My 70th Birthday Party Speech
When we became engaged, Earl told my father to have his rabbi talk with Rabbi Bulka in Ottawa. After the perquisite investigation, Rabbi Green said to my father: Host g’davent git – You prayed well. …. But I think I was the one who prayed well.
I inherited three children from a wonderful man. While two were at University, the Ottawa package included a teenager, a goldfish called Coony (who died on my watch)- or maybe it was Moony – and a Kamikaze dog named Kafka who considered me an interloper!
The teenager – Jonathan – is now a grown man. He and his sisters – Jessica and Liza – are the kind of children I would choose to have. I’ve told Cooperman I could never leave him — and that’s because of the children.
In time — and with some not-so-gentle prodding — don’t ask! – from their anxious father — they married. Jordan, Stephen and Allison expanded the family circle. My parents would always say they were menschen. Yes, they are! 5 became 8 then became 16. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re using these grandchildren as child labour tonight.
Eight adults and eight children every other shabbos in our small condo! That’s why Earl can never quit the condo board. Remotes are missing for days; pieces of popcorn find a home in every nook along with shrapnel bits of lollipop — I wont tell you where. — I’m a millionaire.
And the Cooperman geselschaft expanded around us: Old cousins, new cousins; old friends, new friends.
To my friends: You listen to my stories of exploding espresso machines, i-phones in the washing machine – the list is long …. and you laugh in all the right places!
To our children and grandchildren: You encourage me, no matter how crazy I get. You never question the booby art (My grandchildrens’ term), the Holocaust art, the Barbies I steal from you. You all show up at every exhibit and tell me how talented I am!
My life is an abundance of riches. Being a child of survivors, I never take anything for granted and I savour every waking day I have in this family.
Jessica, Stephen, Liza, Jordan, Jonathan & Allison: the words I need have not been invented for how I feel. Can you imagine? I can’t speak!
Ella, Jacqui, Ava, Adam, Natie, Ethan, Zachary and Hannah — did I get them all?
Each one of you is special and unique.
Earl: You already know how I feel …. may it last a long time.
My Aba trained me to never cry! So before I start, I will end with another’s words:
My crown is in my heart, not on my head;
Not deck’d with diamonds and Indian stones, nor to be seen:
My crown is call’d content:
A crown it is that seldom Kings enjoy. — Henry VI, Act 3, Scene 1
THANK YOU ALL!