Thursday, October 04, 2007

Happy Birthday, Adolf!

I can't call you this year because you died and I don't have your new number. You would be 105 years old today, which is amazingly special, just as you were amazingly special for all of those 104 years and 9 months.

It's notable that you never lost your kindness and compassion for others, nor did the full function of your brilliant and far-reaching mind ever fail even slightly. I think that sad and inconvenient as losing your eyesight in your 90's was, it was wonderful that you (and all of us who loved you) had the full use of your mind to the end.

You were in every way a man others should emulate. You gave so much to so many, and always had time to listen. Your interest in others never flagged, which may be one of the reasons for your phenomenal longevity.

You personally witnessed the entire 20th century and remembered it verbatim. You were the best kind of living history because you had the insight and mental acuity to connect the dots and draw conclusions from events both technological and political.

You remembered both World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the 6-Day War, the Gulf War, and were dismayed by the Iraq War. Your recollections ranged from travel by horse and buggy to moon rockets. You lived in many parts of the world and understood at the cellular level that all people are connected, despite the fact that some deny it. You were deeply concerned about global warming and urged me often to buy a place where I would be safe.

I've marked your birthday on my calendar as I always do and will probably continue to do for as long as I live. I miss you every day and my life is smaller for the loss of you, even as it is immeasurably bigger for having known you.

I would toast you with a Rob Roy, your favorite drink, but as you know, I'm allergic to liquor. Instead, I've bought you a box of thin mints, which you liked so much, and will eat them for you. I hope you enjoy them.

Love always,


thailandchani said...

Wow..... Oh, I just love this! Seriously. Archiving this post! One of the best I've read in months!



The CEO said...

Now this man has truly achieved immortality.

WNG said...

I always thought the point of Happy Birthday was to say to someone "I am happy and grateful that you were born" so I see no reason to stop that after they've passed. I hope you have a great day of rememberance today and enjoy your cookies!

Rachel said...

Damn you, woman. You made me cry. How could you post such a beautiful, heartfelt tribute on this, the day of my PMS?

Curses...that was my last pack of tissues, too.

Anonymous said...

Good Heart, this gave me goosebumps.

And if I know anything at all, I know for a fact that Adolf is smiling today, warmed by your words.

Beautiful words, beautiful sentiment, beautiful writing (as always).

Craze said...

What a truly wonderful post.

Ian Lidster said...

That is so nice, Susan. I remember you referring to this man before. He was, for all his adventures, fortunate to have somebody like you in his life.
On the other hand, we who know you, even via this means, are fortunate to have somebody like you in 'our' lives.

Open Grove Claudia said...

Yay! I will toast him as well. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful person with us!

heartinsanfrancisco said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heartinsanfrancisco said...


He was a great blessing on me and on the world. Truly.


He didn't need my help to do that.


It is, and I am. You're so right. Birthdays are forever.


I'm sorry I caught you at such a vulnerable time. Can you throw things or something to relieve the PMS pain?


Oh, good. I made you and Adolf smile at the same time. I'm smiling, too, so I think I hit the trifecta.


Thank you!


Aww, you are much too kind. And yes, I built in links to my other two posts about Adolf for those who didn't know who he was.


Great! You do the Rob Roy and I'll eat the cookies. It will be good -- you'll see.

Molly said...

He sounds like a wonderful guy. How and when did you meet him? It sometimes seem so random, the people we meet and how we meet them. I just wonder if it's all in the plan or really just random....

meno said...

I know he will appreciate you getting him the cookies. I remember reading the post you wrote when he died. It was powerful.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


He and his late wife were close friends of my parents. I have known him all my life. Now my brother is the only person left in the world whom I've known that long.

I tell about meeting Adolf in the second post I linked to in this one, if you're interested.


I used to send him thin mints all the time. We must have tried out every possible kind out there. He loved them.

Sienna said...

Happy Birthday too's an honor to read about loving and so loved.

How beautiful this is.


Rachel said...

I got over it as soon as I posted. PMS is like that. Seriously though, this is a wonderful, beautiful post. It makes me wish I could have known him, somehow; like my life would have been richer for it. And in a way, this post does accomplishes that. Thank you for sharing your love with us. Absolutely wonderful.

Jay said...

This is a totally cool post.
Hats off to you.

the walking man said...

Cool post Susan, my Grandmother lived to the exact same age 104+ just a wee bit shy of 105. She was like that too, mentally articulate until 103 then all of her grandkids and great grandkids became 1 of her brothers and sisters. I was Simon her next oldest brother, I guess when we were kids we did a lot of stuff together because she kept asking me to hitch up the wagon and go someplace I'd never heard of.

Just mad me realize it's been a decade and a year she's been asleep. Sigh...that old woman was my treasure.



heartinsanfrancisco said...


I think that if we could all manage to love and be loved as he was, we could claim to have lived very good lives when we die.


Adolf was too good not to share. Thank you for reading my stuff, and I'm glad the dreaded three-letter malady is gone for now.


I had great material to work with.


Oh, lucky you! You probably have the genes to live that long, too.

My grandmother lived to be 93 and only grew confused in her last year. She knew who I was, but thought that my children were my grandchildren, even though I was a young woman at the time.

I was just happy she remembered my name. (And I still don't have any grandchildren.)

thethinker said...

Wow. From the way you wrote this, I know he must've been an amazing person.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


He was all that.

urban-urchin said...

i don't have your new number- hahaha. this was a lovely tribute to your friend Susan.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Thank you for reading it.

When I get that number, there will be hell to pay.

Anonymous said...

I will gladly toast Adolf with a rob roy. Nothing like a wonderful person who touches our lives equally as wonderful. Cheers to you both.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Happy Birthday to Adolf.

I wish so much that he was still here with you. I think that if the love that has come through in your words is even half of what you truly feel for him, there's no way we could understand the pain of his loss or the gaping hole in your life that his absence has left.
I know that he will live in your heart all of your days, and beyond, because you've shared his memory with others.

Big hugs and smiles on this day as we celebrate his life.

Scarlett & V.

heartinsanfrancisco said...



(I'll drive.)


That was so lovely. I appreciate your kind and beautiful words.

Thank you.

Odat said... very, very sweet!!!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


No words, but I'm smiling. Thank you.

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