Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:00
One year ago, on November 8, 2012, my mother, Charlotte Kraemer, passed away in her home in Westbury surrounded by family. Born on March 20, 1918, she was almost 95 at her death. In her early childhood Charlotte Adelle
Bostelmann Kraemer moved to Westbury with her parents Meta and William Bostelmann and her brother William Everitt Bostelmann. With the exception of a brief period when she lived in New York City after her marriage, Charlotte became a lifelong resident of Westbury. Charlotte attended high school at the prestigious Northfield Academy in Mount Hermon, Massachusetts from which she graduated in 1935. While there, she picked up the nickname “Charlie” and was heavily involved in the Northfield community. She began her extra-curricular involvement with membership in the chorus in 1933 and 1934. At this time sports were more or less intramural at Northfield rather than teams and
Charlotte was a member of the East Hall Volleyball team in 1933 and the East Hall swimming and basketball intramural teams in 1934. By the time she graduated in 1935, she had been recognized as one of the top athletes at Northfield and was selected for the senior swimming team of 1935, the “Yale” Basketball team and the All Star Basketball Team of 1935. Always civically minded, Charlotte was a member of the Forum Club, which was a literary society that met to discuss plays, primarily those of O’Neill. While at Northfield she continued her hobby of stamp collecting.
Upon graduation from Northfield Academy in 1935, Charlotte applied to and was accepted at Hofstra University. While at Hofstra, Charlotte studied pre-law with the intention of attending law school. A trend-setter, Charlotte was one of few women who at this time had aspirations to enter the field of law.
After graduating from Hofstra, Charlotte was accepted into NYU Law School in New York City. It was over the next several years that Charlotte met her soul mate and soon to be husband, David Albert Kraemer. She received a law degree from NYU in 1941 and was one of only fourteen women in her class of 244. Married on April 25, 1943 she and her husband lived together in Manhattan for a short time where both Charlotte and David found employment. Her husband
David had enlisted in the Officer Candidates School of the Navy and was shortly sent to Pearl Harbor in the post Japanese attack days. He left behind a newly expecting Charlotte who decided to move back to Westbury for support from her mother as her pregnancy progressed. In August of 1944, Charlotte gave birth to her first child, a son, Dwight David Kraemer, while her husband, David, remained stationed in Pearl Harbor. David returned from Pearl Harbor in 1946 and established a law office in Westbury in 1949 to support his growing family. A daughter, Gail Elise Kraemer, was born in August of 1947 and another son, Stuart Scott Kraemer, in December 1953.
Charlotte dedicated her life to taking care of her husband, her mother, and her three children. As a “stay at home” mom, as many mothers were in those days, Charlotte was very involved not only with caring for her family but also caring for the Westbury community. She had developed a sense of civic responsibility early in her life and continued this role as a young mother and wife. As a young girl she had started helping her mother, Meta Bostelmann, with work at the Westbury Neighborhood House which provides food and clothing for the poor and needy. Her work with the Neighborhood House spanned a period of more than fifty years. She was one of the VIP’s and was on the Board of
Directors the entire time. She was remembered by staff as “very assertive and true to her cause but not unkind.” Over her years of involvement she was at every board meeting and was one of the main factors in the continuing success of the Neighborhood House. She also was a board member for the Westbury Senior Center where she earned an award for her continued service. An enthusiastic member of the Westbury Historical Society, she attended meetings regularly. In addition to her civic involvement, Charlotte was an avid bowler and golfer, loved to read, knit and play bridge. She belonged to a bridge club for many years participating in monthly get-togethers.
Charlotte had a wonderful sense of humor and enjoyed joking with her children and grandchildren. She was also very competitive (probably from her high school sports days) and enjoyed winning games especially card games. In her later years she would often suggest a card game after dinner to unsuspecting grandchildren, acting as if she was losing her touch with her advancing age. She would usually go on to soundly defeat them to their surprise and her delight.
Besides bridge, canasta and “spoons” were among her favorite games.
One of my favorite memories of my mother in her later years was arriving at her home for a visit to find her sitting in her favorite chair reading the newspaper or her latest book. Her beloved cat, Candy, would be stretched out on the floor behind her or in a chair beside her. As I walked into the room and said, “Hi Mom”, she would look up at me and her eyes would twinkle. She was always so happy to see me and wanted me to sit right down and chat. Her husband, David, had passed away in 1998 and I know that she was often lonely living in her home alone, but the twinkle in her eye as she greeted me always made me feel special.
Now a year after her death, I am the caretaker of her beloved cat, Candy, and often think about those visits with my mom as she aged. She lived a good long life, dying at age 94, and made an impact on those she left behind. She not only helped those she did not know through her civic service, but also had a lasting impact on her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I know that I will always remember my Mom with a twinkle in her eye and a warm smile of greeting. In her own way, she shaped our lives and gave us a direction we may not have had. Thank you, mom, for everything. You are missed.