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48° Good Afternoon
LifestyleRetirement

Don’t give up, she taught

Annette Lev, on her wedding day in 1954

Annette Lev, on her wedding day in 1954 with her husband David, found compelling ways to overcome her polio. Credit: Handout

Mom gave me my DNA. My mom, who was confined to a wheelchair due to polio, never knew she had a handicap until someone pointed it out, and then she moved forward anyway. She would literally roll right over them. If there were steps in the front of a building, she found another entrance. When a Broadway theater refused to sell us tickets to see a show because the wheelchair would block the aisle, she called the fire commissioner and got permission. For a parent-teacher conference, she asked the teacher to meet her and my dad on the main floor or to come to our home. My mom made sure I never lost out on anything; her wheels just made the path taken more of an adventure.

She passed away in 1977 and not a day goes by when I do not think about her. She always remains “there” for me. When I am unsure of how to handle a situation, I often stop and think, “What would Mom do?” When I am about to disagree with my wife, I know that if my mom were alive, they would join forces against me: end of disagreement. My mom was someone anyone could turn to for advice, and I see that quality in my daughter and my son. I see my mom’s positive spirit for life in them as well.

My mom gave me determination and a sense of not giving up; that there are no obstacles that cannot be challenged. Yes, I have her jewelry, special dishes, and my parents’ wedding photo, and I will always cherish those items and the stories behind them.

The best gift that I am grateful for is not only the gift of life but the gift of how to live life to its fullest, taking nothing for granted and knowing that gift has already been passed down to my kids.

--Howard Lev, East Meadow

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