Blossom S. Kirschenbaum

Blossom passed on November 5, just saw it on Facebook.

She was a writer, scholar, translator from Italian, New York girl, single mother, fierce critic and kind friend.

She had been sick, did not want to talk about it, walked everywhere and whenever I saw her had attitude. She was active in SWAP– ‘Stop Wasting Abandoned Properties’ and there are probably houses standing because of her efforts. She told me which houses on her street were empty during this latest real estate crash.

We were in a writing group together. She could be overwhelming, but she was a fine writer. Her short stories are a snapshot of a time on the cusp of great change, when bright women tried to balance love, work and family and succeeded or failed on a tilted field. I don’t see her fiction on the net, her children might get it into print in a collection that would stand up well with others of her contemporaries, including her friend, Grace Paley.

And, speaking of children, the one Providence School Board meeting I attended was livened by Blossom speaking up for the gifted program. Maybe a gifted girl who grew up in an immigrant/working neighborhood had some life experience to bring.

Blossom told me that once Norman Mailer came to speak and she asked, ‘What about the women?’ which really ticked him off.

For that I thank you Blossom, and for all the love you gave to your city and your friends.

11 thoughts on “Blossom S. Kirschenbaum

  1. I remember how upset she was to hear that Grace Paley had died. This was at a writer’s group dinner at Ruth Bailey’s a few years ago. Rest in peace, Blossom.

  2. Providence isn’t the same without Blossom. Thanks for posting this notice. I enjoyed sitting with her at screenings of the French Film Festival.

  3. Thank you for this posting. I will miss her profoundly. I wish that we could all get together in remembrance of her. She was a community force of nature that extended far and wide through Providence and the rest of the world. If anyone has ideas about this, please email me at Thanx. Penina

  4. I learned today that Blossom died 2
    Saturdays ago, on October 29. Also that there will be some kind of Memorial for her at Brown in the Spring.

    Also possibly some event at Temple Emanuel, but no idea when.

    Blossom lives in our memories & stories. & Thankfully her words left for us in many places.

  5. I miss Blossom strolling colorfully along the East Side streets, meeting her at every civic gathering, film festival, Brown and RISD event, and most of all I cherish her contagious passion for living and feeling part of the community.

  6. Thank you all for your kind words about our mother Blossom Kirschenbaum, who died peacefully in Providence on November 5th 2011 after a two year illness. An obituary will appear in the Providence Journal on Sunday, November 20th 2011. Those who wish to record recollections about Blossom’s life can send them to A celebration of her life is being planned for Spring 2012.

    Jennet, Abram and Helena Kirschenbaum

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