Sunday, September 18, 2011


A couple of weeks ago I penned a birthday poem for one of Gal Friday’s favorite relatives. This lady, named Esther, is a single parent who lives in a fashionable apartment on the upper west side in New York City and epitomizes the modern, free-spirited working girl. Taking advantage of most everything the megalopolis offers, she dines in fine restaurants, attends concerts and shows, takes walks in Central Park, visits museums and entertains guests. Being so active, I often wonder how she has enough time and stamina to perform her job as a receptionist for a business management company in the telecommunications industry.

My last conversation with Esther left me somewhat confused when she mentioned the possibility of quitting her job. Well, she didn’t actually say quitting her job--she’s too refined for that; instead she said taking “early retirement.” “Early retirement” has a totally different meaning to her than the rest of us. Of course, I’m not positive but I have an inkling that living her lifestyle in NYC is rather expensive, damn expensive. So how can she manage to not be gainfully employed and continue her status quo? I asked Gal Friday and she mumbled something about Esther having enough savings to live off--at least for awhile. Being the suspicious writer, I can’t help but imagine something dark and mysterious in her past.

The last time Gal Friday tied me in our mobility van and drove me to the city to see Esther, I practiced singing old Broadway tunes and such because Esther has a penchant for bursting out in these types of songs and she loves me to accompany her. I don’t warble well, but I know she appreciates my following her lead as best I can. It surprises me she knows the lyrics to some old tunes because she’s such a vibrant New Age woman.

Esther knows  fashion. Creating her own sophisticated yet conservative style, she always looks so glamorous. Her knowledge of fabrics and their proper applications astound me. She can detect clothing quality, or the absence of it, in a New York moment. She’s the type of woman, when stepping out of a taxi or entering a restaurant, people notice; heads turn.

I’m not sure what Esther’s politics are, but she sure stays current on all local, national and world events. She can astutely discuss politics with anyone and not just recent happenings. Her knowledge of 20th Century NYC history is voluminous and most interesting. When talking about this favorite subject, she gets so intense she makes you believe she lived it.

Because Esther is, not only a family favorite, but also a simply outstanding individual, Gal Friday insisted I include my birthday poem to her. So here it is. By the way, did I mention Esther is Gal Friday’s aunt who is now 94 years young?

Happy Birthday, Aunt Esther

In Flanders Fields
Doughboys in mourn
The world was at war
When Esther was born

Neighbors smiled
On the Lower East Side
Benjamin and Sarah
Their hearts filled with pride

Three years before
Prohibition started
When bullets flew
And people darted

Before the Empire State
To watch was so thrilling
102 stories
The world’s tallest building

Before Rockefeller Center
John Junior’s plan
Year 1930
When construction began

Preceding Esther
Came visits from stork
Each one a male
Joyous cries in New York

She loved her brothers
Who totaled five
But sometimes wondered
If she’d survive

Their memories remain
In mind and heart
A love so strong
To never depart

First came Jules
Then came Moe
Next came Phil
The last was Joe

'Tween Phil and Joe
Sarah did cram
A small baby boy
By the name of Sam

A special bond
For this brother
A little stronger
Than any other

Years have passed
And so have they
But this lady knows
That is God’s way

Enriched by “Greenie”
They sold candy
Showing the line
She was a dandy

Independent still
She harbors no gloom
As feisty now
As first pulled from the womb

So much experience
She claims a wealth
She’s a history book
All by herself

She’s seen it all
Time flew too soon
From horse and buggies
To a man on the moon

We all love her
At year 94
And look forward joyously
To many more

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