Cecilia Felzer (1921 – 2021)
Cecilia Schlisselman was born in London in 1921 with two sisters following (Pearl, 1927), Gertude (1928). Her father was an immigrant to England from Poland who met and married her mother in London in 1919. Cecilia studied in school till age 14, then worked as a milliner making hats in the East and West ends of London. Free time was spent dancing and the movies. Her father attempted to find work in the Depression of the 1930s as a maker of fine wallets and handbags, and her mother sold clothing and was highly effective at allowing customers to pay on an installment plan. Her mother also was a skilled dressmaker. A year after the war broke out in 1939, bombs started falling in London, including a dud bomb that landed in the back gardens of Cecilia’s home. It made a deep hole, however did not detonate – apparently made by allies in Czechoslovakia. Her family had been in an above-ground air-raid shelter at the time of this bombing, but spent the next 10 weeks in underground shelters. At that point Cecilia located an apartment away from London on the North Sea at Lancashire (St. Anne’s) where the family could move far from the bombings. Cecilia’s mother also was a good cook and they opened the place as a boarding house for guests, with the entire family helping. There, during a vacation day in August 1944 Cecilia went dancing at a Jewish dance and an American army guy said “Do you come here often?” and he gave his parents’ telephone number in Philadelphia. They had a few dates and she married Harry Felzer 10 months later in June of 1945 in England (he also had relatives in London). In 1946 it was hard for an American to get a job in London, so they decided to move to near his parents in Philadelphia and she sailed alone to New York on the Queen Mary, meeting Harry’s parents in New York, and he joined soon after. The ship had been configured as a G. I. Brides hotel because of many such marriages. They lived initially in Philadelphia with Harry’s parents, and eventually moved out to an apartment in West Philadelphia, then to a newly built 1948 house in Overbrook Park area of Philadelphia. Her sister Pearl then immigrated to America and lived with them a couple years and then married in Philadelphia. Around 1952 sister Gertrude and the sisters’ parents all immigrated and lived two doors away from Pearl’s family. Both Cecilia’s parents were readily able to find work in Philadelphia.
Cecila and Harry raised two children, Michael and Ann, in Philadelphia, and when Harry retired from government service in 1976, they moved to San Diego. Here they were active in the original Beth Israel synagogue and nearly yearly took a cruise vacation to different parts of the world. At age 92 they decided to downsize and moved to Seacrest Village retirement community in Encinitas. They were married for 72 years when Harry passed away in 2017. All those years, they danced to their favorite song “I’ll Be Seeing You”.