhouse...it was actually owned by an elderly man named Patrick, who happened to be in the restaurant that morning....You of course engaged him in lively conversation, and even had your picture taken with him in the parking lot before we left....
I remember how excited you were when I was able to get you on the Paramount Lot and how you explored every inch of the studio grounds....and how, at a taping of the television show "Frasier" we attended, you said hello to Kelsey Grammar during a break in the rehearsals....the conversation lasted only a few moments, but I remember that he responded to your energy and personality like he was talking to an old, dear friend.
Even though I moved back to New York in 1995, your obsession with Southern California continued.....
When I went to Los Angeles for a friend's wedding in March 2002 (just a few months before you passed away) I sent you some of the local newspapers and real estate magazines from Malibu, which I knew you'd enjoy reading. I recently looked through some of the personal papers that are still in your bedroom dresser drawer and was very touched to see that you not only saved the note that I enclosed ("Here are some local Malibu newspapers to keep you California Dreaming!"), you also cut out and taped to the note the "Malibu, California" postmark that was printed on the mailing envelope.... It really touched me to see that.....
I'll always remember your incredible thirst for knowledge. You had an interest in everything: Popular culture, politics, sports, current events, history, geography, travel....and a million more subjects. Your antenna was always up, and you were always gathering information....there was hardly a topic or subject you didn't know even a little something about.
I remember how the dining room table would become your library, filled with newspapers, magazines, books, maps, and torn-out articles, and how you would sit quietly for hours on end reading and absorbing all of this knowledge, taking notes on people and things for future reference.....I remember you would use a lens from your mother's eyeglasses as a little magnifying glass....
Your mental rolodex of people, places and things was unsurpassed, and always came in handy -- You were always the "Go To" girl whenever anyone needed information or an answer to a question....nine times out of ten you were able to reach into that storehouse of knowledge and provide the info....The reaction of the family member, friend or co-worker who needed that info was usually three words: "You are amazing!"
I remember your gift for dealing with people, and your love for making things happen.
I was so proud of how in the early 1990's, when you were already in your 50's, you decided you wanted to get involved in what was going on in New York City....and within a few years went from being a volunteer at the Mayor's Office of Film, Television and Broadcasting to being an important staff member at the Mayor's Office of Special Projects and Community Events.
You really hit your stride during those years, and I'll always cherish how close we were during this period. Like a good mother, you got my resume to the right people, which helped me secure two interesting jobs in the Giuliani Administration. It was so much fun being able to share this exciting time with you...we were always on the phone several times a day, sharing the latest info about what was going on at City Hall and what we were involved in.
I was always so proud of all that you accomplished for so many diverse Mayoral events.
Whether the event was celebrating Italian Heritage, Greek Independence, Harlem Week, Theater Week, the Crystal Apple Awards, or Israeli/Puerto Rican/Indian pride, you always thought of interesting and creative ways to make the events fun and memorable.
I used to love how you would call me at my office in the morning to tell me that you knew of or just read about a company that would be a great sponsor for an upcoming event and that you were going to call the company CEO. Inevitably, by the end of the day (sometimes even by Noon!) you'd call me back to let me know that you spoke to the CEO and that he/she committed to donating thousands of dollars and or/products and services to the event! You did this time and time again, and these Mayoral events were always something special due to your efforts.
You were really in your element at these events, and I loved to watch you interact with people from all walks of life...no matter what their race or religion or sexual orientation or age or station in life, you were always everybody's new best friend......
I was always so proud to show up at an event at Gracie Mansion and see you working the crowd, making sure that everything was going smoothly and that all your hard work and creativity was paying off.
I loved when you introduced me to the event sponsors and participants and your co-workers, if only to hear their glowing comments about you. I remember how you took me on a little tour of Gracie Mansion before one event and you introduced me to the Mayor's chef and kitchen staff. They raved about you as if you were the First Lady of the City of New York! You would have been a great First Lady, and I feel that in your own way, and in the minds of the countless number of people who came to know you as their friend and contact in City Hall, you were. I wish I had a dime for every time someone said to me "MARILYN is your mother?! You are so lucky!!"
"I certainly am" was my stock reply.......
One of my favorite memories of those years was when we worked together on a Mayoral event that celebrated the construction of the minor league baseball stadium in Coney Island. It was a great day: the weather was beautiful, lots of politicians, VIP's and celebrities attended, there were many large vintage photos of Coney Island and Brooklyn on display, and it was an exciting occasion for the City and the Giuliani Administration. I was there to help handle the media, and it was fun for me to be with you that day, to share in the excitement and know that we both had a role in making this event happen.
And I just remembered that you also helped me secure hundreds of bag lunches for the people who lost loved ones on TWA Flight 800....I was working at the Office of Emergency Management and we were helping to organize a one year anniversary memorial service at St. Patrick's Cathedral......one of my colleagues remarked that it would be nice if we could provide all of the family members with something to eat while they were being transported from St. Patrick's Cathedral to a second memorial service that was taking place out on Long Island.....Since you were also working on this event I gave you a call to see if you had any ideas, and within a day or two you were able to secure donations from several prominent restaurants....my co-workers were blown away by how quickly you made this happen!
And I remember when you were part of the team that helped organize the massive New York Yankee World Series Parades and City Hall ceremonies. I worked a few of them, and it was always hilarious to me (in a good way!) to see you working behind the scenes!
I remember one particular World Series event that took place in October 2000. Draped around your neck was a Yellow Security Badge that had the word "Tent" printed on it, which meant that you had access to the ultra-secure hospitality area in City Hall Park where the New York Yankee ballplayers were hanging out before the ceremony. Those were the most coveted and hard-to-get security badges, and only a handful of Mayoral staffers had them. I remember thinking, "There are eight million people in New York City, maybe 15 people have that badge....leave it to my mother to be one of those 15!"
There is picture of you at the ceremony, with the badge around your neck, in the photo section of this website....
This is one of my very favorite pictures of you.....you look beautiful and happy standing among the crowd and pomp and circumstance and excitement outside City Hall, and the flags and banners hanging from City Hall can be seen in the background.. You are carrying a "New York City Millennium 2000" tote bag, a memento of the monumental New Years Eve 2000 event you helped organize, and you are clutching a bag of peanuts.
It is a very bittersweet picture though, because just a few short months later cancer struck again and you needed to take an extended leave from the Mayor's office to deal with your illness.
I will never forget the incredible courage and strength you had and displayed during your final months.
Despite the dreadful and unrelenting way your illness escalated, you never once complained or gave in to despair... you remained positive and strong to the very end.
It was extremely sad and difficult to see you suffer and diminish before our eyes.....but despite your weakened condition, your spirit and love remained as strong as ever.
I remember many moments lying on the bed with you, just holding your hand and talking (or not talking), and how you would silently stroke my head as I lie there (you used to like to call me "my little cantaloupe head," because my head is still as round and smooth as it was when I was a baby!)
I remember that a little more than a week before you died you had gone for another test to see if yet another round of aggressive chemotherapy had any beneficial effect. After you had the test we all went out to dinner....you, dad, Ilene, Steven and I.....something we hadn't done in a long while.
We went to a super-trendy vegetarian Asian food restaurant near the hospital because you had read about it and wanted to try it. We were game for it, even dad, who prefers meatloaf with ketchup as a main dish (!)
That dinner had to be the funniest ever, because the food was so bad it was nearly inedible. We all laughed non-stop as each terrible dish was delivered to our table, and as dad struggled to swallow a couple of forkfuls of this stuff.
I'm certain we were fated to go to this restaurant.....if we had gone to a typical place that served chicken and burgers we probably would have eaten the meal in muted conversation and with heavy hearts. But you picked a place that let us escape the reality of what we faced, let us laugh our asses off for a little while and enjoy our last real time together as a family unit...Somehow I don't think that's an accident......
The very next day we received the news that not only did the chemo have no effect, but that the cancer continued to spread. The doctors now wanted you to check into the hospital for a few days of round-the-clock chemo. We all knew this was a last-ditch effort, but your strength and positive attitude still gave us reason to believe.....
A few days later you checked into the hospital and began your treatment. When I got the hospital that night after work, I was a bit annoyed to see that the hospital's volunteer art therapist was in your room. I remembered him from a few weeks before, when he stayed in your room for more than fifteen minutes gently trying to persuade you to draw a painting. I knew he meant well, but he was persistent and kind of bugged me and I was glad when you gave him a final "No thanks" and he left. So you can imagine he was the last person I wanted to see as I approached your room.
But for some reason you decided that you wanted to make a painting of a memory you had from a trip you once took to Cape Cod. He gave you a blank sheet of paper and some watercolors, and guided you step by step. I was transfixed as I watched you gather your strength, and with great concentration spend the next couple of hours pouring your soul into that – your very first – drawing. I really believe that you transferred your spirit and life force into that painting....the little face you drew even looks like you! I look at that drawing very often and feel blessed that you decided to draw it and that I was present when you created it.....and I give my thanks and gratitude to that volunteer art therapist who dedicated his time and talent and helped you give us an everlasting gift.......
I also remember two ultimate examples of the courage and life force you displayed during your last few days.
I was in your hospital room while you were getting a blood transfusion...you were feeling OK and we were talking for a while but then you started to get the chills and shiver...slowly at first, but then faster and more violently....your teeth actually started to chatter...I called the nurse, who took your temperature...the monitor quickly registered 100, then 101, then 102, then 103, then 104, then 105....it looked like the damn thing wouldn't stop, and even the nurse began to look nervous...but then the gauge finally stopped at about 106 and the nurse was able to quickly bring your temperature down to almost normal....when this little drama was over and you were feeling better, we talked about what a violent reaction you had....even you couldn't believe how hard you were shivering....and then you looked at me and let out a long, fake shiver, mocking the seriousness of a situation that occurred not minutes before! It was amazing how you could still have a sense of humor during such a difficult time.....
And then a few days later you did the most incredible thing I've ever seen, one of the most courageous acts ever, not 30 hours before you passed away.
It was Friday night, August 2, 2002. You were at home, and really starting to feel the devastating effects of the three days of intensive chemo you just endured. You were having a bad day, most of it spent in bed.
At about 10:00 pm I was in the living room with dad, and we heard you shuffle out of the bedroom and walk towards the living room. You had enough strength to lie down on the couch and talk with us for a few minutes, which I hoped was a good sign. But when you got up to walk to the bedroom, it was obvious you were in dire shape. It was crushing to have to watch you begin to slowly and painfully walk back to the bedroom. I even looked at dad with fear and resignation.
But then you did the most unbelievable thing.
You slowly turned to dad and I (perhaps you sensed our fear and sadness and wanted to make us feel better) and broke out into a little "Chubby Checker" Twist dance!
A smile came across your face as you swiveled your hips, shuffled your feet and clapped your hands! You were "Mom" again! Dad and I laughed and clapped along and things felt normal for a brief moment.
And then it was over.
Your smile slowly disappeared, and you turned and weakly shuffled back into the bedroom.
But I was galvanized by your little dance...I even e-mailed Chris and Marion in Los Angeles to tell them what you did and how I hoped this was a sign that things would turn around and you'd get better....I went to sleep that night confident that you'd be stronger and feeling better in the morning.
But you must have known better....and wanted to leave dad and I (and all who love you) with a final memory that is the essence of who you are.
When I woke up the next morning, dad told me that you had a bad night....and during the day you got progressively worse, to the point where we had to bring you back to the hospital.
When we were driving you to the hospital for the last time, you were in the front seat, drifting in and out of consciousness......at one point during the journey, I looked out the car window and stared at the Coney Island Parachute Jump in the distance and thought back to the day we spent there for the minor league groundbreaking ceremony....how happy and full of life you were....and then I looked at you and thought "This cannot be happening......"
You seemed to rebound a bit once you got settled in the hospital and received fluids...I remember that you brushed your teeth, that you talked to Michelle to try to cheer her up, and that you wanted all of us to go home to get some rest....YOU were concerned about US.......
But I also remember you kept repeating: "I just want to sleep, I just want to sleep......"
Little did I know the acute meaning of those words.....I would have NEVER left that hospital room if I thought you weren't going to make it through the night....although we knew the situation was dire, we all expected to see you the next day.....
We all left at about 10:30 pm and I was home watching some TV and reading the paper later that night when the strangest thing happened.....I distinctly heard what sounded like part of my name being shouted out...it was an urgent sound....I had my head down, looking at the paper, when I heard it...I immediately looked up at the TV.....I thought that maybe the volume suddenly increased when the program cut to a commercial, as what sometimes happens.....but it wasn't the TV.....and I later learned that this happened around the time your heart started to give out......
I fell into a very deep sleep that night, so deep that I hardly heard my phone ring in the wee hours...I heard the final ring, which woke me up....a minute later the phone started ringing again, but in the darkness and my confusion I couldn't find the phone....I finally found it and hit Star 69.....praying that "the number of my last incoming call" was from the 212 area code...I was hoping that you got up in the middle of the night and needed someone to talk to......
When I discovered that the call came from New Jersey, my heart sank.....why the hell would Ilene be calling me at 4 AM?
I dialed her number and Lou picked up the phone. He got right to the point: "I just got a call from the hospital. Your mother took a turn for the worse and she passed away."
At that moment something died inside me as well.
Lou was going to come into Manhattan to pick me and Steven up and take us to New Jersey. The next half hour was spent pacing my apartment, trying to absorb the news...it still felt too surreal to understand....
It was only when I walked out of my building and felt the warm, humid, summer night air on my face, and looked at the moon shining down on the empty hole where the World Trade Center used to be, that the enormity of what just happened hit me...You "passed away", and I'll never see you again...
I do wish I stayed with you that last night so you would have had a loved one near, but I can't change the past or let it eat me up. I know that you know you had – and continue to have – the love of all your family all around you......
And I know that you remain a constant presence in my life....I can't count how many times by I've looked at my watch or clock or bike odometer and seen the numbers 8:18 (which is your birthday, August 18th) flash at the exact moment I looked.....or how many times I've walked in to a store at the exact moment one of your favorite songs begins to play on the in-store radio....or how many times a lone butterfly will follow me for a while....there are just too many similar instances to mention.......but I love when this happens, because I know you are right there with me......
There is so much I miss about you I don't even know where to begin....
I think of you every time I pass City Hall, the Municipal Building and the Brooklyn Bridge...when I look out over the ocean in Coney Island...or watch a plane flying overhead or a cruise ship heading out towards the horizon...when I hear a song or joke I know you'd like, or taste a sour pickle or marinated mushroom...or when I read about some business leader in the City that you knew, or read a newspaper or magazine article I'd give my right arm to be able to share with you.
I think of you whenever I'm in Sheepshead Bay, knowing how much you loved that neighborhood.
My earliest memories include the walks we used to take along the water on Emmons Avenue, something we continued to do in my adulthood. I remember you told me your dad used to take you for walks along Emmons Avenue in the 1940's, and you'd cross the wooden footbridge into Manhattan Beach to visit a family friend.
I remember that in 1999 I made you take the Q train with me from the Sheepshead Bay station to Coney Island because I knew you'd love the view of Brighton Beach and Coney Island from the elevated tracks.....sure enough, your face was plastered to the window for the entire 10 minute ride, and your eyes were bouncing all over the place trying to take it all in!
You'd be fascinated by how many fancy new homes, stores, restaurants and clubs have opened in the Bay....especially the gourmet food shops that carry many products from Russia and Eastern Europe. I always got a kick about how the Russian shopkeepers in Brighton Beach would start talking to you in Russian as soon as you walked through the door! I can't say I blamed them, not with that pretty, round Russian face of yours!
Whenever I visit dad in Sheepshead Bay and walk into the side entrance of the apartment building, I always look to my left into the laundry room and expect to see you standing with your wagon, waiting for the clothes dryer to finish and/or folding laundry, just like I used to see hundreds of times over the decades.
I still see you in the lobby chatting with all your neighbors and with Francisco and the other maintenance people who you got to know so well.
When I put my key in the apartment door and open it, I still feel your loving greetings and happy hugs and kisses. I still see all your newspapers and magazines spread out on the table, the freshly made salads and fruit in the refrigerator and the bags of almonds, dried apricots and Wrigley's and Trident gum you liked to keep in the cabinets.
Of all the rooms in the apartment, the kitchen is the saddest place for me. The oven and stove you used to cook tens of thousands of meals stand neglected, the refrigerator and cabinets you kept filled with delicious food and other treats now comparatively threadbare.
But I can still close my eyes and see you cooking for your family or a party of 25, and that makes me happy.
So, my beloved mother, these are my memories of the wonderful life and times you gave me, of the love you shared and the lessons you taught. I hope that the people who read this gain a little sense of how great, fun and exciting it was to have you for a mother, and how life is obviously not the same without you. The world is definitely a sadder, lonelier, less fun and less exciting place.......
But while you are no longer here physically, you will always be with me in my heart....and that makes me feel good......
As a favorite song from a favorite band says:
I Can Feel You Standing There
But I Can't See You
Love you forever,
(Your little cantaloupe head)
08 26 05 - Hey Marilyn, Yeah, I know it's been a while since I wrote to you...what can I say :-) You would not believe it but I'll be 50 in a week, it's so weird, I have been thinking of you a lot lately. I'm making it a point to enjoy my weekends more, I'm leaving work on time, not taking work home with me..hey, can you believe I stopped excercising, it's true, pretty soon I'll have a buddha belly :-)...but, not to worry, I'll keep in shape. I'm thinking of going to see Chicago again. Brooke Sheilds is going to take on the role of Roxie Hart. Should be interesting. By the way, I just realized why I was thinking of you...belated happy B-day. Miss you madly, chat with you later...hugs and kisses.
TLS :-) p.s. = take care of Zorro for me.
Leonard Brum and Peri Brum
Dear Joe, Ilene, Steven and Bruce
Peri and I have just finished reading and rereading the memories of Marilyn and after several hours and many many tears, we felt that we wanted to be a part of this beautiful tribute. You are all so lucky to have had each other. How envious we all are! Marilyn certainly left such a wonderful legacy. It was a privilege just knowing her. You should all feel very proud for what you have done to perpetuate these well deserved recollections. We convey our love to all: Joe, Ilene, Steve and Bruce
Len and Peri B
Stephanie Godlis May
since my I was a small child
I know Mailyn since I was 21/2, Our first conversation was when I went over to her and told her that I had a new baby brother. Marilyn and Joe had just moved into the building we lived in Brooklyn. My parents and the Brodoffs became best friends.They would sit outside of the building with all of our neighbors.The adults in their folding chairs, and the children playing in the street which was our playgroung. We used to go on family trips together to Hershey Penn., Bear Mountain, West Point, spent summers together at Kan Acres in South Fallsburg. Even after the Brodoffs moved to Sheephead Bay and us to Bayside we spent may family holiday dinners together. We were family.
I remember how my father was always pulling pranks on Marilyn, and she was always falling for them. She believed whatever he told her, no matter how many times she got fooled. My mother and Marilyn were like sisters. Speaking on the phone all the time, sharing thoughts and making plans.
Life goes on, kids get married, have babies, move away,and start their own lives. We were together for all of those things.
Marilyn and I would call each other just to say Hi,(she more then me) I do not know any of my friends who did that with their parents friends. To me Marilyn was someone in my life that I could always talk to. It wasn't that often, but it didn't matter.
Then sometimes things happen that get out of control.People react to things in ways that you don't quite understand,and that is what happened to our families.
We have not spoken in many years. I was on the computor and for some reason I clicked onto the sight. It was Bruces letter that brought me to tears and felt the need to write something, so I did.
i watched crossing over with john edward and was moved.
hello i am Sharon from Great Britain and i was watching crossing over with john edward and was so moved by the love that marilyns husband felt for her.
i just wanted to say that watching him made me feel happy when he spoke about her.
i am eighteen years old
Crossing over show with John Edward
I watched the program Crossing over with John Edward. I was moved by the story of Marilyn Brodoff. What a wonderful, special lady she was,your site has really touched my heart. I lost my beautiful mother a few years ago and I know the pain and sorrow of losing someone that was so alive, and vibrant and caring. You have inspired me to do a web site. My love to all the Brodoff family members, you are a credit to your departed mother.
I live in Australia and I want you to know that all the world knows about your love to her and the love you all received from this beautiful lady. May God her and you all too.
She is my Mom
It is a few minutes after 9:00 PM on November 29, 2005.....exactly 43 years since you gave birth to me......and I am thinking of you with love and gratitude and happiness and sadness....
I wish you were here to join in the birthday dinner Dad treated us to and to shower me with all your birthday hugs and kisses.....
I do -- and always will -- feel your loving presence all around me, every minute of every day.....and that's the best gift you could ever give me....
Love you always,
From the Mayor's Office
My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.
Marilyn was so proud of you and the whole family. I always admired that pride she carried with her.
I know that when the sun shines, it is her bright smile beaming upon all of you.
She was truly a ray of light.....
From the Mayor's Office
I worked with Marilyn at the Mayor's office.
She was an amazing woman with a HUGE heart.
She will be remembered always.
she's my mom
Well, today was a special day, that you witnessed the beginnings of, 20 years ago.
After my due date had come and gone, while pregnant with Barbara, you came to Connecticut to hang out with me as I waited for the big day. The morning that you arrived,I came to the door, as you pulled up in the taxi that had driven you from the New Haven train station.(Let me note at this time, that that was after you had taken a bus from Brooklyn to Grand Central. You were never lazy and would always but yourself out for us and your friends. Nothing was too much to do.) Of course, as usual, you were in full animated conversation with the driver. Not only did you ultimately know all about him, his life and family, but he knew about us and why you were here. As he took your bag out of the car, he looked at me and said to you, "she is going to have a girl".
We had a lot of fun getting ready, talking, shopping, eating lunch out and being together.
Twenty years and one night ago (January 14th,1986) you, Lou and I were sitting in a restaurant in Hamden, Ct having dinner. Around 7:30pm, I jumped up from my chair after having a terrible jolt of pain in my back...I was in labor! We packed up our dinners and went back to the house. There we were with me laboring through the night.
At some point, you excused yourself and said that you were going to go to bed...and I teased you asking how you could go your room and leave me while in labor. You said that this was the time for Lou and I to share privately, but of course if you were needed we should get you. Well, at one point in the middle of the night, Lou knocked on your door and said, "Marilyn, I think this is it" Well, within two minutes, if that, you went from your nightgown, to full dress, with boots included!
But then, a few minutes later, after we spoke to the midwife, we decided that I should wait it out at home for a while longer before heading to the hospital.
Well, as quickly as you were dressed, you were back in your pj's ready to give us our time once again.
Well, we woke you up at around 8am, telling you this was it. You helped us during the time that I was getting ready to go to the hospital. You laughed at me as I insisted that we stop somewhere to pick up breakfast for you and Lou. After reaching the hospital and checking in, you started to walk to the waiting area. Lou asked you where you were going, and then said, "oh, no,you are coming upstairs with us to labor and delivery"!
Well, up the 3 of us went about 8:30am.
About 9:45, you heard my "things are really getting going" sound, as did the midwife. She said that I was going to have the baby and Lou was up by my head and you had the camera at the ready.
At 10:37am, our 5lb,2oz girl came into the world...with her Grandma Marilyn witnessing the whole thing! That's how your nickname for her, "My little jack-in-the-box" came to be.
In the middle of the delivery, Dr. Holly came in, saw all was going well and took the camera from you and took some pictures. After Barbara's birth, you were sitting in a chair and Dr. Holly walked over to you, holding Barbara. He said, "You ready Grandma?" and layed her in your lap. He then took the most amazing picure of the two of you, that I have by my kitchen sink. Your smile was from ear to ear and you were just glowing.
It pains me (us) that you are not here to share this,or other special days with her or just the simple day to day .
Dad came over last night to sleep over, and it struck me as ironic, that the day before Barbara's birth Lou and were out to dinner with just you, and here on the night before her 20th birthday, we were out to dinner with just dad, due to a very sad reason.
Mom, you were, are and always will be a part of our lives. We carry around your essence everyday and think of you during special happenings as well as the joys of the simple day to day.
You taught us well how to appreciate all moments of celebration, joy togetherness, friendship,good health and the simple pleasures.
Thank you mom for everything,
We miss you soooo much.
These are some other things that we talk about how excited you would have been to be part of:
Michelle's 16th birthday, all the things you would have been part of at school, such as Michelle's tennis team, her 16th birthday, Barbara's assistant directing and upcoming first role at UNC, trips to Chapel Hill to visit Barb on campus (we all hear you saying "I could live here"), my performing in Jamboree, Alan's getting bigger, Sy and Lil's 50th anniversary (that you and dad should have been so blessed to have)Tammy's upcoming birth in 10 days or so, our trips,going to the movies, sitting in my sunroom, you family and friends celebrations, our new home in Hemlock, and our all being up there at the same time, Neal's engagement to Cristy and their upcoming wedding, all of us going together to see Wicked, on Broadway, to watch Cristy perform one of the lead roles,Bruce's new job and his indidual business pursuits, the continuing adventures of Steven and his new private business venture, and on and on. You would be very proud of dad and his continued work at the assisted living facility, his taking of two classes at the local college each semester, his writing his own news copy and doing radio broadcasts a couple of times a week at the college, and in general his strength and devotion to "Marliyn's Place" and the upcoming "Marilyn's Learning Center" that will begin to formulate in the next two weeks.
What the two of you had was very special and we are very lucky to have you as parent's and role models.
There is much more..but I have been writing for a long time and it is late, 3am,so I will get some sleep, as I hear you telling me to do.
I saw the John Edward show when Joe was read
I live in England with my two kids and i was watching the John Edward show when Joe was read. It touched me very much to see the real life love story that Marilyn and Joe had. She looked a truly lovely lady, with a great big smile that lit up her face.
My heart goes out to the family. I too have lost a parent, my dad, and never a day goes by when I dont miss and think of him.
My love to all of Marilyn's family and am sure that their strong family bonds will help them to draw together in their loss.
she's my mom
As always, when there are special family happenings or just fun things, your not being here to share in them is just so evident to all of us.
I know there is always something missing because of that.
I always picture how enthusiastic you would be and how your face would light up with your bright smile. Always there would be the "Mark of Marilyn"...red lips on everyone's cheeks as you went around hugging and kissing in celebration. Your warmth and love of celebrating all of life's joy's, whether big or small is known by all.
You would love Jamboree, the show that the high school parents write, produce, sing and act in to raise scholarhip money for the graduating Seniors. I can imagine how you would be clapping, singing and laughing, as you watched me and others perform this February.
Today, your "Jack in the Box" granddaughter just signed her first lease for a garden apt, that she will be sharing with her current dorm roommate, come the start of the next school year.
North Carolina was an area that you loved and I can only imagine the joy it would have given you to help Barbara set up her place.
Our little Barbara, has sure grown up fast...
And now more good news:
Tammy and Andy had a beautiful baby boy on Sunday... I can picture your vividly beaming face as you shared this exciting time with her and our families. I see you cuddling with the baby and loving every minute of it.
We miss you so much mom and think of you all the time....
Through The John Edward Show
I'm sorry that I never knew Marilyn but she sounds like a really wonderful lady. I live in Australia and am 17 years old and I just wanted to say what a devoted man that her husband is and what a kind and loving person that she must be.
Many thoughts and wishes.
John Edward Show
I recently watched Joe being read on the John Edward show. I watch this programme regularly and am extremely fortunate at the age of 51 to have my Dad, Mum, two brothers and sister still with me. Although my mother is suffering from MS and in some discomfort these days I can only begin to imagine the thought of losing her or indeed any member of my family. To watch the John Edward show really does give me hope that all is not lost after a loved one passes and I am sure your lovely Mum and wife is very much with you all. Looking at the photos of her she exudes such vitality and warmth and it is so cruel to see her taken away from you when she obviously had so much more to give. God bless you all and thank you for preparing me for what is enivitably to come and I pray that a reunion with her is only a matter of time away.
P Campbell (UK)
Susan Sherman-Grose, email@example.com
Ilene's childhood friend from the building
I don't know what compelled me to this sight this evening.I knew Marilyn had passed away through my family and so many times I wanted to contact Ilene to say how sorry I was, but it has been many many years and some water under the bridge unfortunately. I find myself laughing and crying here all at the same time while pouring through all of the wonderful memories of Marilyn and the family. I Remember our hysterical times sitting at the kitchen table at the Brodoff's home with Ilene, Bruce and Steven laughing up a storm (probably at something silly Steven did) with Marilyn singing and JOe Whistling away in the background, ferocious Alfie barking up a storm when you first knocked on the door... it makes me long for those simpler times again. You always felt welcome and wanted there. And that was very important to me as a young girl growing up in that building.
Marilyn was a wonderful,warm classy lady, always smiling. I remember that. She was never in a bad mood--ever. She always made you feel welcome. You could always stay for dinner, it was never a problem for her. Laughter always filled the air in the Brodoff home and Ilene and Marilyn had an extremely special relationship. Anyone could see that.
I think it is so inspirational for anyone to read the about the hospital memorial and dedications here. My husband was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and it doesn't look good for him right now. But we are hanging in and seeking out all agressive treatments. I found inspiration and strength in this sight and I thank you so much for that. Be well everyone--Susan
By way of a friendship with Joe and Rocky
We met Joe at Three Star Restaurant last night and he "suggested" (told me) that I catch up with new additions to Marilyn's Website.
Good move, Joe.
I spent the last hour reading.
Once again,I was reminded of the love that was shared by the Brodoff family.
And, once again, reminded of the inspirational woman that was Marilyn.
It is a memorable legacy.
Marilyn is my Mother
Today is Mother's Day 2006 and I am, as always, thinking of you with love and devotion.
I love and miss you,
She is my loving mother
Missing you on this Mother's Day, as I do every day.
Each day there is always something that brings you to mind... either putting a smile on my face or tears in my eyes. No matter which,they come from the rich memories of fun and love, that make those tears of sadness,from missing you, flow.
In March, Dad took my out for a birthday dinner. We met Lou and Bruce (Steven was in Brazil for his 3 month visit) in the city midweek for dinner. After being seated, I went to the bathroom to wash up, and upon returning Bruce's face was in shock as he was telling me to listen to the song that was playing in the restaurant at that moment. Well as soon as it registered to me, my mouth dropped as well....it was Carol Kings's "Smackwater Jack". Now that song is not a popular song that gets played on the radio..I don't think I have heard it but a handful of times in a decade (if even once), but there it was playing as we gathered to celebrate my birthday...now if that wasn't you joining us in some way, I don't know what is. All those Saturday/Sunday mornings we would put the records of Barbara, Carol, Bette and Shirley on the stereo and sing out loud...and of course Smackwater Jack was always in our repetoire. So you see, you are always with us, a part of us and around us. Of course, we wish you were truly here physically with us, but that we have no control over....we just have to feel you with us each day in our own way.
Barbara just finished her second year of college and Dad and I moved her out of her dorm room last week. We helped her move into a cute condo ranch "home", with her roommate "Pie".
We could picture you busying yourself with all the packing and uppacking of boxes, having your boundless patience, energy and enthusiasm for the project, move and setup. You would have beamed from ear to ear on this move and Barbara's being in the city for her internship this summer.
Michelle just finished her second year of high school and we know you would have enjoyed sharing her school successes, her beginning to study for her driver's permit, her tennis games.
Being part of the girl's everyday experiences with school, boys, friends, life and their passions would have filled you with joy.
You would have so enjoyed yesterday's Mother Day, as being together with family was always a great pleasure of yours. Being there to celebrate Tammy's first Mother's Day and playing with her son Ryan, and Ellen's son Alan, would have topped your day off as well.
The Saturday before Mother's Day I received a beautiful card from Debbie Barenfeld. It seems that she sent one to me, Shelly and Susan in friendship. Unfortunately, the four of us don't have our mother's here on earth with us any longer. It was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes...you know mom, like our tear and tear talks.
I will quote her now:
..."and although our mothers can not be here with us, I hope that wherever they are, they are celebrating together and they are happy and proud of the women and mothers that we have become"
I know that you would be proud of me, your sons and your granddaughters, as you influenced us in the most wonderful ways.
May your spirit and being be peaceful, happy, comfortable and celebrating among the moon, sun, stars and loved ones. You certainly continue to be remembered, loved and honored here on earth.
FAMILY FRIEND, MORE LIKE FAMILY
THE DAY I MET THE HARRISON'S AND THE BRODOFF'S WAS A VERY SPECIAL DAY FOR ME. IT WAS THE DAY OF ILENE & LOU'S WEDDING. MY HUSBAND STEVE(WHO WAS MY BOYFRIEND AT THE TIME) WAS AN USHER IN THE WEDDING AND AN EXTREMELY CLOSE FRIEND(MORE LIKE BROTHERS) OF LOU'S. OTHER THAN LOU, ILENE, AND GARY GOLDEN, I REALLY DID NOT KNOW ANYONE ELSE AT THE WEDDING. STEVE INTRODUCED ME TO THE HARRISON'S SY & LIL AS WELL AS THE BRODOFF'S MARILYN & JOE AND I WAS WELCOMED WITH OPEN ARMS AND THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF A RELATIONSHIP THAT I WILL TREASURE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE BECAUSE THESE BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL PEOPLE HAVE TREATED ME (AND MY EXTENDED FAMILY)LIKE FAMILY.WHENEVER WE WERE INVITED TO FAMILY FUNCTIONS OR GATHERINGS AND MARILYN WAS THERE I REMEMBER HAVING INCREDIBLE WARM CONVERSATIONS WITH HER ABOUT ALL SORTS OF THINGS. THAT WAS MARILYN'S GIFT SHE FOUND A WAY TO DRAW YOU NEAR AND WHEN SHE HAD YOU, SHE WOULD JUST OPEN UP HER HEART TO YOU. SHE ALWAYS MADE ME FEEL INCREDIBLY SPECIAL. I WILL NEVER, EVER FORGET HER BEAUTIFUL SMILE, IT WAS INFECTIOUS. MARILYN PLEASE KNOW THAT YOUR FAMILY IS INCREDIBLY SPECIAL TO ME. ILENE & I TALK ABOUT YOU AND MY MOM ALL THE TIME.(MY MOM PASSED 5 YEARS AGO). WE KNOW HOW THE OTHER FEELS& WE ARE ALWAYS THERE FOR EACH OTHER WHEN WE NEED TO LAUGH, CRY, OR TALK ABOUT YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW. YOUR DAUGHTER IS AN INCREDIBLE WOMAN, BUT YOU ALREADY KNEW THAT. I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT I AM PROUD AND HONORED TO HAVE KNOWN SUCH A WONDERFUL, CARING, LOVING WOMAN SUCH AS YOU. YOU WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED AND GREATLY MISSED.
DEBBIE BARENFELD 5/18/2006
Robert Nemser (Nemo)
The Neighborhood, School & Mutual Friends
I lived on Lincoln Place between Buffalo And Rochester Avenues, right next door to Blossom Fishman. I went to PS 191, JHS 210, and Thomas Jefferson HS. I "hung-out" so to speak, at the two luncheonettes (Winikoffs & Charlottes) next door to the Congress Theater, on St. John's Place, between Buffalo & Rochester Avenues. I am a year older than Marilyn and we crossed paths often. It was always a pleasant conversation, a laugh. a smile, a welcomed moment in time, a fond and nostalgic reveree. A memory that is more important and poignant to me now than it was in my swaggering teenage years.
I hadn't thought about or remembered Marilyn for the past 49 years, but when I saw her picture on this website, a flood of fond memories and images filled my emotions and I felt myself grinning from ear to ear. I even remembered Marilyn's voice and was amazed that I could hear it in my recollections. It seems that Marilyn made a lasting impression on my subconcious as she must have done to so many others.
We are at an age when those that have contributed to our journey from our teens to adulthood are leaving us. I just went to my 50th. Jefferson reunion which was bitter sweet. I saw so many friends that I hadn't seen for many, many years, including Harvey Saltz who Marilyn had a crush on. Harvey didn't age at all and looks the same. The reunion also paid homage to those classmates that have left us over the years and that was the bitter part. Those memories of those gone are what keeps all of us smiling. Let us not think of where Marilyn has gone, but where she has been and all the lives she has touched and how we all are the better because of it. This website is a wonderful tribute to her life and I am so thankful that I had stumbled upon it. I will be thinking about Marilyn and feeling this big grin and flood of fond emotions of gentler times gone by. Shalom!
Why do I feel compelled to write an entry in this memory page when I had never had the met the lady? I realise that her warmth compassion and sparkle is testament of life, and touches people just like me.
I wish you all continued love, support and strength. Footprints.
I never knew her
I just saw a reference to the site on the TV Program 'Crossing Over With John Edward'. I thought i'd have a look at the site. Once i read the site and viewed all of the pages, i felt so moved and wanted to say that the idea behind the site is trully amazing. The dedication thats gone into creating this site just shows the love and warmth that must have been felt towards Marilyn.
Crossing Over with John Edward
Just think that here I am in Scotland touched by the beauty and unique sweetness of your lovely Wife and Mother!How many thousands has she touched,people who never met her and will never meet you but who admire what you have done in her name.God Bless.
I have just sat and watched the show in England 17 July 2006,and was touched and moved by her story.What a coureageous lady,and i admire her husband for the wonderful work he is doing for others.God Bless you.x
Crossing Over Show
What a fantastic website. I am in England and have also just seen Marilyns story on Crossing Over. You must get such pleasure from the fact that her story is reaching far and wide, across the globe.
I enjoyed reading her memories and seeing the pictures of her life.. what a very beautiful lady.
All best wishes to you all and especially on the upcoming anniversary in August.
Crossing Over Show
Well what can i say....am only 15 and am not usually interested in these sort's of things but i was watching the crossover show and was really touched by Marilyns story and decided to visit the website i truley admire her husband for everything he had done and still does...R.I.P Marilyn and god bless your family:)
I'm her daughter
I sit here now thinking how, in two hours, it will be 4 years since that unimaginable night, when our phone rang at 3:30am, with the shocking news of your passing.
We have had to go on, for ourselves, families and for you, but there will forever be an empty space in our hearts and day to day life. There was a palpable spark of energy that you brought into a room and our lives due to your love of living,laughing, giving, hugging, sharing, doing and more..
How you would love being part of all that is happening now...
There is more to say, but it will have to wait...
I think you somehow know you are with us every minute of the day and we carry your love and spirit with us wherever we go and in whatever we do.
We miss you mom....
and love you to the stars..and beyond..
I'm friends with Bruce
I cannot believe it's been 4 years since your Mom passed away.
I'll always remember her smile and how she loved people......Your Mom was one of the great ones!
Ken and Larry Chase
Only from our friend Joe's obvious love for her.
Joe, warm memories. We recall you and your Marilyn living by the sea at the end of Brooklyn. We remember a boy born in August of some year, Bruce?
Do you remember. Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org!
she's my mother
Each day I think of you as I go through the big and little things in each day and in life as a whole.
There are so few things that happen that you don't run through my mind: whether it be a song, a day at home, in the Poconos, or on a trip, having read about the recent Barbara Streisand concert (and how you took me and we had a magical night), sitting in the sun room, having a "memory" question, wanting your opinion, sharing a birthday, holiday, family and friend time, our "tea and tears", sharing your passion for your work and experiences, your phone calls and long phone messages (as if you were actually talking to me, and not the machine!), your get up and go no matter where or when, and just you, your love of family, friends and life.
I could go on, but I will leave it at this:
What a beautiful, brave, strong fighter you were and continue to be in all or your family's hearts.
Your love and life continue to be an inspiration to all of us and continue to inspire us (with dad's wonderful strength, energy and initiative) to dedicate programs and rooms at Beth Israel and Roosevelt Hospitals(("Marilyn's Place") that are helping support those going through their own cancer treatments in hopes of making it easier for them to get through and utlimately win their battles.
We miss you and love you,
I was the artist who worked with her on the picture
A wonderful woman, it was a pleasure to have worked with her. She was so quick to share this wonderufl moment in her life. She took the chance to paint something so personal, and special to her. I asked her to tell me about that time on the beach and discribe it in detail, so we could both see it clearly. Then she took a brush filled with the Orange light and painted it. It was a please to have known here, even for such a short while. Thank you for sharing that moment with everyone.
Mr. & Mrs. David Fawcett
Through Crossing over
Im an american woman living with my husband in N.E. Lincolnshire England. UK I watch crossing over, seeing your familys story about Marilyn brings things back for me when I lost my father in Massachusetts in 2005 of the exact illness. The love you have in your family inspires me to go on with my lost. Which is still painful for me. Thank you, you are truely Inspirational people. God Bless you Im sure marilyn watches over all of you, as Im sure my Father does me as well. David & Susan Fawcett
I just felt such admiration for you all when i was watching crossing over in England today, you all have such strentgh and grace. This, i am sure, comes from having such a wonferful person in your lives, she will and is always around you all, and i am sure shes very pround of you.
I met her at a mall one day
Softly within the shadows
she heard a gentle call
and taking the hand of jesus
she quietly left us all
This is just a little something i wrote in memory of Marilyn
Rest in Peace Marilyn
I think we met while in school at TJHS
I just lost my 1st wife in Sept and I think your web site is a great tribute to her.. bets regards Gene
I just happened to wake up a short while ago,and the clock just struck 3:30am....an hour etched in our minds forever.
Just thought somehow I would connect with you.
Barbara is home from college...going back on Sunday...
Missing you and sad that you are missing out on sharing all the good things with me, Lou, Barbara,Michelle and of course dad, Bruce and Steven and the rest of our family and friends.
We love you.
You will always be with us, within us and in the stars above.
And yes mom...I'm going to go back to sleep..
Hope to see you in my dreams.
she's my mom
Just a quick entry as yesterday was Barbara's 21st birthday! So hard to believe that 21 years have past since you were in the delivery room with Lou and I at Yale University Hospital.
I think of your words as you called Barbara your "little jack-in-the box", as you "watched her pop into this world".
I have that fantastic picture of you in the delivery room after Dr. Holly brought Barbara over to you, when you were sitting in a chair and said "here Grandma"...the elation on your face could have lit up Manhattan!
How your face would light up now sharing in her birthday and in her life
(as well as Michelle's ,of course, who recently turned 17 and has her driver's permit)
Your love of dad, your children and your grandchildren was very special and we were so lucky to have you demonstrate that to us everyday by your words and actions.
You are thought of, missed and loved each and every day.
phyllis mininsky smith
we grew up together.
The Thomas Jefferson reunion brought back so many familiar names. Growing up in Brooklyn with Marilyn and Adele Krigsman I was known as Cookie Mininsky, but when I worked at Yale-New Haven Hospital and knew Lou Harrison as a young resident I was clearly grown up and known as Phyllis Smith.
Marilyn was close to Adele Krigsman, and altho a year older than me I was in their class at Jeff and hung out with them. I was also friendly with your aunt Fran, mom's sister. I remember beautiful girls with wonderful personalities.
After many years of not seeing each other we met again when I believe Ilene's daughter was born at Yale New Haven.
My childhood memories of Marilyn and Fran are fond and fun filled. It was so sad that Mom, Aunt Fran, and Adele were taken from us too soon.
I wish you all well.
nadine santwris oshea
Watching john Edward
Hi i watched the show John Edward today which featured your wife, i thought she sounded like a lovely lady, and was pleased that you have made a website in her memory, i bet she would be so proud god bless Nadine
Through Crossing Over
Ive just watched the show in the UK today (16th March 2007) and had to find the website. I was so touched by this BEAUTIFUL woman and her family. I hope you find continued joy as well as comfort in reading the messages left here about your mother. Looking through them today, she was obviously so special, an angel on earth.
unfortunately, i didn't.
YESTERDAY IS HISTORY. TOMORROW IS A MYSTERY. TODAY IS A GIFT. TRACEY FROM SCOTLAND
she's my mom
It is hard to believe that 5 years ago was the last time we shared a Mother's Day together...
How sad it is that you are not here with us to share in all the day to day things that are going on....and there are many.
We always talk about how you would love being part of Barbara and Michelle's growing up...seeing them at 21 and 17 ....and sharing in all the exciting things they are involved in at school and life. How you would have loved to drive to North Carolina with dad and I to pack Barbara up, have dinner with her friends, sit in her first apartment, see the shows she was involved in and share in all the exciting things she is participating in this summer. On top of that you would be talking about all the things that you could do with Barbara this coming Fall when she will be in NY for a school semester. We know that with all the people you meet, there would always be a "right" person to ask , no matter what the topic. Also, unbelievable to you would be that your 'little jack in the box' is now a college senior!
You would be excited to be driving in a car with Michelle as the driver...sharing in her love of tennis, hearing about how she was helping younger students in peer group and how she will be on the year book committee next year. Interested in the different health care professions she was thinking about as a career. I know you would be looking up information and stories about the places Michelle will be this summer, so that you could share that with her...
how you would love to have come to look at some of the colleges Michelle is looking at and not believing, like me, that next year she will be a high school senior!
There is so much more to add but my story would go on and on.
You are in my thoughts, heart and mind every day. There is always a place of emptiness without you here.
We miss you so much and our family, dad, Bruce, and Steven always bring you to life when we talk about different things.
You were a powerhouse, a lover of life, a strong women, a fantastic loving mom, a wonderful friend, a great role model and a go getter.
Dad has continued to be an advocate for more Marilyn's Place projects and I know you would be proud of the new learning center that will be opening soon at Roosevelt. We are just sorry that we aren't doing it with you here..as we know you would be so happy to be part of a project that was helping other people.
My mother you will always be and I am the most grateful and proudest of daughters for that reason.
We were cheated of time. For as much as we did do, now with the girls older, there is so much more that we would have been doing and so much you would have been doing with the girls. How unfair life can be.
Watch over us and know that our love for you reaches to the highest star...
We know that you are sparkling above and spreading your warmth and love to all who knew and loved you.
Forever your loving daughter,
I am her son
May 13, 2007
Thinking of you with much love and sadness this Mother's Day -- and every day.
You are always in my thoughts and dreams....and I feel your loving presence around me every minute of every day.
Love you forever,
friends with Ilene growing up in Sheepshead Bay!
I just saw Ilene at our 30th highschool reunion on June 9, 2007 and overheard that Marilyn had past when Ilene told Michael Pollack. I was saddened and schocked I guess because my last memory of her was so vital and beautiful and youthful--more so than anyone elses' Mom that it's hard to believe she was taken so young. She had to be the prettiest and most youthful mother of all ( my mom was pretty and young looking too at the time but Marilyn was even more youthful in spirit). She was extremely warm, engaged in our lives and fun!
The last time I saw Ilene was out our 22nd highschool reunion--8 years ago and I had no idea that Marilyn was sick already. To date, I don't know what type of cancer that took her life and am saddened to think of the suffering she and her family endured.
My childhood in Sheepshead Bay was were pretty terrific because of families--mother's like Ilene's--Marilyn (I called her Mrs. Brodoff too)that opened their homes to become a home away from home.
I remember i moved into the Sea Isle Apartments on Nostrand Avenue-- the 'neighborhood' in 5th grade and was in Ilene's class..I think Mrs.Chakin? Anyway, for a newcomer--I was immediately welcomed to Ilene's home and have fond memories of being there from 5th grade through highschool. I remember eating pizza, playing games and--blasting Barbara Streisand music and just always laughing and singing and sharing joy with our friends at Ilene's house with her brothers, father and Mom. We would stay real late over the house. They were the like the brady bunch to me as I am an only child.
Ilene and I were often leads in our school sings together and I remember her mom being so involved with our activities and she was so supportive and engaged. (She was like a back stage Mom..living vicariously through Ilene as she loved the theatre too!).
I remember thinking she and her husband were a great couple. My parents were divorced and I did not see that in my home so it was further very nice to be around.
This is an incredible site and an incredible project. Anyway Marilyn,
you will live on in my heart and memories fondly forever,
Cristy and Neal
She was my aunt
I did not have the good fortune of meeting Marilyn, but I feel that I begin to know her through all the beautiful stories and memories I hear from Neal and his family with such love and warmth. Thank you for including me in a part of her family.... Cristy
Aunt Marilyn was "The Gum Lady." Every time she visited me as a child at our house in New Rochelle on Bloomingdale Drive she would whip out a pack of Dentyne. She was my mom's sister. She was very loving and fun and had such a big heart. Her larger than life presence is clear even now by all the people who continually express their love for her, even after all this time. I love her and miss her very much, and am so happy to be a part of her family... Neal
Ilene Jane Harrison
Marilyn is my mother
It is very hard to think that it has been 5 years since you lost your very brave and valliant fight against cancer.. that we were robbed of having you in our day to day life and that you were robbed of enjoying the simple and large pleasures in life yourself and with us all.
You never stopped amazing us with your strength,bravery,optimism,and perseverance. Through all that you were going through you continued to be loving, supportive and concerned for your family and friends, who were worried about you and who might have been going through their own struggles.
Your zest for life still resonates in me as you were a 'ball of fire' and put your best and all into everything you did...with much success I must say.
Your love of your grandaughters, Barbara and Michelle was evident, and you had unlimited patience when it came to playing with and teaching them.
Your appreciation of the simple things and pleasures in life will always be with me, as well as your being a beautiful, loving, selfless mom....just the best.
Rest in peace mom...
You will forever live in all who love you.... "I"
Marilyn was my mother
August 18, 2007
Happy Birthday, Mom!
My love for you grows with each passing year, as does my yearning to hear your voice, see your face, and feel your touch once again......
You were the best mother and friend a boy could ever have.....and I'll always cherish the very special relationship we had...
Love you forever,
It's the 13th of Sept 2007 and i live in Cardiff, Wales Uk. I have just seen Crossing Over and Joe being read. I felt compelled to leave a note to say how truly inspirational you all are. To see the love that Joe has for Marilyn moved me so deeply. I am 29 and single but if i could be loved for just one day with the intensity that Joe loves Marilyn then i would leave this world so very happy.
It is so important, especially in the society that we all live in at the moment, to see such a story. The devotion, love and genuine respect you all show towards Marilyn gives hope to the rest of us that the world isn't always as bleak as it seems. No matter what we all go through as individuals or as a world, to know that love can exist in such a tragic situation renews my faith.
Thank you for allowing your story to be shared with us all and thank you for creating this site.
I send my love to you all and wish you all the very best for the future. You don't need me to tell you how blessed you have been to have had Marilyn in your lives.
With love Lucy x
What an incredibly loving and loved woman Marilyn was. I saw Joe on Crossing Over and his story touched me. I lost my son to cancer when he was 22 years old. Thank you for this wonderful site, I feel blessed to have shared it.
"Time does not stand still for hearts that beat together with love".
Belfast, N. Ireland
hello, i am from leeds in england, and i have just watched the episode of crossing over about Memorials screened on 13th september 2007. i was so touched to hear joe's story about his beautiful wife and the wonderful living memorial he has made for her which will live on forever and help so many other cancer suffers in this world
your site is so beautiful with all the photos and messages it really is such a tribute to such a wonderful lady
thank you for making this world a better place
Nancy Goren Schwartz
I don't know if my name may ring a bell with Ilene and Bruce, but as a close friend of Steven's during our fantastic Sheepshead Bay HS years, I remember a few of your family's milestones! I remember hearing about Ilene's exciting events (I don't remember if it was your marriage, child's birth or both) and how excited Steven and your parents were at that time in their lives. I remember Steven telling me his brother Bruce was going to college at New Paltz...Mostly though, I remember Steven's bond with his mom. It seemed like it was more of a fun friendship than a traditional parent/son relationship. Steven, I am sorry that we have lost touch with each other over the years since our last HS reunion, but I would love to hear from you-- Abidoos@comcast.net Bruce-your entry about your mom's last dance is still stinging my eyes. My mom, (my world), passed away almost 7 years ago and like you have all said, not a day goes by that I don't think of her and miss her so deeply. And, like you have all written, I think, no, I know, she is watching my family (including my 3 beautiful children who would give her such joy) from a happy place. Your site is a beautiful memorial to your beautiful mom. Those small apartments in Sheepshead Bay housed some really remarkable women who have now left the world with loving, special people. You Brodoff kids are following in your mom's footsteps by making a big, happy and important impact on many lives with this wonderful website and raising funds for Marilyn's Rooms.
John Edwards Show
I have just watched the John Edwards show and was so touched by your family. I live in Scotland and lost my dad nearly 7 years ago. I think your website is fantastic. My thoughts go to your whole family.
john edwards show
i would like to offer my love to all the family. and of course to your wonderful, unique and very beautiful mother... her vitality and vivacious personality shone through in her pictures.. her smile seemed to light the whole picture it looked a beautiful smile... she also sounded a wonderful mother you have all been so very lucky , to her husband i know things will be hard but please believe me... not for one second will she be away from you and the children she will be looking over you always my heart believes that. go forward with pride you were blessed take good care of your father she would want that i'm sure ..but by the sound of your lovely family thats already being done.... my love to you all xxxxx hope, england xx
Sadly, I did not know Marilyn
Was browsing on Google for sites having to do with the Catskills.. any articles on Kaplan's Deli in Monticello. I am from the same generation as Marilyn and her life could have been mine growing up.. I was a Bronx girl but otherwise much the same. I too am a grandmother now with two wonderful grandchildren and a couple of truly loving sons. I just wnated to thank you for sharing all of your warm stories. It is truly an honor to your mom and shines with love.
Best, Naomee Guest, Weschester Co. NY
marilyn chassen kessler
she was a pal of mine in high school
Marilyn lived on rochester avenue or i think, it was a wide street where the utica theatre was. we used to hang out out her house. she was so hip and friendly. i was in love with my husband who is with me now and i used to talk about my crush on him. my other friends form Jeff used to hang out too. so sorry makes me stop worrying about stupid things and thank G-d that i am okay. marilyn chassen kessler in silver spring maryland. Kesslermle@aol.com
Crossing Over with John Edwards
I have just watched the programme in the UK which has just been repeated. I think this is a wonderful way to show the world what a fantastic lady your Mum was. I recently lost my Nan on 4th September 2007 to this dreadful disease and know the terrible loss and grief that you feel. Like your Mum she made the most of life and remained brave throughout her treatment and illness and never complained. I have been trying to find a way of keeping her memory alive and would like people to know how wonderful she was. I don't want to be sad all the time and I am so grateful for having such a selfless and fun loving person in my life. I am thinking of doing what you have done with this wonderful and beautiful memorial and sharing her life. The loss of a loved one is a terrible thing to endure but we never get over it we just learn to live with it. Thank you for making me smile today with Marilyn's memories she sounded like a fun and loving woman.
i heard your story on john edwards and i was very touched, i love how you havedone this website to remember your mother/grandmother. This is a great idea to keep someones memory alive. All the best for 2008. Katie from Scotland x
i just saw you family on john edwards
how lovely your mum must be very proud xx
never knew her
I watched your tribute to your wife Marilyn on British television on the
crossing over update.
May I say that it is a wonderful thing that you have done in the hospital.
I never married myself,but feel very sad when encountering stories like the loss of your wife.
May you get a lot of solace from doing this,and for the patients that will use Marilys room.
I didn't know Marilyn
I saw your piece on Crossing Over with John Edward. I too am a widow and a fundraiser for Maggie's Centres, I am based in Dundee, Scotland. The death of my husband brought about a big change in my life and I am proud to say that I am part of a team who work to provide support and care for cancer patients and the families, carers and friends in Scotland and throughout the UK. I just wanted to say, Well done on your efforts and please take a look at our web site maggiescentres.org. With best wishes,
watched the show on 13 january 2008 was very touched by your story what a great way to remember your wife mother grandmother what a loving family you all are god bless you all love pauline glasgow scotland
Ilene (Harris) Moir
Marilyn,Fran, and mom and dad, lived in the same building (1692 Park Place) that I did. Her apartment faced the street and mine was on the second floor. Being we were the same age we hung out together with Carolyn Porter as well. We had quite a few friends on that block, including Jeanne Mateyo (who lived I believe next door), The Mangnams (who was the super) and Carolyn. Next building was Gladys Becker. Down the streeet was Betty Warshak. All of us were friends for years.
I'm so sorry Marilyn is gone. I wish I re-connected with her in later years.
I'm her son
May 11, 2008
Happy Mother's Day, Mom....You're always in my heart and mind and I love you forever....
I am proud to call her my mom
This Mother's Day may have come and gone without my adding a note to this site, until now...... but no day has ever come and gone, or ever will, without you being thought of, missed, loved,treasured and a part of us and all we do.
We love and miss you so much,
Ilene and Lou
and your granddaughters (who will always carry with them your love, laughter, hugs and kisses)
Barbara and Michelle
I'm Marilyn's first cousin
Last year my son-in-law, Ashley Spicer, lost his godmother Jeannie to cancer. His birthday will be tomorrow (June 22nd) and he chose Marilyn's Place for donations in honor of his birthday, in lieu of personal gifts. I know that "Godmum Jeannie" would have approved of his choice and would have loved Marilyn. I'm glad that Marilyn's Place will have transatlantic donations.
I am Marilyn's son
Today is six years since you passed away, and the pain and sadness of your absence are greater than ever.
But so are the memories of your love for your family and friends and your passion for living life to the fullest.
I'll draw inspiration from your boundless love, courage and strength until the day we meet again....
Remembering and loving you always,
I'm her son
Happy Birthday, Mom!
I'm missing you more with each passing day.....but the indelible memories of your love and support and knowing that you are always watching over me brings me some comfort and makes things a bit easier.....
Love you forever,
She is my mom
Hi Dad, Bruce, Steven, Barbara, Michelle and Lou,
Yes, today is mom's/grandma's birthday.....
We were (and still are) very lucky to have her as a part of our internal life and a continuing source of love and inspiration. She always taught by example, whether it was how to embrace fully all the beautiful big and small aspects of life, friendship and parenting....as well as how to do the same when it came to dealing with difficulties(small or traumatic) with bravery, dignity, grace and humor.
For me she is a constant every day and will forever be loved, cherished, remembered and honored.
Dad, you too, are an incredible role model in how you cared for mom every minute with love and dedication. Your charity work in her honor is not only a beautiful testament to her life, but a great support and help to those who are going through very difficult times.
We respect how you have continued to live life with many wonderful activities, that keep you healthy, learning, sharing your time with others in need, and taking on new interests.....and of course you continue to be a very loving, dedicated, giving parent and grandparent.
So to mom.....the stars are many and sparkling brightly in the sky tonight, as you sparkled brightly in our lives and continue to do so in our hearts and minds every day.
May you rest in peace and may your memory continue to be a blessing to all.
Love you always, "I"
she is my mom
Just thinking of you as so many things have been going on that you would have loved to be part of and share with us...
You are always with us in whatever we do and where ever we go.
Since August...Michelle's going off to college, her tennis matches, Lou and I becoming 'empty nesters', our recent trips to foreign places you would have loved, our relaxing family time in the Poconos,
Barbara' college graduation, her directing of shows at UNC, all that dad is doing as far as his going to school, volunteer work, college radio news and weather broadcasts, all that Bruce and Steven are involved in, sharing in the Holidays, sharing in the fun of the 3 little boys in our family (Alan, Ryan and Lance) as we know how you would be 'eating them up", playing with and reading to them.
So many things big and small.
Another recent special occasion date, was December 28th, which sadly you were not here to celebrate with all of us. This date marked 50 years since you and dad said, "I Do".
Thank you for sharing with us a beautiful marriage with dad, that showed us the true meaning of 'through thick and thin, though good times and bad, and through sickness and in health'.
Sadly, marriage vows have to include, 'till death do we part'.
At least the love of people for each other never parts....but just goes on and on......
Tbe simple times of being together (whether in person or over the phone) were always so special, even including our 'tea and tears"! For some reason we always got on something sentimental and ended up crying!
I always look up at the stars to connect with you, as you will always be a bright guiding star in my life.
She is my mom
Here is a note that I wrote to my friends Debbie, Shelly and Susan, as we unfortunately share the sadness of not having our mom's with us any longer.
This only begins to express the smallest level of things that I miss , but I wanted to share it with others who may be experiencing the same thing.......as well as to honor my mom on Mother's Day.
I was blessed the day I became her daughter.
Thank you for the beautifully expressed wishes. I send these same
words back to you all.
Mother's Day always has an added sense of sadness, but so many other
days bring constant reminders as well, as I am sure you all experience
So many times I get that "pang',when I get that thought to call my mom ,
or when I see a mom and daughter having lunch, shopping or walking
together, or when there is a question that I want to ask that only she
would know the answer to, and on and on. For me, these days tend to be
harder than Mother's Day, which is just one day that is arbitrarily set
to be 'Mother's Day" whereas everyday tends to have a M D sense to it
at some point.
I suppose we each share the same experiences and have some of our own
individual ones as well.
Well here is a toast to our moms who shaped us, loved us, protected
us, supported us, worried about us, yelled at us, cheered for us and
were just always there for us. They still are, I believe, just not in
the way that we would like them to be. But, I know that they are still
doing all the above and more, as we go through each day with them in
our hearts and souls.
So, much love to them and you.
Let's treasure each day we have with our loved ones.
Enjoy your special day.
I am Marilyn's son
Today is Mother's Day 2009, and as always there is big void in my life without your loving and energetic presence.
You were the very best mother and friend, and you'll live on in my heart and mind forever.
I am certain that you are watching over us, and that makes me feel good and closer to you than ever.
I wish you peace, comfort and happiness today and every day.
I love and miss you,
I am Marilyn's son
August 4, 2009; 12:45 am
It is now seven years - almost to the hour - since you passed away.
It is hard to believe that it's been this long since I've seen you, heard your voice and felt your hugs and kisses.....but your overwhelming love is always with me, so it will always feel as though I just saw you no matter how much time goes by......
Rest in peace, my beloved mother.
Love you always,
I am her son
August 18, 2009
Today was your 70th birthday!
It's hard to imagine what you would be like at this age...but I'm sure you'd be just as youthful and energetic as you always were...
I send my love to you today and every day....
I was childhood friends with Bruce
I moved away from Brooklyn at an early age so I have limited memories of the time, but of the memories I do have, your mother is the only parent of a friend I can remember.
I remember her working in the drug store on Nostrand, and being so nice to me. I think she had a way of treating little kids in a manner that made one feel significant.
For me, that was clearly unforgettable.
Second cousin on her mother's side
I will never forget my first trip to NYC with my twin sister, Jessie. I was 15 years old and Marilyn gave me a tour of the city that I will never forget. She was so excited to show us her city...I don't think there was one part of NY she and Joe didn't show us. She showed us the exact home and street where my grandpa Larry was born on the kitchen table on Suffolk street. My sister and I had the time of our lives! We met the mayor, we saw a sneak peek of the movie "You've Got Mail" we had dessert at the Plaza hotel...so many great memories! I also remember whenever she and Joe came to California to visit my grandpa and grandma. We always ate so many nice brunches with them on base and she was always smiling from ear to ear. Even though I didn't spend more time with her, every time I did see her I remember her energy and warmth...truly a classy lady!
Ilene Brodoff Harrison
she gave me life, today, March 30th,50 yrs ago today
Miss you more today than ever....and I always miss you.
Can you believe that I am 50 years old today?
I remember your surprise 40th birthday party so well and many others of course....and here I am celebrating my 50th.
Tonight, at dinner, I toasted you and dad for giving me life and making it all possible.
How I wish that you were here to celebrate with me......just like I wish, every day, that you were here with us to share all the big and little things with me, Lou, Barbara, Michelle, dad, Bruce, Steven and all our friends and family.
Tonight we had 2nd night Passover dinner/birthday dinner at Alpine and happily Neal and Evan joined us. I know that you, Aunt Fran and Grandma were smiling down on us and were very happy to see us together, just as we were.
I will continue to carry you, your lessons and your love in my heart and to carry forth your zest of life and interest in always being involved in new and exciting ventures.....and talking to people (couldn't resist adding that!)
Rest in Peace my dear mom.....
With all the love in my heart I honor you.........
I am always proud to say 'she is my mom'
As always, missing you and wishing that you were here with us, this Mother's Day, 2010
You are my constant shining star!
I love you.......
she's my mom
A quote that I just read on Facebook, posted from an elementary school friend:
From Wendy Steier McNamara An apt quote for Mother's Day--
“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. i'll always be with you.” Winnie the Pooh
she is my mom
mom, can not believe it is 8 years already since the last time i saw you......not a day goes by that we don't feel your presence and love. we see you in the stars above, the butterflies that cross our paths and in our dreams. your are missed more than words can express and our days are less bright without you here to share life with us....
She is my mom
November 29, 2010
Thinking of you on my 48th birthday and remembering what a wonderful and loving mom you were and continue to be...
I miss and love you more than ever....and will always hold you near to my heart...
Marilyn and my sister Adele Krigsman until my sister's passi
I rember Marilyn from Park Place and St. John's Place. I always tagged along with my sister to see Marilyn.
Marily and Joe were the best friends that my sister had and they were there when she passed.
Even when there was a fire in my sister's building and they heard it on the radio, they were there.
Marilyn was class and style and I will be grateful always that I new her.
PS, This is the first time I'm on this site and I just sat here going back in time and wishing that somethings never ended.
THROUGH HER DAUGHTER ILENE
MY FONDEST MEMORY AND THROUGH THOSE YEARS THERE WERE MANY, WAS THE EVENING OF ILENE'S WEDDING AND I WAS EMERSED IN CONVERSATION WITH MARYLIN AT THE END OF THE AFFAIR AND THEY TO LET ME KNOW THAT IS WAS TIME TO LEAVE,I MEAN THEY HAD ALREADY STRIPPED THE BALLROOM BUT WE KEPT ON TAKING MARILYN WAS A CAPTIVATING,BEAUTIFUL WOMAN WHOM IS A RARE RARE FIND,EVEN AFTER ALL THESE YEARS I STILL REMBER HER SMILE AND HER WARMTH!!!! ALWAYS REMEMBERED LES
Nancy and Buddy Pelczar
Thru Steven and Bruce
We met Steven and Bruce in Boston and had a wonderful evening discussing their family, especially their Mom and Dad. They directed us to this wonderful, loving site. After reading all the beautiful posts and hearing her boys fond memories, it is clear Marilyn was a very loved and special person who touched many lives...
Son in Law
Marilyn was my mother in law. We all know how people joke about their mother in law, and their eyes roll at the thought of being with them. This was never true for me. All my friends know that whenever the topic of our mother in law would come up, they would hear from me that mine was one of the best people Imhad ever known, and that I loved her immensely. I also respected her immensely and always enjoyed our times together. I was fortunate to have a great relationship with her which allowed us to communicate together in total honesty and friendship. We also had a very special conversation while she was dying which I will always cherish. The world was a better place when Marilyn was here. Her memory will always live in my heart, and I am lucky to have had her in my life.
She's my Grandma
Thinking of you Grandma on this 13th anniversary of your passing. Lots of symbols come to mind: 13, my own mother's favorite number, the sun is shining today like the one in the painting you made a few weeks before you went, and I look up and see a photo of you and Grandpa smiling back at me. Your smile and laughter was contagious, your singing voice was melodic, and you simply sparkled from the inside out. I am so blessed to have called you my grandma. You're in my heart and mind always and today especially. I wish you could have met Adam. I know you two would have gotten along so well and shared many laughs. He would have loved you and vice versa. I miss you and love you and hope wherever you are that you get this message. xoxoxo
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