by Neena Strichart
With my mother’s 94th birthday just a few weeks away, I am hard-pressed to convey in words the bliss I feel in having her still happy, healthy and so actively involved in my life.
Four years ago we threw a big party for her, and although we’ll save another big bash for her 95th, this year we’ll find a way to shower her with well deserved love and attention for the occasion of her 94th birthday. I’ll keep you posted on the festivities.
One of our readers, Paula J. Banda, knows of my close relationship with my mom, and luckily for her she has the same kind of kinship with her mother. In a rather lengthy email, she lovingly shared with me the details of her mom’s 90th birthday party. After reading her words I knew I just had to publish them for you all to enjoy. Happy belated birthday, Paula Rose, from Neena Rose.
Our mother Paula Rose Banda turned 90 years young on Tuesday, July 23.
She is an avid reader who faithfully reads the weekly Signal Tribune. She looks to the Signal for its excellent coverage of current events and enjoys reading Opinion, Community, Culture, and News. The Signal Tribune allows her to feel informed about what’s happening in her community and surrounding neighborhoods.
She was born Paula Rose Martinez on July 23, 1923, and was raised and educated in Long Beach. She married Natividad in Holy Innocents Church here in Long Beach. Their four children (Paula J., Elizabeth, Irene and Edward) were also born, raised and educated in Long Beach. Her husband Nat served in the Army Air Forces for four years during World War II. A City of Long Beach employee, he retired and shortly after, passed away at the age of 62.
Paula Rose has lived in Long Beach her entire life. She worked for the Navy for 30 years as a supervisor at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, where she received numerous commendations for her outstanding service to the Navy from Naval captains and admirals on active duty.
She didn’t want a big to-do for her 90th birthday, so her children honored her request, since she hadn’t been feeling well. However, a few days before her Big Day, she was feeling better and decided she was in favor of dinner with her immediate family. Her family scurried around, made a room reservation at El Torito’s on Atlantic, called a few relatives & friends (34), apologizing for the short notice.
Paula Rose plays the piano and has sung all of her life. She loves all genres of music, but her favorites are mariachi, Frank Sinatra songs, and Big Band music of the 40s. It seemed that there should be some music and singing for her party so, on short notice, Cindy Shea of the Mariachi Divas graciously agreed to provide the entertainment for the evening. The Mariachi Divas not only played mariachi classics, they played Big Band favorites, Elvis tunes and other fun songs involving the guests in dancing and song. The Divas were fabulous!
Our mother is a wonderful person who is kind, generous and thoughtful. She rarely misses a friend or relative’s birthday. Most often she will not only call and sing “Happy Birthday” to them, but she also sends them a handmade birthday card. All in all she mails cards to about 100 people each year. She enjoys writing letters to friends and relatives and writes poems. She is currently working on her life story.
Although disabled, Paula Rose musters up energy, ignores her pain, using a walker or wheelchair, she attends her grandchildren’s performances, the Long Beach Symphony Pops (season tickets), Carpenter Center and MOLAA performances. She is well known at Staples Center, where she has season tickets and sits behind the bench at the WNBA LA Sparks Basketball games. She has attended Sparks games with her daughters for 16 years.
Paula Rose Banda has a great sense of humor and a very positive outlook on life. She plans on remaining as active as she can be and living to be 100!