Having family nearby is everything to Frances Dolled: She literally has gone to the ends of the earth for it.
In 1959 she traveled with her mother and father, Pauline and Sam Koslowsky, from New York to Buenos Aires, Argentina to bring into the family fold Pauline's recently widowed niece and her three young children.
When they returned to New York two months later, the new arrivals were set up in an apartment in the Bronx, just two blocks from where Frances lived with her beloved husband Sidney and their two young boys, Lonny and Steve – in the same building where Frances' mother lived.
Like many of her generation, her youth as a New York-born child of Polish émigrés Sam and Pauline Koslowsky was marked by the Depression, which forged a sense of frugalness and a value towards ownership. For Frances to own something, and to be able to give a gift, were equally precious. People said, "If you gave Frances a present, you received five in return."
Perhaps her biggest gift in life was her husband, Sidney. They met just before he left to serve in the Air Corps during WW2, where he bravely fought behind enemy lines in China, India and Burma. She still has the 1,000 letters her wrote to her. They married in 1946 and settled within the family web in the Bronx.
Their first son Lonny was born in 1950. His parents couldn't have been prouder when he went on to college and earned an MBA. Steve, born in 1956, is married and has a son, Sam, named for Sidney. Steve worked in the computer industry.
In the late 1960's, the extended family moved to Queens and remained within close proximity to one another—some might argue a little too close, but such is always the way of things amidst tight-knit, sprawling families. Frances has three grandchildren, Marisa, Seth and Sam, and three great grandsons; Sapir (also named for Sidney), Ophir and Yakir.
Sidney ran a successful millinery manufacturing business while Frances worked as an administrative assistant at Hunter College. Sidney was a passionate hobby photographer and enjoyed sunbathing. Frances was a feisty player of mahjong and bridge, and enjoyed baking and entertaining. They both loved ballroom dancing, traveling and together, voyaged to the Southwest, California, Italy and Israel. Frank Sinatra kept them dancing, and Frances always loved the old Yiddish songs her mother sang.
But above all - family was the focus of their lives. Frances' life was rooted in that kitchen table kind of love, steady and steadfast. She and Sidney were always together, always holding hands. It wasn't until Sidney died that Frances' condition was revealed. They held one another up throughout their long life together. She was lucky in love, and she knew it.