Anna Rebecca Greenberg Lebow
Born 1894 Wheeling, WV
Died 1991 Los Angeles, CA
by Alicia Bay Laurel
My grandmother, Anna Rebecca Greenberg Lebow, at age 54, holding my cousin, Phil Lebow in her arms. My grandfather, Charles Harry Lebow, is holding me (my foot is in his pocket). Phil's adorable older sister Janet stands in front.
Anna was valedictorian of her high school class in Wheeling, WV, and was also captain of the girls' basketball team. Her family could not afford to send her to college, so she worked, and she found ways to educate herself. She formed a reading club with women friends; they would chose a subject for each year, and each read a book per month on the subject, and meet once per month to discuss the subject together. She traveled widely during and after the dark days of the Holocaust, giving talks and raising money to create the state of Israel. She was inspired by the health food and hatha yoga practices of the movie stars of her time (Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo), and adopted these practices in her own life. She lived to be 96, and sharp as a tack to the end. I'm told she was a terrifying bridge player as well.
Photo taken in Los Angeles, CA, 1950. I was born May 1949 and Phil was born in June 1949; we both appear to be more than 6 months old. My mother, Verna Lebow, and Phil and Janet's father, Meyer Lebow, were Anna and C.H.'s only two children.
My grandpa not only looked like Bernie, he was a democratic socialist, too--probably the only one in the history of the oil business. He did not realize the horrors it would wreak upon the planet when he got into it at its beginning, in Tulsa, OK. But his son Meyer saw it coming, and turned all of his considerable intellect into making an electric car. Alas, there weren't batteries available in the 1930s that would work in that application, and there weren't solar panels yet. Uncle Meyer flunked out of Cal Tech while he was obsessing about saving the world, and ended up working for his dad, and seeing the oil business from the inside. I think the heartbreak killed him. He died in his early 60s. A really lovely man.