Party delayed, but still as good as Gold(ie)
James M. Berklan, McKnight's Editor
When postponing a birthday party and a small child is involved, it can be an excruciating delay. But when the celebrant is turning 112 years old, a postponement can be downright risky. Yet postpone is just what the staff at Grandell Rehabilitation & Nursing Center was forced to do recently for its super centenarian — for more than 10 weeks, in fact. But they had a good reason.
Goldie Steinberg turned 112 on Oct. 30 but she only celebrated at her Grandell home with family, friends and staff last Sunday. The reason? Hurricane Sandy. The devastating storm blew through the Long Beach, NY, community, forcing the facility's evacuation the day before the planned party. Grandell suffered flooding and other damage and was closed for about a month.
A memorable birthday, indeed. But then again, Steinberg has had a bunch of ‘em. She was born in 1900 in Chisinau, Moldova (now known as Kishinev, Romania).
She immigrated to the United States in 1923 and settled into the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. She married Philip Steinberg in 1932 and was a seamstress for more than six decades. She lived in the same apartment even longer.
She is now listed as the 24th oldest person in the world and 10th oldest in the United States, according to published reports citing official verification. Some believe she could be the oldest Jewish woman in the world and the oldest Long Islander as well.
Consider this: The New York Yankees fan has been around for all of the Bronx Bombers' 27 world championships and 40 American League titles.
She also has voted in every presidential election since casting a vote for Herbert Hoover. That's 22 elections — and, no, she's not saying for whom she voted last fall.
She still reads the newspaper daily, crochets and speaks four languages: English, Yiddish, Hebrew and Russian. She can use each of them to praise the staff at Grandell, most of whom have had to overcome hardships of their own to get their personal lives and facility back running smoothly after Hurricane Sandy.
Steinberg has been a resident of Grandell since 2004, when she chose the facility herself. Staff there consider it a privilege to be her caregivers.
“Grandell is truly honored to have Goldie Steinberg as a member of our family, says Administrator Moishe Heller, LNHA. “We value each and every day that we share with Goldie, as she continues to inspire us with her wisdom and wit. She continues to be a beacon of hope and perseverance and we look forward to sharing her adventures with her in the years to come”
Steinberg attributes her longevity to her children, and the Grandell staff, one of the highest forms of compliment a long-term care provider can receive.
Here's hoping they all had a big scoop of ice cream on top of their pieces of chocolate cake at the big birthday bash. It was a long time in coming, but hopefully it was worth the wait. Besides, they all came about it the old-fashioned way. They earned it.