*Sixtieth Birthday Speech: October 15, 2011
First of all, Welcome! You all made it here to my party and I made it to age 60.
The front of the invitation, picture and lyrics, were based on Joni Mitchell’s song – The Circle Game. I took it as a metaphor for life and a theme for the party. I made a representation of this through pictures and words, which is displayed on the easel (over there, take a look). As a side note, I also put together a few pictures, well a few hundred pictures, which are displayed on the slide show. Most all of you will find yourself in there.
YESTERDAY A CHILD CAME OUT TO WONDER
I, like many of you here, was born in 1951.
CAUGHT A DRAGON-FLY INSIDE A JAR
The person in the room who is my very oldest friend (and I say that in the kindest way) is Patty Bilus Lager…Actually, it’s Lynne Randles Scott, who I am told I played with during the 4 years I lived in the apt. complex at 249 Belleville Ave., in Blfd.
until my family moved to
987 Broad Street (more about Lynne later). Patty and I met sometime after I moved to our pink house on the corner of Broad St. and Huck Rd. Patty lived around the corner on Dalebrook Rd. We went through Grammar School, Jr. High and High School together. Throughout the summers of our childhood, we played kick ball many a night on the street in front of her house and though we probably never caught a dragonfly, I’m pretty sure we caught fireflies in a jar. Patty and I have known each other through all of the seasons of the carousel of life.
FEARFUL WHEN THE SKY WAS FULL OF THUNDER
I grew up with a sister, Jo-Ann, 4 years older than me and a brother, Michael, 4 years younger. Doubtless, many a stormy night, Jo-Ann and I lied in our beds in the room we shared, talking, laughing fighting and from time to time, crying. Michael – the youngest- had his own room (go figure) and I can remember making him pay for this by playing the part of “Michael Commando”, making sure that he felt “honored” as he fulfilled my every command. The best part of it is that we three have taken our sibling relationship into every part of our lives, up until this day.
AND TEARFUL AT THE FALLING OF A STAR
If nothing else, I can say that I have been consistent throughout my life in my personality and character (for better and for worse). As a child, teenager, young adult and not so young adult, I am easily “tearful at the falling of a star”.
THEN THE CHILD MOVED 10 TIMES ROUND THE SEASONS..
SKATED OVER TEN CLEAR FROZEN STREAMS
WORDS LIKE WHEN YOU’RE OLDER MUST APPEASE’EM
AND PROMISES OF SOMEDAY MAKE HER DREAMS
SIXTEEN SPRINGS AND SIXTEEN SUMMERS GONE NOW
I had a Sweet 16 in NYC at a restaurant called “La Fonda Del Sol”. Some of you in the room were there…Lynne, Karen Taylor Hoffman, Patty, and Jo-Ann. My main memory from the party, besides for the piñata and an enormous cake, was what my grandmother, Nanny, said to me at the end, which was that she had never known any sisters closer than Jo-Ann and I. That made me feel really good at 16 and still does at (gulp) 6o.
CART WHEELS TURN TO CAR WHEELS THROUGH THE TOWN
Present here tonight are several people who shared those tenuous teenage years through High School. Most…Jeanne Talamini Duchemin, Brian Schober, Patty, Lynne, Karen Taylor Hoffman and Linda (now Lin) Weber Hart, were well known to me throughout much if not most of public school, but others, Karen Banda, Janice Delaport and Betsy Poster Sabato were school mates less well known to me. It took FACEBOOK to make acquaintances into friends.
AND THEY TELL HER TAKE YOUR TIME IT WON’T BE LONG NOW
TILL YOU DRAG YOUR FEET TO SLOW THOSE CIRCLES DOWN
SO THE YEARS SPIN BY AND NOW THE GIRL IS 20..30..40..50..60!!!
I went to
from 1969 through 1973, age 17 through 21. Syracuse University
Those were transformative years. In my Freshman year, I made five or six friendships that were to last until today (with a brief intermission of a few years). Maureen Price Tillman, Rima Fried North and Sara Sier Rosenberg. knew me than in those very impressionable years, which makes knowing them today that much more precious and meaningful. Maureen and I shared one of the seminal experiences of our lives, our Junior Semester Abroad in
. The four of us have seen our children grow from toddlers to adults and we’ve seen each other grow from students of the 60’s and early 70’s into the women we are today. Florence, Italy
In 1973, I went to
Graduate School, Wichita State University in . Kansas
It was there that I met a friend who comes as close as anyone, to being my soul mate. Kathy Overland-Favrow and I became fast and close friends through a shared Encounter Group, sharing the music of Eric Clapton, most particularly, Layla (with a little help from some grass), shared talk of self-growth, with and without psychotherapy, and through the shared love of Art and Literature. Kathy and her wonderful husband, Larry, live in
and I live in NJ, but the bond of our friendship is stronger than is the physical distance between us. Kansas
My first job was in 1975 at The Meeting Street School in
. By 1977, I was ready for a new adventure and I found it in Israel where I attended the WUJS Institute (World Union of Jewish Students) ULPAN (Israeli Hebrew study) for the next 6 months, after which they helped me find a job as a Speech Therapist at a hospital clinic outside of Tel Aviv (yes, I was working as a SPEECH Therapist and no, my Hebrew was not all that great), which lasted about 6 months. However, it was during those months that I met the man who was to become my husband, the man you all know and love, Haim, a more hospitable generous person you will never meet. We have been on the Carousel of Life together for over 30 years. Our ponies have gone up and down, round and round and we have together produced two children, Rachel and Jeremy, who we raised as best we could and who didn’t turn out all that bad, in fact they turned out pretty damned good and we are quite proud of them both. Providence, RI
Through our 30’s and 40’s we built our careers and we made a home for our family. That home was the hub of many dinners for many birthdays, holidays and celebrations. Haim cooked and I organized. Our extended family on my side is not big (on his side it’s HUGE). Three people here tonight are the closest family we have (on my side). Eddy Ash, my first cousin, son of Aunt Pauline, my father’s sister, and his wife, Elly and their son, Dylan have been to our home and to our milestone celebrations over the years, and we have enjoyed their hospitality through the years, especially in the summers, when we got to swim in their beautiful pool at their beautiful house in South Orange, where they lived until recently. Eddy had a nickname for me when I was little…Sheshy Boo. I don’t know how it got started, but it’s lasted until today. Dylan has become a fixture at our homes holidays and we love them all.
Through our 30’s and 40’s, as our children grew, we had local friends with whom we socialized and enjoyed each other’s simchas. In the case of Roz and Peter Lippa, we also shared our common attachment and love of
. Our neighbors and good friends, Linda and David Kay also partook in our mutual lives’ milestones and they are all here tonight. Israel
Which leads me to the 2000’s? In 2005, I started a Book Club, which has become one of the meaningful mainstays of my life. It actually was an outgrowth of Politics and the 2000 and 2004 Presidential campaigns. I hosted many MoveOn.com political parties in those years, through which I met Penny Wild Perkowski. She, Linda Kay and I, as well as a few other political party people who have since left the group and/or moved away started the book club from our passion for politics and our love of reading. Penny, Linda, Gabriela and our newest member, direct from
, Laura are here tonight. Don’t worry, we’ve all promised not to discuss politics or even books for that matter. Birmingham, Alabama
THOUGH HER DREAMS HAVE LOST SOME GRANDEUR COMING TRUE
THERE’LL BE NEW DREAMS, MAYBE BETTER DREAMS AND PLENTY
BEFORE THE LAST REVOLVING YEAR IS THROUGH.
There is one friend here tonight who has most consistently ridden with me up and down on the carousel of times of my life and she is Lynne Randles Scott. From the time we re-met at age 15, through every phase of my life since then, Lynne has been there with me and for me. Our bond of friendship is as true as it gets. We’ve travelled together as families, as couples with her husband and my and Haim’s friend, Ray and as girl friends. Lynne has been the constant thread of friendship in my life.
There are a few people here tonight whom I have not mentioned, mainly because they did not fit neatly within the lyrics of the song. Michael’s partner Anthony is the newest part of our family, and he goes back at least 15 years and we love him. Alison, Jeremy’s girlfriend is here and she is as sweet as they get. Paul, who was the cook in Jo-Ann’s house and a crucial part of our family and lovely Karen are here with us. Speaking of Paul, he and my sister created two beautiful and loving daughters, Jennifer and Alissa, who I am proud to call my nieces and they are here, as well as Fred, who is not only Jenn’s husband, but has more in common with Jeremy, at this point than I probably do. I can’t forget Dave, Rachel’s perennial date and very good friend. There are also many husbands of friends, some of whom I know, some not and they are important, but too many to mention unless I am to continue this speech until midnight. If I have left someone out, I apologize, but you are most welcome here.
I’ll end with the lines of the Chorus of The Circle Game.
AND THE SEASONS THEY GO ROUND & ROUND
AND THE PONIES GO UP & DOWN
WE’RE CAPTIVE ON THE CAROUSEL OF TIME
WE CAN’T RETURN, WE CAN ONLY LOOK BEHIND
FROM WHERE WE CAME
AND GO ROUND AND ROUND AND ROUND IN THE CIRCLE GAME.
HAVE FUN TONIGHT. THANKS!
* Speech given at my 60th Birthday Party on 10/15/2011 at Bella Napoli Ristorante, Bloomfield, NJ to about 50 guests.