The Aunt Adele and the Lottery Story
All about my aunt Adele winning the Connecticut lottery
Written 1/2011 and rewritten 05/10/2016 unedited
Written with assistance from Allen Nelson
The following story is all about my aunt Adele and her winning the Connecticut lottery.
My aunt Adele, was one of the sweetest people you would ever have met, she was one of three daughters born to Eddie and Molly Lazaroff.
Adele was born in Russia but had immigrated to the United States in 1910, her family settling in New Haven Connecticut. My mother Betty was the oldest of the three sisters and my aunt Lillian was the youngest.
Both my mother Betty, and her sister Adele, were born in a small village of Mestatchka Pablov in Belarus and they were smuggled out of Russia in potato sacks by my grandfather around 1910. It was quite an unusual story of how they escaped. See the (The Escape from Russia Story). Adele’s younger sister Lillian, was born here in the United States in 1923.
According to my mother, when she and Adele were teenagers growing up, the only professional jobs open to women in New Haven was either being a teacher or being a nurse, so eventually both older girls decided to go into nursing.
Eventually all three of the sisters married, my mother married Jack Yasgar an electrician, Lillian married Norman Rosenberg who worked for the post office, and Adele married Jimmy Nelson who started out as a merchant seaman but later became a machinist working in various machine shops in the New Haven area.
Around 1940 Jimmy and Adele had a son, Allen. Allen, was a year younger than me, and is now a retired professor, married and living in the mountains of Nederland Colorado.
I was told that early on, Adele’s husband Jimmy who was an alcoholic, had become an abusive husband, both verbally and physically, and he was making life difficult for Adele and for their son Allen. Allen’s mother Adele, was working every day as a practical nurse and she did her best dealing with a difficult marriage and the raising of her son. I knew that everyone in our extended family in New Haven felt sorry for Adele as she was such a sweet and caring woman, who unfortunately was living in a difficult relationship.
It wasn’t until Allen was just about to get married that his father Jimmy passed away from a heart attack. In a way, Allen felt that it was a godsend as there is no question that Allen’s dad, would have created a terrible scene at Allen’s wedding.
I was an usher at Allen’s wedding which was held in one of the exclusive pioneer churches on the New Haven green. Allen had married a beautiful girl named Sharon Townsend. The Townsends were an original pioneering family in New Haven and lived on the Townsend estate “Raynham” which was located where else but on Townsend Avenue. Sharon’s father Henry had once run for mayor of New Haven.
After their wedding Allen and Sharon went on to college together, but unfortunately the marriage didn’t last long and Sharon and Allen were eventually divorced. My cousin Allen went on to earn his doctorate, and he eventually he moved to Colorado, where he met and married his present wife Diana where they have built a solar home, and live up in the mountains.
Now, once Allen’s father Jimmy had passed on, everyone in the family hoped that my aunt Adele would meet a nice fellow and finally have the good relationship that she certainly deserved. But that was not to be. I believe it was around 1962, when we heard the rumor that my aunt Adele was now living in an apartment on York Street in New Haven, and she was still working every day as a practical nurse. We also heard the rumor that she had taken up living with a fellow named Carol. None of us had ever personally met Carol, so any information regarding him came to us second or third hand through the family grapevine and some bits of information that came from my cousin Allen who occasionally visited his mother.
It appears, Adele’s new boyfriend Carol, was also an alcoholic, and it was then that we heard that my Aunt Adele was starting to do a bit of drinking right along with him. So it was at this point that my mother, became very concerned for her sister Adele’s welfare. Whenever Adel would call my mother and it was obvious that Adele had been drinking, my mother would tell me that my aunt Adele is celebrating, that was my mom’s code word for Adele being drunk.
Now the family rumor mill was working overtime, and the rumor was circulating that Adele's new boyfriend, was supposedly faking that he was bedridden. We had heard that as soon as Adele went to work, her boyfriend Carol would hop out of bed, and go to a local bar, where he would spend the day drinking with his buddies. When it got close to the time Adele would be returning home from work, it was said that Carol would rush home and get back in bed, ready for Adele to make him supper.
Whether the story was true or not, it was a good rumor, at the time, and everyone in the family felt sorry for Adele. It appeared that she had gotten herself into another problematic relationship.
Now, it was just about that time that Connecticut started the state lottery. So every week, my aunt
Adele would buy two fifty cent lottery tickets, one for herself and one for Carol, she always put both tickets in her purse.
As luck would have it, one evening as they were home watching television when one of Adel's ticket numbers was drawn, and my Aunt Adele was awarded five thousand dollars in cash, and by having a winning ticket, it entitled her to go to Hartford, Connecticut’s Capitol, for the million dollar drawing.
Aunt Adele went to the Hartford drawing, and low and behold, she drew the million dollar winning number, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer more deserving person, and Adele chose to receive seven hundred dollars weekly, tax free, for twenty years.
Now remember my Aunt Adele worked as a practical nurse, and probably never earned more than one hundred dollars a week so this was quite a bit of money for her. Naturally, right away, Adele called both her sisters to advise them of her good news. Everyone was happy for her and suggested that she should now retire.
One of the first thing Adele did with her money was to buy a small house in Hamden Connecticut for both her and her boyfriend Carol to move into. When they moved to the Hamden house, the money was plentiful, so her boyfriend Carol, no longer had to sneak out for a drink. With Adel’s new found wealth Carol could order liquor and have it delivered right to their new house in Hamden. So it was rumored that Adele was now drinking right along with Carol.
Other than the fact that they both now had too much alcohol, everything else was going fine until
One day Carol asked Adele a question. “Adele, he said, tell me, who’s ticket in your purse actually won the lottery, was it mine or was it yours?” When Adele heard this she was stricken with guilt, she had up until now been happily sharing everything with Carol and the thought of whose ticket had been the one that won had never had entered her mind, after all she had always paid for them both herself anyway.
Now Adele couldn't sleep nights, she was worrying about what Carol had said. My mother who at the time was living on Miami Beach, started getting phone calls from Adele. The calls came at all hours, some in the middle of the night. Adele, who was seeking advice, would talk to my mother endlessly. It got so bad that sometimes Adele would fly down to Miami, talk to my mother for a few hours and then fly back to Connecticut the same day, I know that she did this several times.
It became obvious to everyone involved, that her live in boyfriend Carol was now making Adele sick with his persistent harassment over the lottery ticket. My mother became very concerned, she felt that my Aunt Adele was going to go crazy.
One day, an urgent call came from Adele in Connecticut, her alcoholic boyfriend Carol, had up and died. My mother said it was a blessing, as Adele, was now free to move to Florida, and live with her sisters. So by 1965, all three widowed sisters were now living together, on Miami Beach in Florida.
Adele had now stopped drinking and eventually met a retired electrician from New York named Al, and she moved in with him. At first they lived at the Casablanca Hotel and later at the Sherry Frontenac Hotel, both of which were right on Miami Beach. Al was a nice fellow, who was a retired electrician from New York, and the best part was that he didn’t need any of Adele’s money, they were an absolutely a real cute couple, and they enjoyed each other’s company, so much so that they even traveled together to China.
When my mother fell ill, Adele would come to visit and care for her, she would come by public transportation probably changing busses three or four times., and she came always carrying a bag of pastries for my mom that she bought on Miami Beach. Adele sat by my mother for days refusing to use a bed, she said she didn’t want to be any trouble.
As years passed and Adele’s health began deteriorating, her son Allen asked our advice regarding taking Adele to an assisted living facility in Colorado, he was very concerned she might not be strong enough to make the trip. Allen eventually made the right decision and drove his mother to Colorado where Adele entered an assisted living facility. At the assisted living facility Adele eventually recovered her health and enjoyed herself with lots of good friends around, and best of all, Allen and his wife Diana could visit her regularly.
Life had started out difficult for my aunt Adele, and I really don’t know if winning the lottery ever made things any better for her, My Aunt Adele eventually passed on while living in Colorado.