4.0 “Helen and David’s Rendezvous in Tel Aviv”

by Elizabeth Stephens

A Whirlwind Courtship on an Israeli Beach

On “May 14, 1948 the British hauled down their Union Jack. And then the same day, Israel proceeded to raise its newly designed flag featuring the Star of David. My father David saw  Ben-Gurion declare Israel a State and become Israel’s first Prime Minister. Chaim Weizman later became the first President of the new Republic. Within minutes, President Truman issued a statement extending de facto recognition to Israel as a sovereign nation. ” Few would have believed that a nation could be born in a day. Before the day ended, Egyptian planes were already bombing Tel Aviv.

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My Mother Bebs’ adventure onboard a Cargo Ship in 1949.

“Bebs” had saved her money to go on vacation to Hawaii, but the family told her she needed to spend her money in their ancient homeland, Israel as it was  engaged in a War for its Independence and she needed to support the cause. I am sure they wanted her to find a nice Jewish boy and settle down there.

The family seemed to have some means, so I was surprised that she was traveling alone during such perilous times. She must have been very brave.

When my Mother Bebs stepped off the cargo ship in Haifa, Israel in August 1949, there was a heightened sense of euphoria in the air as the modern State of Israel experienced rebirth.  As soon as my Father David saw Helen it was love at first sight.  He immediately told his buddies that she was the girl he was going to marry. There was no time to lose as there was a nation to build.

According to her sister Mim, “Maybe meeting David–love at first sight–made her decide not to get back on board the ship for the next port. She was a very independent thinker.”

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It was love at first sight. David told his army buddies on the beach, “She’s the one.”

Helen spoke no Hebrew or Italian; David spoke no English, so they conversed in French. After a whirlwind courtship during a two week period, they fell in love and were married.  According to a relative, Helen and David met the day she arrived in Israel. They made a very handsome couple.

Helen wrote on the back of one her last single photos,

“Tel Aviv—8/13/49~ When I (Helen) was still free & unmarried.

Taken at a sidewalk café on Ben Yehuda St. after we decided to be married the 15th.”  

 

The wedding of my parents.

How beautiful my Mother Helen looked in her veil & her groom, David so very attentive.

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David Lascar do you take Bebs Yaffe to be your lawfully wedded wife as long as you both shall live so help you God? I do.

David and Helen’s Marriage Certificate.

David carried this piece of paper around in his wallet. It was found among my mother’s things. It seemed very special and it made me believe that he had truly loved his wife.

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David and Helen at a table celebrating

The Celebration

Helen then returned home and later David was to follow her to America. I have several postcards beautifully written in Italian sent to my mother from her new husband.

  Don’t Forget Me 

He seemed to be saying, ‘Don’t forget me.’ When I studied some of the addresses I wondered how these postcards ever got delivered.

I am sure the family was in shock that she had married a soldier.  I don’t think they were pleased at all. But then David was finally was on his way to be reunited with his beloved Helen.

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6.0 “I Named You After Queen Elizabeth”

by Elizabeth Stephens

Two new arrivals at the Queen of Angels Hospital

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A more recent photo of the Queen of Angels Hospital where I was born on May 08, 1952.The Queen of Angels Hospital was founded by the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart in 1926 and served celebrities and poor immigrants. It’s now the Dream Center of Los Angeles.

 After some months, Helen got pregnant and they had a little girl, Adrianna, my sister. Nine months later I, Elizabeth Lascar came on the scene.

I was born on May 8, 1952 at Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles. David told me I was named after two Elizabeth’s, Elizabeth Taylor and Queen Elizabeth. David felt he owed his survival to the strategic bombing of a British Spitfire enabling his escape from a Nazi Concentration camp on one winter’s day.

Here’s a photo of VE Day (Victory in Europe) which occurred on May 8, 1945. Pictured are Princess Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth standing next to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, King George and Princess Margaret. I was born 7 years later on May 8, 1952. That’s why David told me I was named after Queen Elizabeth.

October 17 2013 Queen Elizabeth Princess Elizabeth VE Day May 8 1945

My youngest daughter Taylor has said to me on more than one occasion, “It’s very obvious that your Mom Bebs and Dad David loved you very much.”

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They were so happy to have two daughters as you can see by all the photos. Living in Venice, the family loved going to the beach for recreation as well.

David was very skilled with his hands and after he would see something in a store, he’d go home and make it from memory. Here is the wooden rocking horse he made for Adrianna and me. They were thrilled having two baby girls.

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I don’t remember much from my early childhood as I was very young at the time. Here I’m holding a couple of my favorite stuffed animals.

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I did see an old video tape which provided a brief glimpse us as kids jumping up and down in our crib. My past came alive for a moment.

These photos are all that exist in my memory of my time with my Mother Bebs.

I didn’t know I had ever visited Tijuana, but one of the final pictures in this gallery is evidence that I’ve been south of the border. I recently read on the back of the picture that the photo was taken while we were on my Dad David’s vacation.

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