Steve Stern wrote:
This is supposed to be a celebration of Mom's life, and I can see that it is.
Many of you didn't know that Elliott and I were latch-key kids. Mom was a strong, success- oriented woman, and worked outside the home for much of our growing-up years. She was active in the Temple and worked for the Rabbi for 6 years. Although she only had a high school diploma, she worked for a chemical coatings company and became very familiar with the technical specs for some of those coatings. Sometimes, it seemed as though mom knew more about chemistry than I did! She even flew to Seattle once to unveil an airplane with coatings she helped to sell.
In spite of Mom's work schedule, she was involved in my childhood activities, from cub scout den mother, to carpool driver, shlepping me to religious school, choir practice, club meetings, movies, or other activities. She even taught me to drive with a stick shift.
After moving to Huntington Beach, she became active in the Orange County Democratic club (talk about a minority) and edited the newsletter for that organization for almost 10 years.
Mom's command of the English language, combined with her creativity, was very special.
She was a playwright, poet and lyricist. Many of you have seen her plays – North Pacific, Sound of Nachas, and others. By rewriting the lyrics, and story line, she could adapt a play to any number of causes she wanted to represent at the time.
She was always comfortable in front of an audience. A member of Toastmasters, she was ready to give a speech of some kind, and always seemed to say the "right" things at the right time.
And many of you attended one or more of those famous candle-lighting ceremonies. I remember the one for Bubby's 80th birthday. Each person to light a candle was introduced with a few couplets describing that person and his or her relationship to Bubby. Then the person was invited up to light their candle in Bubby's honor. Mom's writing was so clever, concise and entertaining! We all laughed and cried at the sentiments expressed during those ceremonies.
Bryan seems to have inherited his grandmother's gift for poetry and sentimental prose, and is now the offical Stern Poet Laureate.
And I certainly inherited Mom's ability to show off in front of a crowd (although I'm not going to do it right now). I can sing in my barbershop hobby for 10,000 fans without any nervousness or discomfort.
Although Mom's singing capabilities left something to be desired, her love of music was infectious. There was always the soundtrack of a Musical playing on the record player. Oklahoma, or Camelot, or perhaps Glen Miller or Gershwin, or even Alan Sherman. Music was always a part of the Stern household. Dad sang and harmonized of course, and I grew up with an appreciation for music that continues to this day.
Mom loved people. She made friends easily and had many close friends. Some of those friendships go back 50 years or more, and many of you are here today. You are just a handful of the people she touched in her life.
I am grateful that I had an opportunity to share some of these memories with Mom before she passed, and I know she's in a better place now. I'll miss her.
I love you, Mom.