I just came from Isabel Baker's 90th birthday celebration. She's been living in Laurel Park for 40-something years, and has been active in the life of the community the entire time. She's one of those elderly people you want to be when you grow up. She's warm, friendly, sharp, has a lot of self-awareness and a sense of humor about herself. I hope I am half as loved as she is if I get to be 90.
After we'd all eaten potluck lunch, the mayor of Northampton (also a resident of the Park) read an official proclamation declaring today Isabel Baker Day. And the current president of the Laurel Park Association (not the same thing as the homeowner's association... it's complicated) presented Isabel with a brass plaque thanking her for her service to the LP community; the plaque will be installed in the Tabernacle. Then Isabel spoke. She thanked all of us for coming, and introduced a woman who had come all the way from Japan -- when the woman was in college, she traveled around the U.S., and bumped into Isabel's husband, who made her come over for dinner. Her English wasn't good, but her French was, so Isabel brought over a friend to translate from French to English. They stayed in touch over many years. Isabel told some stories about the old days of the Park, and ended by saying that whether she'd known us for a long time or a very short one, we were all very dear to her. Then we sang and had yummy cake.
I was also fortunate enough to sit at a table with Harry and Priscilla, a couple who met as kids at the Methodist summer camp here. They just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. As a child, Priscilla may have even slept in my house, back when it was a dorm (there were 2 or 3 similar dorms). So cool.
The whole experience filled me with gladness, and made me more determined to keep this house. I hope I can do it.