On March 6, my mentor, Myshka passed away. She was 83-years-old.
I wrote the following as the introduction of her interview, and it still is the best way to describe her:
“In the movie, Big Fish, Edward Bloom lived a large life. He caught an uncatchable fish using his wedding ring as bait, was confined to his bed as a child because his body was growing too fast, worked at a circus without pay to learn about the girl he fell in love with, and convinced two Siamese twin dancers, Ping and Jing, to help him get back to the United States, where he promised to make them stars. At Edward’s funeral, his son, who doubted his largesse and tall tales since he was a child, is shocked to see all the characters from his narratives pay their respects. Mishka is my Edward Bloom. She recites stories, both long and short, that are incredibly hard for me to believe, but I have no reason not to believe them. She took me under her wing at the age of eighteen when I first started sewing, and she gave me the foundation to blossom. Over the course of the two and a half years I worked at her tailor shop, she taught me everything I needed to know about pattern making and sewing so that I could become my own color of seamstress. She’s an incredible woman who at an old age, still lives a bombastic life. She yells, screams, and points, but she also cries, worries, and laughs; she’s every form of human. She means more to me than she will ever know.”
The service was this past Monday. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend. From friends and family who have reached out to me, the service was as pleasant as she and just like Edward’s son, there was a great deal about Myshka I did not know. For one, the correct spelling of her name is Myshka. She never corrected me. The 30 or so people who attended stood up during the service to tell stories about her. “There were some funny anecdotes.” She was married 3 times and all preceded her in death. Her last husband was a Baron, meaning she was a Baroness! Some ladies spoke of their trip together in Monaco and Paris about 14 years ago. They had no idea of her title until she was greeted by hotel staff. It was also on her credit card. Evidently, Myshka became quite the regal lady traveling throughout Europe, but kept her crazy attitude and charm locked up for the casinos in Monte Carlo. One of the ministers told a story about her apartment and how she scared the bejesus out of a maintenance man so badly, he always handled her problems immediately so she would leave him alone.
She had a very kind heart and was always giving the youth ministry money for events. Despite being Jewish, she kept her faith in two religions, the other being Christianity, since her parents were mixed.
Rest in peace, dear Myshka. You will be missed.