Easy was born Elaine Eisen on Friday April 8, 1927, to Henry (Hank) and Amelia (Millie) Eisen.
Henry was an advertising man, and started the Henry Eisen Advertising agency, which is still in existence, albeit in Chicago (the current version is unrelated to the original, but they thought it was such a cool name that they used it.) Millie was an elementary school teacher at a public school on the East Side of Manhattan. Easy lived with her parents and older sister, Marion at 470 West End Avenue, between 82nd and 83rd Street. Easy was a hard core Upper West
Sider! According to Easy, her sister was responsible for the nickname “Easy” because she couldn’t say “Elaine”. Other accounts tell the story that Easy was given the choice between “Easy” and “Shrimp”, so she picked “Easy”.
Easy attended the Julia Richmond school for girls and according to her and her friends, she was “wicked smart”, and aced all of her schoolwork despite the fact that she couldn’t see very well. Easy wanted to attend the University of Wisconsin, but her parents claimed that they didn’t
have enough money to send her there, so she attended Brooklyn College. According to family legend, upon her graduation Hank and Millie gave Easy a mink coat, which she threw back in her parents’ faces because they could have used the money they spent on the coat to send her to the college she wanted to attend!
Easy worked as a journalist at the Newark News, where she met a very cool cat named Robert Klein. Love ensued, they were married and had 3 children – Woody, Bill and Amy, all named after their shared favorite writers. As a young mother living in Scarsdale with 3 small kids, Easy continued to write and worked as a stringer for the New York Times. Over the years, she held a variety of jobs in journalism producing, among many things, educational material similar to what
has become popularized as “So you’re a bill sittin’ on Capital Hill.” Easy worked at NYU in their communications department, and was no doubt a trusted and wise advisor to Bob as a journalist and as a financial advisor. Easy also experienced sadness and trauma during her adult life. In the late 70s, both Bill and Amy became ill with mental illnesses which they have lived with and struggled with all of their adult lives. Easy became a fierce advocate for both Bill’s and Amy’s well being, and worked to better understand their illnesses and help them live fruitful lives in the community. Her oldest son, Woody, died in a freak traffic accident on the 2nd day of 1984. And then Bob, the love of her life, died in 1993 at the young age of 66, after a brief struggle with cancer. Despite these difficult and traumatic sorrows, Easy never failed to push forward, to live with purpose, passion, joy and humor.
After her retirement, Easy hosted a local television program, “Mental Health Update” for the New York City Metro chapter of NAMI, with the purpose of helping to destigmatize and spread knowledge about mental illness. She couldn’t help but pour her energy into this cause that affects so many people but is too infrequently spoken of honestly and directly. Along the way, Easy gathered friends and admirers with her outspokenness, her empathy, her intelligence and her humor. Her friends were young and old, and she enjoyed talking with all comers. Easy was a real Francophile and traveled to France and to other exotic locations – many of the people here received her annual postcards that showed her posing with new friends and local attractions. Well into her 90s, she enjoyed speaking French and eating “moules” with great gusto.
Easy was a full human – giving more than she took, and thrilling everyone in the dance that was her life. She will be remembered and missed by all who knew her.