Written by Michelle Diano and photo credit: BDimages
As Mother’s Day approaches, 93-year-old Anne Bernstein contentedly reflects on how her three daughters possess a deeper place in her heart.
“I’ve had three beautiful girls who have been three very good friends,” said Bernstein, who has lived at the Wilentz Senior Residence in Somerset for the last eight years.
The mother of Sharon Megdal and Debbie Golden, special projects and marketing director at Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center in Bridgewater, Bernstein also remembers another child she lost, Ilene Nessel, a history and social studies teacher.
“They were wonderful children and I had no incidence of any kind of trouble,” recalls Bernstein, who provided her daughters with unforgettable memories such as visiting Radio City Music Hall and enjoying Broadway shows.
“They’ve been the best friends you could want, we had a wonderful life and went down the shore every summer. The kids loved to use the coin machines for sandwiches and drinks,” she remembers.
“I always remember the little Mother’s Day presents they would bring home,” adds Bernstein. “They were very happy about making something for me and I loved receiving them.”
As she recalls her daughters’ notable academic accomplishments, she notes that she maintains close contact with her four grandchildren and great-grandchild, despite how the family members live in different parts of the country.
“I see them on Skype and their videos on the telephone,” she informs.
Bernstein advises some of the qualities that make a mother extra-special: “You have to give your children support in everything they do. You have to respect your children just as much as you want them to respect you. And, that is true of your whole family.”
The memories that she has created with her mother have been precious for Golden and have endeared her to her mother through the years.
As she lets herself remember some of those memories, she transports herself back to sitting beside her mother on a stool at a luncheonette counter at the old Woolworth’s store in downtown Irvington.
Sipping an ice cream soda, Golden, the youngest of her siblings, savors the memories of those trips to the downtown where they would go shopping.
While the three girls had a number of years between them, they were close and had a mother who kept a calm and happy household.
“Mom was home a lot and always there for us. When she went back to work, I spent time with my grandmother and those were some of my fondest memories too,” she says.
“Mom…we call her Mama Anne…has always been there for us. Kind of what you think of a mom to be and she still is. Since she has been living at Wilentz, she has been able to spend more time with us,” shares Golden, noting that her mother used to live in Toms River.
Carrying on traditions that have been passed down through the generations has been an important part of the mother-daughter bond for Bernstein and Golden. This includes presenting a brunch spread and cherished fare during the holidays.
“My daughter, Stephanie who is now married puts out a brunch spread just like me and her grandmother,” says Golden.
“Whether it is making chicken soup, roasting a turkey and everything in between we continue our traditions,” she adds, noting that Bernstein is a wonderful cook.
“She has set a great example and always made sure that the Jewish traditions were given the right attention they should have,” says Golden.
Mother’s Day for Bernstein and Golden will include a delicious spread of bagels and accompaniments.
Golden adds, “I’ve learned a lot from my mother, but most importantly to be a good listener. She was never an interfering mother. She was simply there for her family, but in a supportive, positive way and happy to help in any way she could.”
“She has set great examples as not just being a good mother, but being a good person,” she says.
“And, at 93 years old, she looks beautiful and she thinks young. She doesn’t think of herself as an old person. That is what I think helps keeps her going. She’s a glass-half-full person. I’m just glad that at her age she is still here for all of us.
When Golden married, she cherished a photograph that she took with her grandmother and, when her daughter Stephanie’s wedding day neared, Golden advised that her daughter capture a photograph with Bernstein to cherish.
“Mom and I speak pretty much every day and I see her at least once a week,” concludes Golden. “I admire her outlook on life and she has wonderful inner-strength that anyone could admire. She’s like an energizer bunny and she just keeps on going!”
The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, Wilf At Home, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.wilfcampus.org.