|Honored by:||Jeff and Harold Ross Berenson|
|Brick location:||G:18 map|
Laura Rosenthal Berenson
We are all familiar with the phenomenon of the Baby Boom generation, women who maintain both a family and a career. In modern mythology, the Baby Boomers are "Super Moms" while their own mothers somehow failed to fulfill their potential by staying home to raise the kids. The distinction never did sit well with me and I finally figured out why the pundits didn't know this Baby Boomer's mom.
To the casual observer, Laura Rosenthal Berenson is a typical post-war mother. After college, post-graduate work, and an editor's post with the Government Printing Office, Laura "gave up" her career to raise a family. Giving birth to two sons in the 1950s and one in the 1960s, she maintained her visible status as a suburban housewife by learning to drive and becoming active in the PTA. As my brothers and I moved out on our own, Laura moved on to care for her own mother. Where once large family events rotated amongst the women of Laura's generation, today she alone continues that responsibility in conjunction with younger generations. While not blessed with grandchildren of her own, Laura can be found happily playing surrogate great-grandmother to her late sister (and best friend's) great-grandchildren.
Casual observation doesn't always tell the whole story, and behind the scenes Laura never really did give up her career. My earliest childhood memories include Mom working at her typewriter as she edited her brother's first book. Later, she and her niece Terri, a Supermom in her own right, would co-author one of the first consumer-oriented books on living with Diabetes. Mom published an article in New York Newsday about an evening in our family that would have left humorist Dave Barry rolling on the floor in hysterics. Mom also served as editor for the newsletters of several organizations, including our synagogue's Sisterhood and the local League of Women Voters chapter.
It was the League of Women Voters that represented Laura's real career. Mom spent several years as a LWV volunteer and officer. After a stint working in the office of a state assembly man, Mom returned to LWV service as an employee. For many years the voice that answered the phone to tell residents of Nassau County, NY where to vote was Mom's. My old bedroom became Nassau County LWV headquarters. Our old playroom became the copy and distribution center. Mom's editing career also continued with League publications, such as "They Represent You" being produced under her experienced hand.
Mom "retired" from her front line roles with the LWV a few years ago, but she can still be found conducting voter registration drives each fall.
There is one more feat that must be mentioned in any discussion of Laura Rosenthal Berenson. After over 45 years of marriage, she continues to put up with Dad's wonderfully corny sense of humor and oft repeated stories. In an age where so many families are torn apart by dissent, we had the wonderful opportunity to grow up in a loving family and achieve close adult relationships with our parents. That alone qualifies Laura for the designation Supermom.
For Laura's contributions to the community, for her dedication to our extended family, for her ability to balance her own interests with those of the family, and for being a wonderful Mom, her sons and our families honor her.
Harold Ross Berenson