I just returned from Chicago where I helped my mom celebrate her 90th birthday. Personally, I consider that a feat (not helping her celebrate, but making it to 90). At first, Lady C. – that’s not her real name; it’s Sarah – and her best friend, Trixie – not her real name either; it’s Bernice – wanted a pizza and pajama party. At 90, you can have whatever you want, but it was hard to imagine how we were going to pull off a pajama party at their independent living facility. Fortunately, we dodged the bullet, and the pizza and pajama party morphed into a pizza and blue jeans party with oldies music. All this planning got me thinking what the world was like in 1919 when Sarah was born:
- Cincinnati defeated Chicago White Sox (5-3) in the World Series
- Cost of a first-class stamp went to $0.03
- The unemployment rate was 1.4%
- Federal spending was $18.49 billion
- The Pulitzer Prize in fiction was awarded to Booth Tarkington for The Magnificent Ambersons.
- Charlie Chaplain, D.W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford established United Artists in an attempt to control their own work.
- The Green Bay Packers NFL team was founded
- The pop-up toaster was invented by Charles Strite
- The short-wave radio was invented
- Dial telephones were introduced by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company
Sarah is the youngest of three children. She and her two older brothers are all college-educated, which is a real testament to my grandparents. Sarah was graduated from high school at 16 years of age and received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Chicago in 1939 at the age of 20. She married at 21, had four children and has spent a good part of her life volunteering for various organizations. Today, she knits for various organizations including the Lake Forest Hospital Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit.
I have never seen my mom happier than while she was greeting friends and family and enjoying reminiscing over the photos we compiled and the DVD of her life that we prepared. I could not have wished for a more perfect gift. So, here’s to you, Mom. Happy Birthday, and many more.