Linnea, Benny, “Bum” are all names my mother answers to. She turned 100 in June and planning her birthday party was one of the most stressful things I’ve done lately. You see, 3 ½ yrs ago she and I attended her sister’s 100th birthday party back in Waterville, Maine. It was a wonderful party but my mom had plenty of ideas of what she wanted done differently…so I was really under the gun!
I approached the party from the same perspective that I do just about any event, and that is – what will be the color scheme, theme, decorations? (Food is not my forte!) Choose a fabric first with more than 3 colors (always the Chameleon StyleR first step in any decorating project!). There was a problem though. Mom is legally blind (Macular Degeneration) and can’t see colors. But we found a way around it and being of Swedish descent, she chose the colors of the Swedish Flag, blue and yellow. (She has beautiful deep blue eyes so I thought it was a great choice).
Isabella Flora, the multi media artist whose cards we sell at both Chameleon Home stores, created the blue & yellow “Linnea” greeting card in honor of my mother. Supposedly my great, great grandfather was ”the father of Botany”, Linneaus Bengsston, who named plants. My Mother is named after the pretty little Linnea flower.
Here are some pictures of the party. The floral bouquets and arrangements are from Mary Falkingham Floral Design, our neighbor shop at the Pasadena store. My daughter arranged a wonderful CD photo presentation with the entrée theme song being none other than, “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena”. We had displays surrounding the perimeter of the Pasadena Senior Center Hall; her prom dress from 1929 (olive green true flapper style with silver filigree lace hem, her Swedish Costume she wore as child to the Scandia Lodge, a pale pink batiste dress she wore when she was 4 years old an her Red Cross volunteer uniform from the 50′s.
There was a “sport section” as well featuring my Mom’s wingtip golf shoes from 1945 and a picture of my dad playing golf with Bing Crosby in the early 50′s. Mom broke her knee, nose and wrist when she was 80-something so she took up bowling again. My favorite part of the sports section however, is related to the picture of my mom with the microphone in hand at her party. It’s a long story – nothing to do with decorating but it has a lot to do with women and goals, ambitions and dreams (and I’ll post separately a little later).
All in all the celebratory day was magical. Friends, neighbors and family members from near and afar attended. Even a “representative of the US Government” so to speak! “Clarence” has been my Mom’s mailman for over 25 years. He checks on her daily and they have become wonderful friends. He brings her ice cream when it’s hot. He helps her stick on the stamps and checks to be sure her addresses are legible on outgoing mail. I am so thankful for the wonderful people that surround my mom, are a part of her life and keep her going. (She is fiercely maintaining her independence and I am so lucky to have a “team” of people who care while I am so far away.)