In New York, Ms. Heuman labored in a button manufacturing facility, as a nanny and as a waitress. She met Lu Burke, who would go on to be a duplicate editor at The New Yorker, and so they lived collectively as a pair within the West Village. Ms. Burke improved Ms. Heuman’s English by studying the dictionary together with her. (At The New Yorker, Ms. Burke was a infamous and feared language martinet, nicknamed Sarge by the manufacturing employees.)
Ms. Heuman attended Metropolis Faculty, and within the early Fifties took a job as what was identified on the time as a “woman Friday” at Doyle Dane Bernbach, then a fledgling promoting company. She labored there till her retirement at 60, ultimately overseeing budgets and work move as a site visitors director for the corporate. She married Charles Mendelson, an accountant, in 1952; they’d two youngsters and divorced in 1976.
“I felt I owed it to my mother and father to have youngsters,” Ms. Heuman mentioned in a 2019 discuss. However she additionally owed it to herself to depart the wedding when it went south and her youngsters had left the home. “Life is just too brief,” she mentioned.
Just a few years in the past, Ms. Heuman determined to come back out formally to her son and her daughter-in-law, Lyndsey Layton, deputy editor of The New York Occasions local weather desk; they had been nonplused, having by no means considered her as closeted. Nor did her daughter, Jill Mendelson. “I at all times knew,” Ms. Mendelson mentioned. “It was by no means a dialogue.” When she phoned Ms. Layton and introduced that she was homosexual, Ms. Layton recalled, she responded, “Sure, sure you might be, Margot!”
Ms. Heuman dealt with her survivor’s legacy a bit the way in which she dealt with her sexuality. It wasn’t hidden, however she didn’t declare herself. She waited till her youngsters requested her questions on it, and she or he answered them in what she discovered to be an age-appropriate method. When her daughter was very younger, she mentioned her Auschwitz tattoo was her telephone quantity, put there so she wouldn’t overlook.
“I don’t do not forget that,” Ms. Mendelson mentioned in an interview, “however I at all times knew she was a warfare survivor.”