Posts Tagged ‘100 years’

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Sunday I went to a birthday celebration for Joseph Vinnitsky, who turned 100 years young.  As I found myself surrounded by his family (four generations including himself) and his friends, I was taken aback by the love and caring in a room filled with not only 100 years of a precious life but probably just as many people there to thank him for the memories.

There is a saying that it is not the number of years that count but what a person has done with them that makes all the difference.  Looking around the room, I saw photos of the past century.  A large glass case contained and displayed many army metals from World War ll,  a time when the turbulence in Russia and Germany took its toll on families and destroyed future generations for those of Jewish faith for that matter. His son and daughter spoke volumes of a man (who believed whole heartedly, that one must take every opportunity in life and enjoy).  He was devoted to his wife beyond belief and never gave up on life after her passing.  He kept his yearning to live life to the fullest.   From plays and concerts to events that would broaden his learning, education and especially his mind. Always looking to learn and grow as a person.   It is this mentality that keeps the heart young. Although he is now in a nursing home environment, he is known as the social butterfly, always looking for a dance, and keeps his strict exercise schedule among other regimens.  He is a father, a grandfather and just in the past year a great grandfather to his precious great granddaughter Mia. 

Here in this room was a smiling and overjoyed gentleman.  When he spoke during his speech, (although I did not know what he was saying as he was speaking in Russian), his intonation, inflection and total enthusiasm was riveting and I listened to every word – Russian or not. 

When I say 100 years young, I am referring to a man who danced with his granddaughter weaving in and about the tables.  I am speaking of a gentleman who was surrounded by his loved ones and danced the Hora.  Even when he got a little winded, he sat in a chair in the middle of the dance floor and moved his arms and feet to the music as the women (from young to old) encircled him.  He wore his huge birthday hat as he listened to others talk about his life and that broad smile never left his face. 

Previously, whenever I saw Joseph, I was greeted with a smile and always a kiss on both cheeks, and he would put a hand on both of my cheeks and hold my face and smile – it was always followed by a quick dance.  And dancing we did at Jewish Family Service.  When he came in to work, I always smiled the rest of the day as his twinkling eyes and smile could melt away any cares.  I referred to myself as his girlfriend and always told him he was my favorite boyfriend.  I was devastated when I found out I was just one of probably 40 others who considered themselves his girlfriend.  He was a lucky catch and everyone (as apparent from those in the room) was all blessed to have him in their lives regardless of the reason. 

When I spoke to his daughter in law she told me how after the invitations were sent, people were calling and asking to please be a part of this event.  She also expressed how Joseph, now living away from New Haven, wanted to see his friends, relatives and acquaintances now, as he reached his milestone and enjoy their company once again in a happy and celebratory atmosphere, as no one knows what life will bring. 

I have never met anyone who was 100 years old, but after seeing Joseph today, I now consider 100 a new young.  I can only hope that my next 50 years can encompass one quarter of what Joseph accomplished and experienced in his first century.  Mazel Tov Joseph Vinnitsky You are a true gentleman, a true inspiration and still my favorite boyfriend. 


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