Remembering Nicki Holden

Nicki Holden Memorial

Nicki Holden was born on August 5, 1927 in Brooklyn, NY. She was an only child of Rose Sperling Wachholder and Harry David Wachholder. She attended the University of Wisconsin, in Madison where she studied English Literature. She had a classical education including the study of latin. She was well read. She became very skilled at writing and editing.

Nicky and Harvey were married in the early 1950s. Harvey had served in the War. They were in love, life was so good. By all appearances, they were starting a life together so full of promise. Two Jewish kids from good families. They moved to queens and started living the American Dream. They could never have known that growing old together was not to be. Laurie was born in 1955. David was born in 1959, the same year as me.

I would meet and come to love all these people some 15 years later when I went to school with David. They have all been a part of my inner-core family ever since. I took to calling her Ma’ Nicki, and it is no exaggeration to say she loved me like a son. Our phone conversations often ended with a prayer.

In 1964, Nicki began suffering with severe depression. It would be the first of many episodes which were punctuated by periods where the opposite was the case. Nicki waged a lifelong battle with Bipolar Illness. It is a fact which has marked her life in a profound way. It would play a major role in the ending of her marriage in the early 1970s.

From the ashes of this tragedy, Nicki found the grace to continue. She struggled to be the best mom she could be. She worked when she could. She had great resilliance. Her wit and her humor were the tools of her grace, and more than anything, she had great faith. 

Nicki and Anne met in 1972. They had teenage children which they shared. Susan and David became like brother and sister.

They would live together on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for many years. and in a wonderful way, they were two of the most married people I know. Anne and Nicki enjoyed blending their Jewish amd Christian faiths. Nicki enjoyed wearing a star of David and a cross. She understood how beautifully the two traditions harmonized.

Anne went to college, and remembers how Nicki helped her understand Shakespeare’s Sonnets. “We read them together, not once, not twice, not ten times, but twenty times. And in the end I came to have an understanding of what Shakespeare was saying.” Nicki also helped Anne edit together the final project. Nicki Patiently worked with Anne to create a finely crafted paper.

In 1999, Susan and her husband Michael had twin boys, Joshua & Jordan. Their birth was a great moment of joy for Anne and Nicki. Anne happily shared the role of grandma with Nicki.

Eventually, Nicki and Anne made their life on Cape Cod. They loved the clean air. Nicki found the support she needed. Denis Meacham helped her understand her illness. he learned much from her.

“She was an extraordinary lady, one of those rare people who can own their faults and shortcomings and somehow work them into many positive contributions to her family and friends. In her most difficult times, sitting on the edge of her bed struggling to breath, she had that gleam in her eye that said, unequivocally, ‘I am alive and kicking, so watch out because I’m figuring out what I’m going to do next!’ ” She never stopped believing in her children, and her prayers for them never ceased.Image

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Raven's Nest Gallery Art Show Aug 10 to Sep 5August 10th, 2012
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