Ann's Stories

Bridgewell

Shared by Jeff Cohen on January 19, 2020
Always standing up for those that needed it most, mom was named to a 6 year term on the Board of Directors for Bridgewell and was asked to serve longer (4 years).

Not someone who would display accolades, glad Rich found this as it reflected much about who she was.

Voting for Ann Cohen...

Shared by Jeff Cohen on January 19, 2020
...to be in our hearts forever.

Bob Katzen made these buttons and so many wore them during the service/celebration.

Mom was the one who helped others get elected and no one ever tried harder. 


SPLC

Shared by Jeff Cohen on January 19, 2020
Mom was so proud to be a member of Southern Poverty Law Center, getting Teaching Tolerance and standing up against hate.


My first teaching mentor

Shared by Alan Braunstein on January 10, 2020
No one knows this story. It happened at the end of the school year in 1980. It’s how, with Ann’s diligence and intuitive action and, above all, prudent judgment we saved a young student from sexual assault...or worse. I’m sure Ann - being perpetually humble - never revealed how her intervention saved a life; but I bear witness; and the police records would be verification and the student’s mother (the father had been estranged) would substantiate. The name of the student was and will never be revealed and thank goodness she was never harmed. The perpetrator, I believe, remains incarcerated. When I arrived in Marblehead circa 1979, as a young teacher of eighth grade English, both innocent and robust, I did not have a specific classroom. Instead, I was given a small office on the third floor of the school and had to navigate from classroom to classroom. To my great benefit I shared that office with Ann (whom I them called Mrs C out of respect). Mrs C soon became a mentor- mother- friend and colleague all in one. We shared stories of our lives and soon I met her children. Secretly, she confided I would marry her daughter (who was single at the time) and whenever Ann invited me to her home for dinner her daughter would be visiting from Israel. I also had the pleasure to meet her son Richard. Indeed, I was so impressed with Richard’s engaging personality and creativity that I lured him to work with me at the camp where I was head counselor that summer. Of course during that summer with Richard I repeatedly tried to have him include in his letters to his sister that I was destined for greatness as an Olympian athlete, movie star or Mossad sniper. Admittedly, despite my willingness to immediately give my notice at the school and move to any Kibbutz near Ann’s daughter, I ultimately begrudgingly acknowledged and confessed to Ann that her daughter was so smart, beautiful, personable, articulate and spirited that she was out of my league. Ann then, arms previously akimbo, raised one hand to uplift her glasses and the other reaching towards the side of her face, stared directly at me - and despite having orchestrated these multiplicity of dinners - smiled in recognition. “I know, she began, “but I needed proof!” That first year with Ann as my office mate and “unassigned” but willing mentor was a year of learning. From Ann. She was so compelling and inspiring. Her love of her familial children: her poignancy and restraint - is precisely how I would come to nurture my children decades later. Her lessons as to how to reach students was similarly transformative and I would assimilate Ann’s effective, measured and compassionate teaching prowess with confidence. How lucky was I to be given the gift of Ann’s presence at such a critical moment in my life? I can readily and vividly remember those discussions with Ann to this day - 40 years later - and I declare, as beneficiary of Ann’s pedagogy and friendship, that she was a beacon in my life. One who I will never forget. Her loss is devastating to all of us and my heart is deep with sorrow. To amplify what happened on that night in June 1980 - the night after school’s last day ended - I learned that a man (whom many may have known and worked) called me late that night on the phone to profess his love for one of my students. He was crazed, most definitely on drugs that perpetuated (but did not excuse) his diabolical hysteria. He had called me to get the spelling of the last name of that student. I inquired why. Still dazed in his monologue of manic action and swelling sickness, he declared obsessively that he and the student were in love and he was to pick her up and drive her to his cabin retreat in NH. He had lost the address he claimed the student had given him and had not known the precise spelling of her last name (which, thankfully, was one of those surnames phonetically impossible to spell). He became further brazen, then demanded -actually squelched in terrifying screams of agony and rage - that if I didn’t reveal her name so he could look her up in the phone book he would kill me. Hanging up abruptly I obvious became fearful of the girl and her fate. I knew the perpetrator had called from his home 20 minutes away. I headed to the police department. It was after midnight. Then I paused thinking who will believe me? I was new to the town. Remembering the sign from Mr Gower’s drug store in “It’s a Wonderful Life”: Ask Dad, he Knows. I thought immediately of Ann. She had been asleep but opened the door to her home and immediately went into action. She called the police (they knew Ann and devised a plan). Ann went to the house. Woke up the mother. The student was awake but had thought other students were going on this “trip”- only it was to a horse farm to roast marshmallows- or some similar activity. Meanwhile, the police surrounded the house. Waited. Sure enough the perp arrived. He was apprehended. The Mother was very grateful for Ann’s intervention although the student was unaware of the reality of the situation and apparently was not ever made aware of the danger - at least as long as she was in the school system. The next day Ann and I both learned that the perpetrator had succeeded at this before when he taught in a high school in another North Shore community. The student though was 18 and the family moved away. Ann: You were and remain that heroic women of both grace and knowledge. Of high achievement and unequaled passion for life. I miss you. Always will. Thank you for all that you’ve given me. Alan Braunstein

Eshet Chayil--- A woman of valor

Shared by Jeremy Edesess on January 10, 2020
Auntie Ann, as I have always called her, had so many remarkable and strong qualities.  I fondly remember my Aunt as being anything but vanilla, even if she was well known for eating a half gallon carton of vanilla ice cream, every evening.  She was strong and kind at the same time.  Auntie Ann was full of flavor and full of passion.  There was nothing bland about her.  

Auntie Ann was an “Eshet Chayil”, a woman of valor.  Standing up for her beliefs and ensuring that the people around her knew what values she held dear.  Some of those things she was passionate about included bettering the world, making sure other people were a priority, shaping the world by teaching, and passing on her passion.  

On a recent visit to see my Auntie Ann I recall being told very directly that if my wallet left my pocket, I was going to be in big trouble. Auntie Ann took me to one of the best lobster roll joints in town.  Because she knew that is what I wanted, even though she didn’t care for lobster.  She then took me to her gym where she had slimmed down to only 12 workouts a week.  Everyone at the gym seemed to know her and she brought a smile to so many faces.  After arriving at the house, I was shown to my room.  My room happened to be the master bedroom, because Auntie Ann didn’t sleep.  I left that very memorable Marblehead visit thinking how my aunt was getting one and a half times as much life out of her days an any normal human.  

I know that Auntie Ann has made such an impact on so many people.  I am fortunate that I was able to be one of those people.  You will be dearly missed. 

Teacher, Mentor, Friend

Shared by Ursina Amsler on January 10, 2020
Ann was my 8th grade art teacher at Marblehead Middle School. I loathed math, and despite my computational deficiencies, Mrs. Cohen was a persistent force in the quest to improve my skills. (I can't say that at the time I appreciated her for it!) When I moved up to the high school and became very involved in the drama program, Ann was always present, from chaperoning us to the annual METG Drama Festival to being in attendance at our school performances, always helping in some capacity. It was during these years, (away from the realm of math :-) ) that I truly grew to love Ann. Later, when I became an art teacher and my first job was at my alma mater, Marblehead Middle School, Ann became a colleague, educational mentor, and friend. I'm sad to have not seen her in recent years, but was happy to get the occasional update and "Mom says hello" from her son and fellow Salem resident, Jeff. She was an amazing woman and I am happy to have known her and to have been nurtured by her in so many ways. I am including a photo from 1987, taken out front of the Middle School one Saturday morning as we prepared to board the busses for the semi-finals of the drama festival with our production of "The Importance of Being Earnest". Pictured with her are Greg Dana, Henry Dembowski and Augie Miller. That was our steadfast crew of drama faculty! Rest, dear Ann!

Mom, Grandma, Great Grandma

Shared by Cindy Cohen on December 21, 2019

Two and a half weeks before the due date of my first child, Mom arrived in Israel. She came early so as to be sure not to miss the birth. She stayed with us in our small apartment in Tel Aviv where Yehuda and I were attending university. It was exam period. Several times a day, Mom would remind us that she came for the birth. Since her entire stay would be only one month, the time before the birth would clearly be wasted time. In other words, get to action - once the baby is born, she could be useful. Mom always wanted to be useful. Her positive energy apparently sped the process. Yahav was born two weeks early, sweet and healthy. She benefited from the maximum number of days of Grandma's attention; and, of course, the maximum hours, due to Grandma's incredible energy. 

On July 10 2018, four days after the stroke. Linda called me from the hospital. She held her phone to Mom’s ear. Excitedly, I shared, “Yesterday, Yahav gave birth to Gal, my second grandson, your second great grandson. He is so sweet. Exactly 33 years ago today, you became a grandmother. You were with me. I am remembering back to how much you helped me.” Linda described Mom’s face as filling with happiness. 

Collections

Shared by Jeff Cohen on January 9, 2020
Mom started collecting decades ago and her intent was to create a fairyland in every room.  

However, she was not an average collector and each was arranged meticulously for maximum effect.  

It was impossible to be in her home and marvel at something hadn't noticed before and the inventive way she set up the display.  In addition, there are items placed in places seemingly impossible for someone of her physical stature.  

In the gallery, there are photos of some of her incredible effort, creativity and care.  ...and how did she maintain with no dust?!


Denouement

Shared by Rich Cohen on December 21, 2019
The last period of Mom's life, after her stroke in July 2018, was not easy for her.  After she recovered well enough, under the constant and loving care of Jeff and Flora, she was able to move from the Devereaux to our home in the Berkshires, to be with Cheryl, Jesse, Adam and me, and of course, with her ridiculously-loving dog, Maya.   

I am especially thankful that she was here to enjoy and support Adam during his senior year of high school and his first semester of college. And how special it was for her to help Adam practice, and see him deliver, his speech at graduation.  And for her to be on the lawn at Tanglewood with the Ross family for a Yo-Yo Ma (and James Taylor) concert. Celebrating Passover with Michelle and Tony et al.  And dine at the top of Mt Greylock.  Attend the Marblehead Democratic Town Committee picnic in August, where she got a standing ovation.  Connect with Myrna, Sumner and Pooli in September during Katrina's wedding weekend.  And kvell with us over Rozzi, Jesse and Adam at Thanksgiving just a few weeks ago.

I am thankful to have had the opportunity to take care of her as she took care of me, and Cheryl and the boys, and so many others.  I am also thankful for this extra time that the many people dear to her had to embrace, share love,  make peace and say goodbye.  Rest in peace Mom.

An inspiring lady who I met only briefly

Shared by Nancy Perches on January 8, 2020
I met Ann many years ago while I was visiting my childhood friend Flora. I think I met her a couple times on subsequent visits to Salem. She was a force that you would never forget. Full of energy and such a colorful personality. I loved the tour of her home and all her treasures and stories. People could say it was hoarding, but a more fitting term were they were things that made her happy and each had a significance to her. People who I've only met a couple times usually just pass through my memory in fleeting moments but not Ann. I could imagine her as this wonderful teacher and the children she touched. You couldn't help but be interested in this woman. An example of living life to it's fullest. Bless you Ann as your travel to the other side.

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