“06880” tries to honor the lives of many Westporters. When we lose a neighbor, we rely on readers to help us understand what these men and women mean to our community.
Earlier this year, we missed a chance to honor the life of Lydia Morowitz-Greenburg. She died in her Westport home, and would have been 78 years old this month. Her daughter Jennie Greenburg Pickering writes:
Lydia Morowitz-Greenburg was a Westport resident for 43 years. She spent 15 years as a a celebrated RN at Norwalk Hospital. And she was a polio survivor.
Lydia always walked with a limp. She could not run, and suffered from chronic pain and fatigue. But she was headstrong and kindhearted. A disability advocate, she raised money for the March of Dimes, and was regularly featured in local newspapers for her fundraising efforts.
She had a great sense of humor and fun. Lydia did not feel sorry for herself, or worry about her limitations. She maintained her sense of humor and charismatic style at all times.
Lydia contracted the polio virus in Brooklyn in 1946, when she was just 3 1/2. Though told she would never sit up again, she did — and did much more.
Lydia moved to southern California with her family in 1953. She went to college, earned her nursing degree, got married, had 4 children, and moved to Westport in 1976.
She worked at Norwalk Hospital as a nurse in the Dana 4 maternity ward and neonatal intensive care unit from 1989 to 2004. She pulled 12-hour shifts — sometimes overnight — and then took 3 days off to recover.
In the 1990s, a huge snowstorm closed roads. Police officers picked her up, so she could take her hospital shift.
She loved her job and appreciated the hospital environment, having lived for a year at St. Giles Hospital after contracting polio. Her Norwalk Hospital patients loved her. Some named their babies after Lydia.
In the last decade or so her physical body weakened. She was in intense pain. She suffered from extreme fatigue and depression due to Post-Polio Syndrome, which forced her to retire from nursing.
Lydia missed her job in nursing, helping people, and being a key member of society. She said she had outlived her body. But she dyed her hair purple, and did the best she could.
Lydia was a beautiful person, inside and out. She lived most of her Westport years in a yellow antique Victorian house on Clinton Avenue, driving to work in a navy blue Mercedes SL.
She was a 2nd row Westport Country Playhouse ticket holder for 25 years. She also enjoyed Oscar’s, the Remarkable Book Shop, Winslow’s, Glynn’s, Plumed Serpent, Mansion Clam House, and — later in life — Chico’s.
I am sorry I did not know Lydia Morowitz-Greenburg. But it sure sounds as if she was a very worthy Unsung Hero. Thanks, Jennie, for sharing your mom’s inspiring story.