In Memory

Ellen Ruth Schwartz

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05/26/15 07:15 PM #4    

Patricia Ann Richards (Armstrong)

I knew Ellen because we were both in Burton Randall's AP English class at Shaker.  And yes, Brenda, she was all of those things you remember about her.  She was also a very self-contained person who certainly didn't let anyone know about her "demons."  Maybe she didn't have any then, or maybe she reckoned I wasn't the kind of person with whom she could share those kinds of thoughts.  All of us in that class were bound together by the very challenging regimen of literary "greats" we were supposed to be reading, digesting, commenting on etc...a regimen I, personally, found pretty dry, and it was HARD to treat these very LONG books with the respect they  deserved. They cut into my TV time! my piano practice time, my relatively short free time!  I probably shouldn't have been in AP English!  Didn't have the "right" attitude towards that kind of intellectual rigour!

B. Randall's imperious manner and cold, fishy stare throughout the 3 years didn't help.  He never let us change chairs from one year to the next - he was a complete control freak!  But I look back and remember, even more vividly than her acute intelligence, her marvellous dry sense of humour and her many to-the-point quips about what we had to put up with in that class.  She lightened the atmosphere, once we were out of Burtie's earshot.  I see her in my mind's eye as clear as crystal.  She made me feel as though I weren't as stupid and out-of-the-loop as I thought I was.  Her beautiful smile was slightly conspiratorial on those if to say, "Patty, hang in there, this, too, will're going to be OK!"

When I heard of her death I was shocked, really uncomprehending...she seemed to have EVERYTHING going for her.  Just shows how little we know of others' suffering.  She was/is a loss to so many.  God knows how terrible it must have been for her parents.  There can be no greater pain than the loss of a child, I KNOW that from bitter experience.  But my son Sammy was only 6 and a half weeks old.  To lose a child whom one has nurtured and loved for as long as Ellen's parents did - it doesn't come any more horrible than that.

Life is a series of good and bad stuff, or so it seems to me at the ripe old age of 69!  Some of us are unlucky in that the bad stuff is REALLY BAD!  But hanging in there means that good stuff happens, too - my lovely daughter Rachel, my joy in what I do for a living - teaching toddlers "Introduction to Music" (which I hope to do until I "pop my clogs") ...something from which I get much greater satisfaction than I did even when "performing...singing for paying audiences."

Like darling Lesley Dormen, Brenda, I remember you from Moreland (the BEST of the nine elementary schools) with great clarity and affection.  You were always "sensible" albeit spiced with a delicious sense of humour yourself.  I recall YOUR quips as well.

i hope this finds you well and "happy as Larry!"  Thanks so much for inspiring me to put MY thoughts about the remarkable, lovely Ellen Schwartz on this website.  She deserves that...she really does. How satisfying that we have these wonderful memories from so long ago.

GET IN TOUCH if the spirit moves you.  Even though my life is here in London, I feel umbilically attached to Shaker and all that it entails.  The memories are largely VERY HAPPY!

Most fondly,

Patty (Richards Armstrong)

05/27/15 09:47 AM #5    

Dana Shepard (Treister)


Wnat a beautifully expressed tribute to Ellen's memory.  I do recall hearing that she had died, but have no recollection of when or how.  I, too, remember her from AP English class, and your description matches my (somehwat dim) memories of her -- I didn't remember that she went to the same summer camp as you did, and for all those summers.

I missed seeing you at last summer's SHHS'64 50th reunion, but given your past history with reunions was not exactly surprised!  I think of you often, and of the friendship we had during those developmentally-pivotal adolescence years; and -- for better or for worse - do believe that our relationship helped shape the personality I grew into as an adult. 

Michael and I will be in NYC this weekend, and -- while I recall you are some distance from the city -- as I strategize who we will try to see while we are in town, you always pop up on that mental list.

Thank you for honoring our classmate and your friend Ellen in this way, and especially thank you for reconnecting with SHHS '64.


05/27/15 07:38 PM #6    

Brenda Siegel (Cohen)

Oh my....I really wasn't expecting to see these responses here.  Lesley, Amy, Patty and Dana, I thank each of you whether it was Ellen you remembered and/or me.  I'm surprised I feel touched, but I do.  I think I will post something on each of your Classmate Profile pages and leave the In Memory page for anyone else who wants to say something about Ellen.  I honestly did not think I had fully conveyed my fondness, respect and admiration for her but perhaps it came through anyway.  After I completed the post I continued to think of her, so many activites and occasions we shared together whether it was just the two of us, a small group, or part of something larger.  She's long gone now, but certainly not forgotten. 

05/28/15 01:54 PM #7    

Hana Umlauf (Lane)

I, too, remember Ellen from AP English.  My first recollection, however, goes back to Byron, and possibly even Sewing in the 7th grade.    And I remember her as a terrific shot maker on the basketball court.  In fact,  I can still visualize her with the ball taking a shot and hear the inevitable swish that followed. For me she was the most "real" person, what you saw was what she was, or so it seemed, fully comfortable in who she was.   In commiserating over a challenge, in AP English or maybe Algebra 2, she would make me feel better about myself and more confidant.

05/29/15 02:46 PM #8    

Alaina Weisman (Zachary)




I feel compelled to weigh in... though I've never been a joiner.  I remember her as uber accomplished but didn't really have a personal relationship.  As for all you dear ones who have commented, I did have relationships with each of you.  Lesley Dormen, we started Moreland together and there is a kindergarten photo of our class with you, that cute little thing in pig tails.  I was in the back row where my belly seemed to preceed me!  Dana, no need to review our history.... there's a lot including your wedding.  Hana, we were in English class with Dorothy Weichman, remember?  She taught us how to open a fresh book.... never forgot that.  And some report that you or your twin did for Miss W that had a felt parrot on the cover and you (or Jitka) got an A+.  Impressive.



06/29/15 10:14 AM #9    

Susan J Cole (Russell)

I just noticed this thread. Ellen was my best friend from about eighth grade through high school. She was a remarkable person--brilliant, talented, compassionate, witty. We were in touch through the 70s. She called me when her mother died. Her mother's death was I believe some time in the 70s. I didn't learn of Ellen's death until way after the fact and still don't know how she died or how she was in the last years. I tried contacting her dad and sister Linda at the time but did not have their contact information. I did learn recently though that her death was in 1984. I'm not sure she knew how widely admired she was; she would have appreciated these tributes. If anyone has more information or would just want to talk about it, I'd love to. My email is

06/30/15 12:24 PM #10    

Alaina Weisman (Zachary)


Susan J. Cole Russell, since you've weighed in, I want to add a quick hello.  We of course were neighbors.. I was on Morley.  I remember so well the smell of clay in your basement, your mother was a sculptor and she often had vaseline on her face - a beauty treatment!  So funny what sticks.  I think we must have walked to Malvern together a lot. I can see you so clearly!


06/30/15 07:06 PM #11    

Susan J Cole (Russell)

Hi Alaina, I remember you as well. My mother often did beauty treatments, cold cream or vaselene or witch hazel and would lay down with cucumbers on her eyes as well! She actually stayed quite youthful-looking and lived to 100 so maybe it all worked. I'm sure we did walk to school together, there was a group on the street that did. I remember playing baseball in the field behind our houses, a field I am sure is long gone by now.

07/01/15 01:17 PM #12    

Alaina Weisman (Zachary)

And Susan, it's powerful and stunning how some of those sensory memories endure.  I can hear your mother's voice so clearly!  And I remember when your dad passed.  Of all things, my next door neighbor from Morely, Lynn Marcus (Shapiro) and her husband are coming to Santa Fe from Texas.  I  haven't seen her in decades although she's always kept in touch.  Was your mother successful with her sculpture?  We also had the Faulbs, the Simons, and the Babins on our block.

12/20/15 12:22 PM #13    

Gary D Hermann

Ellen was someone I had known since elementary school and I recall how her mother pushed her more than any mother I knew.  Ellen was obviously very bright and accomplished and I found her to be a kind person. Many years later she was back in Cleveland and I hired her to do part-time work at our law firm. I worked with her on a few projects, but to my surprise, she was totally different from what I had remembered.   Very uneasy and distant, almost disoriented.  Within a few weeks she disappeared without anynotice or information about where she went or how to be in touch with her.   In hindsight, I should have realized that she was very troubled.  Very tragic story about someone who had so much to offer.  

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