A Wonderful Life – A Reblog from Our EnrichingElderLives Blog

*Update* Assisted Living Resident Claire just celebrated her 98th birthday on this snowy first day of spring. Happy Birthday Claire*

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Claire just celebrated her 94th birthday on the first day of spring. Seashore Gardens has a monthly group birthday party, and at March’s party you would have found Claire dancing. “I use a walker, but I hold on and dance,” she tells me. She has always loved dancing, and even entered a few contests when she was younger.

Claire called Philadelphia home for most of her life, though she would visit the beach every summer with her family. A friend had a rooming house, which is where they stayed. It’s a good thing, too, because Claire met her husband at the beach in Atlantic City. “We would all be hanging out with our friends on the beach. My mother had her friends, I had my friends, but we were all together hanging out and talking.” One day, Claire started talking to a guy who was quite taken with her. “He walked right over to my mother and told her he was going to marry her daughter,” Claire laughed, “my mother asked me who that crazy guy was.”

His name was Daniel, but everyone called him Danny. He and Claire would go dancing together on Steel Pier. They danced to many big bands, including Tommy Dorsey and Gene Krupa. The two got married, and had a wonderful life together. In fact, Claire tells me that her whole life has been really wonderful.

 

“My parents were wonderful people and wonderful together. Anything we wanted, we got,” she said, referring to her and her brother, Sidney. Sidney and Claire also had a great relationship, although he is no longer alive.

Throughout her adulthood, Claire loved seeing shows with her husband. One evening, the two were waiting in line and Danny tapped her on the shoulder to point out Cary Grant, only a few feet away. Once inside, Claire and her husband were seated at the table next to Cary Grant. “I missed the whole show because I was watching him,” Claire tells me. On another occasion, Claire was in the front row of a show where Frank Sinatra was making an appearance. “He got on his knee and sang right to me,” Claire recalls.

Now at Seashore Gardens for about three (seven)  years, Claire loves reading. “It keeps me sane,” she says. Her granddaughter mails her books to read, and she especially loves Danielle Steel. Claire enjoys a strong family connection with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. As I finish my interview with Claire, I ask if there is anything she wants me to include in this piece. “I’ve had a wonderful life,” she says.Image