Remembering a Great Lady

Adelhied  (Adele) Reinauer was born May 7, 1904 in Oberndorf am Neckar in Germany.  In May of 1923 she boarded a ship named “The Bayern” and she set sail for America.  On May 28, 1923 she arrived at Ellis Island.  She settled in Astoria Queens and married Karl Donhauser.

In August of 1955 she met her 20-year-old niece Liselotte Reinauer  (My Mother) at the pier to welcome her to New York and America.  Liselotte was only supposed to stay only three years, but she got side tracked.  While attending a class on how to speak English she met another 20-year-old German man named Kurt Schall.    Kurt and Liselotte were married on June 15, 1957 and on June 21, 1966 I was born.

But this post is not about me or my mother or father it is about Adele (Tanzie as we called her).  While actually being my grandfather’s sister, she was in spirit my grandmother and she was the best.  She was a flapper in the 1920s and loved to drink dance and be the center of attention.  When I was a teenager and my parents would go on vacation Tanzie would watch us and ask, “when are you coming home?” I would say 4am (I was 15) she would respond “Okay Doll have fun”.  When I got home at 4am there she was sitting in the kitchen playing solitaire with either a glass of wine or champagne.

The last few years of her life she lived with my parents so they could take care of her.  On December 17, 1993, I took off from work; my father and brother were home and my mother off to work (where else would my mother be).  I knew something wasn’t right, I called my dad and brother to come up, Tanzie’s caretaker told me to hold her and check for a pulse.  My brother called my mother and then 911.  As I sat there holding her hand and feeling her pulse, I looked at her face we made eye contact and then the pulse stopped and she was gone.

It is hard to believe it has been 20 years since then.  I have her photo on my desk at work and her picture is on my nightstand.  She was an incredible lady and everyone who knew or met her was truly blessed.

Tanzie I miss you, One day we will have that waltz….


Me & Tanzie Circa 1992

Me & Tanzie
Circa 1992

Adele & Karl Circa 1925

Adele & Karl
Circa 1925

The Flapper Circa 1925

The Flapper
Circa 1925

Tanzie at Christmas 1989

Tanzie at
Christmas 1989