My mom is 106 years old.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Eve Rosenberg reads the New York Times, the New Yorker and the Wall Street Journal. Yes, she’s a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker. Born in Detroit, my mom and her family moved to The Bronx in the middle of the Depression. There, they ran a few small candy stores, though they were out of that business by the time I was born. Being that I was a chubby (I’m being generous) child, that’s probably a good thing.
My mom is one of the most intelligent people I know. Add to that a phenomenal memory and you have a person who can carry on a literate conversation with anyone. She reads books by the bushelful, usually fiction. And she walks a mile every day. Every day! A resident of Seacrest Encinitas for a decade, mom is looked upon as “royalty.” Everybody knows Eve and Eve knows everybody… by name! And their spouses. And their children.
How does she do it? Here’s one of her secrets: each night she will not allow herself to fall asleep until she spells a word beginning with each letter of the alphabet from A to Z. The words have to be 8 letters or more. Only then will she close her eyes.
Flaws? Well, yes. Technology passed my mom by after the invention of the television. The cell phone (which she calls “the clicker”) is always “broken” until it magically fixes itself and, on our weekly Zoom calls, I constantly have to remind her to sit back so that we can see her whole face instead of her eye ball.
Mom gave me many gifts. She has a wicked sense of humor and a laugh that sings. Dragging us to Broadway shows and museums has given me an appreciation for the arts that I otherwise wouldn’t have. There’s nary a conversation that goes by without my mom singing to me. She is also determined to live. To read that next book, taste that next meal (the woman loves her bacon!), and blow out the candles, with family and friends around her, for her 107th.
Mom raised 2 boys, has 4 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. She’ll lament that she doesn’t hear from them enough, that they’re not interested in, or have time for her. I see her point. But that lack of connection shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of love. She’s treasured by her family and her “adopted family” of relations and friends, both young and old, who seek her advice, conversation and connection. When people tell me how “nice” it is that I visit my mom, I tell them that I see her, not because I have to, but because I want to. Yes, I get roundly criticized (bad posture, losing my hair, facial wrinkles, etc) but the rewards far outweigh (usually) the tongue-lashings.
I want my mom to live forever. That’s not selfish, is it? She’s the most remarkable person that I know.