Happy 100th Birthday, Aunt Sylvia

Today my Aunt Sylvia is 100 years old.  She’s my Great-aunt, but to us she was Aunt Sylvia. She’s nearly blind, yet still mobile (with assistance) and feisty.   I remember meeting her in New York City to attend ballet matinees and then shop at  Bonwit Teller, where she worked.   Always impeccably dressed, she is still concerned about her appearance and clothing.  

Thanks to Aunt Sylvia, I had a letter published in the New York Times.  I’ve submitted many over the years; this was the only one printed to date.

I wrote in response to an op-ed, “I Shopped Them All”, by Letitia Baldrige, the former social secretary and White House chief of staff for Jacqueline Kennedy. (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/08/opinion/08baldrige.html?scp=48&sq=letitia+baldrige-&st=nyt)

Here’s my letter:

To the Editor:
When I was a child growing up in rural Connecticut, it was a special treat when my mother took my sister and me into New York City by train to meet my grandmother and great-aunt at Bonwit Teller, where my great-aunt worked.

She knew all her customers and was so proud to show off her grandnieces. Dresses (often matching) were bought with her 20 percent discount. I still have a Bonwit Teller violet pin.

Though there may be a few department stores left, Internet shopping makes them all look the same.

(published March 10, 2005)

100 is hard. Most of her friends and family, including her beloved older sister, Mae, my grandmother,  have passed on.  Her memory sharp, she recalls the past, remembering events, who attended and what she wore.

Still, it’s cool saying I have a relative who’s 100 years old.

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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15 Responses to Happy 100th Birthday, Aunt Sylvia

  1. Maggie L R says:

    I hope Aunt Sylvia has a wonderful year and remains in good health . It is nice to hear about someone still going strong at such a wonderful age.

    Like

  2. Barbara W. Klein says:

    Lovely! Love mom.

    Like

  3. Lisa- I loved reading your charming piece on Aunt Sylvia, a real piece of living history.Kudos on all you are accomplishing.I just finished talking to your wonderful husband and got to “catch up”.I have been teaching poetry in extremis and my son has become a teacher too!Still loving the written word. Patricia Grodd p.s. I have also written for educational update recently!

    Like

  4. What a great story. Happy Birthday to your aunt.

    Like

  5. Read your article re: department stores, and I feel as you do. No pleasure in internet shopping. Spending a day in a good department store was as exciting as going to the theater. Unfortunately, both have lost their glamour, but I shall frequent them until the end. LS
    (from my cousin Letty)

    Like

  6. Dear Aunt Sylvia,
    You are my new favorite person.
    Kay

    Like

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