Aunt Ruthie: Birthdays to Remember

The Longeneckers think birthdays ending in 5 or 0 are special. At a Longenecker family gathering in Florida in 2003, we celebrated the birthday of my brother Mark, who turned the big 5-0.

Brother Mark's 50th Birthday 2003
Brother Mark’s 50th Birthday 2003   (Tim Kulp, spouse of grand niece in background)

And also of my Aunt Ruthie who celebrated her 85th birthday at our house at the same time.

Aunt Ruthie Longenecker's 85th Birthday, 2003
Aunt Ruthie Longenecker’s 85th Birthday, 2003

This month on October 4th, Ruthie reached her 98th birthday. That called for two celebrations: one among residents of the home where she receives nursing care and the other with her family at the same facility.

 

What she said at the first celebration:

It came suddenly and it left the same way . . .

 

What happened at the second:

The preliminaries: Tao from Viet Nam, one whom Aunt Ruthie sheltered as a young woman, beautifies the table with an autumn bouquet. Her children think of Ruthie as their grandmother.

taoflowerbouquet

Then –  family meal with dessert . . .

No 5’s or 0’s appeared on the birthday cake in front of her, but there was a huge number 9 in the calculation – not 98 candles, but close!

marianruthie98

She had her drowsy moments during the party, but slowly awakening once, she looked around the table and observed, “It can’t be denied that women outnumber the men here.”

birthdaygroup

My sisters Janice and Jean, two grandnieces, and a nephew

She didn’t have enough wind to blow out the two candles at first. Neither did I. We all sent her good wishes after 4-5 puffs, extinguishing the two flames.

blowoutcandles

 

Special Report: Ruthie Reaction

I promised to give you a postscript to my post Aunt Ruthie Longenecker: Her Life in Pictures.

Earlier in the week, Ruthie with her perky pony tail leaned in, looked intently at my computer screen with eyes wide open.

ruthieperkyponytail

When we came to the vintage photo of the 1930s family reunion, she began identifying a few relatives she remembered – her aunts, uncles, her father, her mother (“My, she was thinner then, if you know what I mean,” she said with a wry smile, viewing her mother.) Her left hand moved steadily if quavery across the family photo – speaking names of relatives long dead: “Grandma Martin, Grandpa Sam, Uncle Frank, Uncle Joe, Mattie, Bertha, oh, and my brother Ray.” Long pauses often punctuated the name call.

I was thrilled to observe the foggy memory mists lifting and blowing away for a few precious minutes . . .

Remember my promise on the October 5 post? I did show her the post of her life in pictures, including your comments.

They made her smile, smile real big!

ruthiereaction

“Thank you,” she said.

Madeleine L’Engle’s birthday sentiment:

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.


Given a choice, what age would you choose among the ages you’ve been?

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Purple Passages with a Camel

via Google Images
via Google Images

Birthdays 

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.    – Madeleine l’Engle

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.    – Aldous Huxley

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.    – Zora Neal Hurston

It takes a long time to grow young.    – Pablo Picasso

Friendship

Throughout our lives, friends enclose us like pairs of parentheses. They shift our boundaries, crater our terrain. They fume through the creaks of our tentative houses, and parts of them always remain . . . .

–  Beth Kephart, memoirist and National Book Award nominee.

Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.  – St. Thomas Aquinas

Friends are a reflection of the issues we are working on. – Melody Beattie

Be Yourself

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!    – Dr. Seuss

Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel.   – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Camel w cigar_4x3_300

Humor

Some of us suffer from a debilitating mental disorder called irony deficiency. Seeing a doctor won’t help, but seeing a paradox will.”   – Swami Beyondananda

Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.   – Bill Keane, comic strip creator “The Family Circus”

GiftBag

And a Question:

Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?    – T. S. Eliot

Your answer: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ !

 

I look forward to your response and to your musings on anything else that strikes your fancy. While you’re at it, why not add a quote too. The humor section could use some beefing up.    🙂

Thank you.

Purple Passages II with Pictures

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Purple Passages made its debut on July 10. Here is the August 10, 2013 installment.

My stack of journals minus the fatter one on my nightstand
My stack of journals minus the fatter one on my nightstand

Why people read

1.7.94  We read books to know we are not alone.  William Nicholson  

Love to children

4.2.89  The love you give your children is like black paper: it absorbs and you can’t see it, but you know it’s there. Mary Kalegis

Patio pose, little readers frozen in time
Patio pose, little readers frozen in time

My Hometown

Courtesy: City of Jacksonville
Courtesy: City of Jacksonville

7.27.91  Jacksonville  . . . an Oz of blue-green skyscrapers, a city of dreams at the end of the pine-green tunnel . . . shines from a number of angles like a jewel being turned in your hand.    John Updike, Rabbit at Rest

On Relationships

10.21.91 Relationships with the opposite sex reflect our efforts to find answers for problems with our parents. Relationships with our friends represent our efforts to find solutions for problems with our siblings. (Quoted by Shirley McLaine, who undoubtedly quoted from someone else.)

On Sanity

7.19.92 It occurred to her that her sanity was becoming intermittent, like a sudden stretch of intact road in an abandoned region. Or radio music, blatant after months of static.   K. Braverman, Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta

On Birthdays

blowing out candles HappyCakeJ&me

2.10.96  The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose the other ages you’ve been.   Madeleine L’Engle

On Angels

5.8.97  Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.   G. K. Chesterton

On Hope

7.11.95  As long as matters are hopeful, hope is a mere  . . . platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength. Like all Christian virtues, it is as unreasonable as it is indispensable.   G. K. Chesterton, Heretics

Make one of your own!

Well, you can coin a new quote, but you could also begin or continue your own journal of purple passages:

Purple Scrapbook

White pages would be easier, or computer pages with a pale purple background. How about it?