July 24, 2018 — Tuesday, one day after her actual birthday, we celebrated our Mom’s 100th birthday. Born July 23, 1918, she has truly lived in the most unusual of times, spanning the beginning of the Industrial Age and indoor plumbing, to the Space Age.
Originally, I was disappointed that we could not arrange the party for Monday – her actual calendar birthday – but in the end I was very glad because we would have still been driving while they were cutting the cake.
Speaking of cake, my niece, Ayelet, was in charge of all the food, and she had arranged for a gluten-free, casein-free chocolate cake with all natural coloring, to accommodate all the various “special” diets, as well as kosher requirements. The 3rd line on the cake is in Hebrew script and says “L’orech yamim” which means “forever” or “for many days.” Literally, it means “to lengthen the days,” I think. They are the final words of Psalm 23.
There was quite a spread of foods, including hamburgers, salads, chicken, potato salad, and Polish hotdogs from Chicago. And — of course — the yummy non-dairy ice cream to top the cake for dessert.
The Family Tree, prepared by Nona:
Here we are waiting for Ilan and Nitza – both planes had been delayed by the weather. My sister, Nona is on the left, and I am on the right with my Mom in the middle. We decided to use name tags to make it easier for Mom (and most of the rest of us) to know who was who since our families don’t get to see each other very often and children grow up fast.
Here Tom is next to Mom on the couch in the living room. Mom actually lives at Fountainview, a senior care center, but the party was held at Nona’s daughter Ayelet’s home. They have a swimming pool, too, and had hoped to have the party outdoors and include swimming. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate.
Below are some of her children and grandchildren — those who were able to come and who got caught on camera:
Left: Ayelet’s son Nechemya, home from school. Just before the party, he had been certified as a Lifeguard, and his brother Ilan (right) went swimming between raindrops and borrowed the shirt. Ilan flew in (with the Polish hotdogs) from Chicago.
Left to right: Daniela (mine), Nitza (Nona’s) and Ari (mine). Daniela had driven down from near Boston (over 200 miles) with her two babies, Nitza had flown in from Chicago, and Ari had flown in from Seattle.
Zohar and Wendy (mine) with their two children Joseph and Lily, drove almost 1,000 miles from Rome, GA not to miss their Safta’s special day. Yay Wendy!! You are the only in-law of your generation at the party! The other spouses had to stay home with their children, but I’m so glad Lily and Joseph were able to have the time to play together with their cousins Alexandre and Colin.
Ayelet set up two tables in a “T” formation, so there was room for all – but all the great-grandchildren stayed in the basement playroom most of the time. This was a rare opportunity for the cousins, who live far apart, to be connected with each other, and they made the most of it, surfacing here and there for a hotdog or a piece of cake. Only too late did it occur to me that I could have gone down there to catch them on camera.
Below, Zohar is deep in discussion with Aron, Ayelet’s husband, and I snapped a picture of Ayelet in front of the beautiful needlepoint wall hanging my mother had made for her years ago.
Below is a picture of my bedroom because on the bed is a needlepoint cat my Mom made many years ago for her sister, my Aunt Laya. She says she almost sent the kit back when she first opened it because there was no pattern on the screen and she would have to count stitches for this very complex pattern. But then she decided to try it anyway and it came out so nice that she made another one for herself. When Laya passed away, the cat came to be mine and guards our bed every day. Sometimes my little cat, Freeda, keeps her company.
Nona made a blanket (at Shutterfly) from the picture of the two cats above, and here is Mom holding it up.
Below she has just opened one of the cups and is looking at its pictures. (you can see them below, too.) Shutterfly can do some cool stuff.
Click on the picture at left if you want to see the whole book as a PDF. It’s easier to read if you enlarge 150% or 200%. It will still fit on the screen (if you have a big one).
Below is a picture of all sides of the cup we gave her with each of “her men” on it. At left is Mom and Dad (Joe) on their wedding day, in middle is Mom and Bernie on their wedding day, and at right is Mom and Sam. Each of these men has passed away, and that is the sad part of living such a long time.
Below is the cup we made as a keepsake for family members to take home with their book, Memories. For any body who has read this far but doesn’t know what Safta means, it means “Grandma” in Hebrew and that is what all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren call Mom.