Elinor Schloss Wikler
I think of her most when the seasons change – summer to autumn or winter to spring. I see her as she was in the warm mornings of my childhood: perched alone on a stool in the kitchen, one leg tucked under, two long fingers gently curved around a coffee cup, her soft face turned to the window: wrapped in the fragrance of coffee and oatmeal, she watched the years revolve in the branches of the tulip tree beyond the sill.
And whether the tree was bright and lazy with July sunshine or dreary and gray with November rain, she met the changes and the rhythms of life with a deep, unquestioning affirmation. She sensed before anyone else when the first breath of frost hung in the air and when the first summer leaf turned gold. She knew, and she accepted it as gladly and naturally as she accepted the growth and changes in her children from one autumn to the next.
She embraced them all, all the seasons, and loved the individual beauty of each. But somehow, I imagine her in the springtime most: she loved it best. Under her gentle gaze, the pale, fuzzy buds on the tulip tree opened before anything else in the yard. She could coax all the shyest and most timid people she met to blossom in the same gentle way; I never quite knew, therefore, whether it was the opening buds which caused her face to shine in the spring, or her face which made them bloom.
Season to season and year to year she sat with her soft ways while we danced and cried and noisily changed around her. It was only much later, after I had left these morning dances forever, that I realized what it was in her quiet aspect which had puzzled and strangely troubled me as a child: for there was something else entwined with the joy and affirmation, something uniting her and the tulip tree in a sad secret which excluded us.
Only in memory have I understood: it was loneliness, a loneliness whose depth was measured by the silence in which she guarded her love. It was there always, that loneliness: in her smile and the curve of her fingers and the tilt of her head toward the window. All those seasons, all those years, and only the tulip tree understood.
-- Judy Wikler Goldstein Botello
Elinor Schloss Wikler was a person of extraordinary warmth, brilliance, sensitivity, and talent. From early childhood on, she brought creativity, artistry, and love to every aspect of her life. Her love for language, literature, and writing began in her very earliest youth, and her great passion was always for things of the spirit and soul. She had a brilliant mind, a quick and lively humor, and an extraordinary intitutive sensibility.
In 1942, Elinor married Louis A. Wikler, a physician and physician and officer in the U.S. Navy. While their children were young, Elinor devoted her full time to her family.
She took great joy in raising children, bringing to her mothering a deep intuitive understanding and empathy, and imparting to her children the joy of creative self-expression and reverence for matters of the heart. Years later, she brought the same sensibility and devotion to her grandchildren.
Elinor was always in tune and up to date with what was happening in the world around her. She empathized with the movement for social change in the Sixties and identified early on with the feminist movement.
She had many interests; it was through her geneaological research that we discovered much of what we know today about our family’s origins.
Elinor was a writer of extraordinary talent. She began writing poetry at the age of nine and continued writing throughout her life. Her talents were publicly recognized in her later years, when she published a number of poems, short stories, and articles in various literary magazines, including a poem in Choice magazine and an internationally published article about Beatlemania in The Reader’s Digest.
Elinor Schloss Wikler was a person of tremendous character and great courage, always fighting for what she believed in even when her views were unpopular. She left everyone she encountered better for having known her, and left a legacy of creativity, beauty, and love that will never be forgotten.
-- Janet and Joan Wikler