10 SHY OF 100
1 September 2003
Today is Walt's mother's 90th birthday and we have just come from
a huge bash celebrating the occasion. Somewhere between 30 and 40 people came to the home
of Walt's brother Norm and his wife Olivia for an open house which lasted all afternoon.
Their mother knew that "something" was being planned, but she wasn't prepared
for the extent to which her offspring had gone.
Norm is in the copying business, and so had made lifesize copies of
photos of Alice as a child which were placed around the house. There were four different
displays of photos from all areas of her life from childhood up to the present. (The
picture here is from her first communion).
She doesn't see too well these days, because of worsening macular
degeneration, so everything was "big" and with scrutiny, she was able to make it
out, and had a wonderful time looking at the old photos and talking about the stories
associated with them.
It was a catered affair and while people sat at tables in the back
yard, Ned, who had brought sound equipment from the radio station where he works, did
interviews with as many people as he could get to. They told their favorite
"Alice stories," reminiscences of their times with her. I talked about how
much I admired her for her trip (she has traveled all over the world) when she was in her
mid-70s. She took the second Orient Express train scheduled after the line had been
re-opened. She was traveling through parts of China which had never seen white
people before, washing out her underwear in cold water in hotel wash basins and eating
food I certainly would not be brave enough to try. I have always admired her spunk.
Cousin Ernie Baur got the prize (or would have if there
was one) for coming the farthest. He and his wife flew in from Maryland for the
Alice's long-time friend Jane got the prize (or would
have if there was one) for having known Alice the longest--her husband and Walt's father
worked together and Jane met Alice when she came to work for the same office. (Jane
will be 90 herself very soon.) I don't think they've seen each other since Alice's
80th birthday celebration.
Tom, who lives in Santa Barbara, where Walt's sister
Alice Nan lives, has been one of the biggest party planners, in cahoots with Alice Nan and
her significant other, Joe.
The three of them (mostly Tom, they say, with e-mail
collaboration from the others) put together a 13 verse song which was sung by the three
kids and cousin Ernie, with Tom and Joe on accompaniment (called "Joe and the Matriarchal Remnants"), and Ned kibbitzing, when he
wasn't recording it.
The cake design itself is a good indication of the kind
of good natured person Alice has been most of her life...
(She's wearing a Giant's uniform with a catcher's mitt
in her hand).
I think she was truly surprised and touched by today's
celebration. Everyone involved in the planning certainly did themselves proud.
Tom was proudest when he saw that their song brought a tear to her eye.
"We've done our work," he said!
I'm a are you?