Adele Williams’ Journey from Michalovce to Park Springs

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“The Members who live at Park Springs really come from all over,” says Adele Williams, who moved from Decatur to Atlanta’s premier retirement community in 2013 with her husband Clark. “But my journey to get here could fill a book!”

Born in Michalovce, Czechoslovakia in 1932, four-year old Adela Melanie Dula and her mother were visiting her grandparents in New York in 1936. Her father had stayed in Europe and attended the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, and on his way there witnessed very serious military maneuvers from his train window. “Though not of the Jewish faith ourselves, we had many Jewish friends. My father sensed that many changes were about to take place,” notes Adele.

In 1937, after much deliberation, Adele and her parents sailed from Bremen (Germany) to New York. Their paperwork was prepared by the mother of a kindergarten classmate, the only woman in Michalovce’s town hall, while their American relatives had scraped and secured sufficient funds to sponsor the young family that spoke almost no English.

They settled in Greenpoint, the northernmost neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. “It was a true melting pot,” says Adele. “It was not even necessary to learn English. All day long you heard nothing but Hungarian, Polish and Slovak.”

Both Adele’s parents worked hard to build up a new life on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. “I went to night school with my Dad when he wanted to learn the language. We moved 13 times in 20 years, including to Florida for a year where my father, who had been a paralegal in Czechoslovakia, opened a restaurant. I do believe that even though these were not always easy years, they really cemented our family bond,” says Adele.

Adele’s mother was an accomplished seamstress and found work making undergarments and corsets. When the company she worked for got a government contract supplying brassieres for the WACs and WAVEs, she purchased a commercial sewing machine to work at home, and taught her daughter to sew as well. Not impressed by the basic styles, Adele was inspired to get her degree in fashion design from the Traphagen School of Fashion and ultimately became a well-known luxury lingerie designer.

Throughout her professional career she has designed for top manufacturers throughout the U.S., and her work has been featured as part of a Diane Von Furstenberg sleepwear collection.

Clark and Adele Williams, who recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary, met in a youth group in Jackson Heights. They raised their three children, two sons and a daughter, in Scarsdale, NY, where Clark worked as a banker and was able to walk to work for 35 years, while Adele enjoyed an easy commute to the city. The couple retired early to Lewes, Delaware (“Washington’s Cape Cod”), but moved to Georgia 14 years ago to be closer to their twin grandchildren.

“At a certain point, the upkeep of our home and yard became too much to deal with,” notes Clark. “We knew we wanted to stay close to our son and his family in Decatur, and were delighted to find this lovely cottage in Park Springs.”

“Together, we have lived the American dream,” says Adele. “It’s been a great journey for us and for our family. Every day, I am so happy that we moved here. It was a big gamble but we found strength and joy together.”

If you are ready to move to Park Springs by Isakson Living and would like to schedule a personal tour of Park Springs, please contact one of Park Springs’ Residency Counselors at 678-684-3300 or visit www.parksprings.com.

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Stone Mountain, GA 30087

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