Mom’s 90th

Yesterday would have been Mom’s 90th birthday. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have been too thrilled to hit that milestone; I can hear her voice saying “I’m so old!” Still, it’s impossible to see this date on the calendar and not think of the many positive milestones in her life. There’s no way to tell her whole story in just a few pictures, but here are some of my favorites.

This is the earliest picture of her I’ve found. She’s probably 2 here, with my grandparents, Anna and Morris Rosenblum, and her big sister, my Aunt Selma.
Here she is as a young mother of 3 boys, during the Kennedy era.
Mom and Dad, more than 50 years into their marriage.
Mom as a very happy mother-in-law, grandma, and great-grandma (GG).
Mom’s last birthday, in 2019. This was a really good day: a sing-along at her residence that got her dressed up and out, and after a rest back in her room, a clandestine takeout dinner of her favorite treyf.

Papa’s Birthday

My grandfather, Martin Moses, was born on this day 132 years ago. He was the oldest of his generation in my family that I knew well growing up, my link to the 19th Century. As a toddler I called him “Papa” instead of the more appropriate German “Opa”, and the nickname stuck. I had hoped to be “Papa” when I became a grandfather, and in a similar fashion Rosa insisted on calling me “Pa”. But in every other way, he remains my model of what it is to be a grandfather.

He was born in a village, was conscripted into the German army for World War I, and after the war became an “entrepreneur” whose business ventures eventually brought him to Berlin. There he met my grandmother Rosel (Oma) and started a family. Just weeks before Kristallnacht they fled the Nazis and emigrated to Ventura, California. I was 40 years old before it sunk in that, when he was older than I was then, Papa started over in a new country, with few possessions and no English, and he and Oma managed to build the world of family and support I was born into.

He was a part of my life the whole time I was growing up, and I remember our times together often as I now play the role of grandfather. Here are some of the family photos I’ve collected from his life.

Papa and Oma on a walk in the woods. My guess is this is late 1925; they were married in June,
Uncle Jimmy was born in May 1926, and this looks like a maternity dress to me.
Papa with my Dad (L) and Uncle Jimmy, Germany, mid 1930s.
My arrival, September 1955.
Me and my brothers. I am now just shy of his age in this picture.
Papa would regularly host barbeques, which always felt like special occasions. Jerry and I
still use his seasonings and offer people “tasters” off the grill before serving.
This is from a local newspaper article about Passover. Early 60s.
Papa and Oma at their 50th wedding anniversary, 1975.