Her mother born in Poland and her father raised in Manhattan, Lucille Adler grew up in a two family house on Morris Avenue and 174 Street. She describes the neighborhood as 99% Jewish, with a few Black students in her public school. They would go shopping on 174 Street and she loved walking up and down to see all the shops. Her mother taught math at a Jewish school and her father had an insurance company. She envied the other girls whose mothers stayed at home, because she was a latchkey girl and would come home to an empty house after school.
Adler enjoyed riding bikes and as she got older spending time with her friends. During the summers she attended Jewish summer camps. Her family kept kosher and were more religious until the Depression, when they had to work on Saturdays. While she really enjoyed her time at PS 70, she has few fond memories of Wade Junior High School. In Taft she avoided cliques and loved to play tennis. While she met non-Jewish people in school, she never remembers any issues and went on believing the whole world was Jewish. Adler contrasts this with living in the South now, which she sees as much more cliquish and less friendly than her Bronx youth.
Adler describes that the expectations between her and her brother were very different, as he was incredibly smart, but she respected him for his brains and he respected her for her sports abilities. She credits the Depression with putting everyone in the same economic position and limiting competition between friends. Adler graduated from the LaSalle Institute in Manhattan, and shortly after married in 1952. After marrying, she and her husband moved to New Jersey.
Adler would return to the city to go to Broadway shows as she enjoyed in her youth, and to the Bronx to visit her mother and mother-in-law. The last time she went to the Bronx was in 1989, when her father passed away. Adler remembers the Bronx as a very safe environment where no one ever worried about walking or taking public transportation alone. She also regrets not continuing with the piano.
Poland, the Great Depression, Morris Avenue, 174 Street, Wade Junior High School, Taft High School, the South, kosher, safety
Maier Garcia, Sophia, "Adler, Lucille" (2023). Bronx Jewish History Project. 15.