The 100th Birthday of a Mentally and Bodily Still Very Active Woman

Erfle, Alfred. "The 100th Birthday of a Mentally and Bodily Still Very Active Woman." Mitteilungsblatt, February 2009, 25.

This translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog

Hulda Erfle, nee Gruen, who was born in Teplitz on December 12, 1908, was able to celebrate her 100th birthday among family and a large circle of well-wishers totaling about 240 people, in Ladysmith, Quebec Canada, where she has lived since 1960.

Also present were folks who had traveled from Germany, namely, a son, a grandson, two great-grandsons and some partners, plus a cousin and his wife. A daughter and son who also live in Ladysmith had prepared everything optimally.

Amidst the well-wishers there also were representatives of TV, radio, and the press, all of whom reported extensively. The mayor brought congratulations from the community and on behalf of the Governor of the Province of Quebec. Even the Prime Minister and the German Embassy had sent congratulations and certificates.

The really grand celebration took place on December 14, 2008. Travel for the guests had been made difficult by temperatures of minus 28 degrees [C., which is ca. minus 18 degrees F.] and a snow cover measuring 60 cm [ca. two feet].

The big day began at 11:00 AM with a moving church service in St. John's Church in Ladysmith. It was enriched by a young man who had studied music in Germany. With his expressive baritone voice, he sang --partly in German, too -- "Es ist ein Ros' entrsprungen [Lo, how a Rose]." The attendees also sang "Nun danket alle Gott [Now thank we allour God]" in German, and the Our Father was also recited in German. All participants of the service were also partook of the subsequent Eucharistic Supper.Afterwards, the scene switched to the festively decorated community hall, which filled rapidly with people. They were treated to a richly prepared buffet meal. The stream of people seemed to be endless, but our mother took all of this in stride. She even took the microphone to thank everyone for coming, for their good wishes, and for the many gifts.The highlight was a documented pictorial story of the various moment of her life, and I believe that readers of the Mitteilungsblatt who have had a similar life will agree that there may have been many such significant moments. The impressive presentation was narrated by the eldest grandson and the youngest granddaughter. Many in the audience were obviously moved with pensive and deeply emotional moments. The day had begun and now ended in a very dignified manner.

Respect for a grand life achievement of our mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother causes us to look at her with amazement. The simple fact that she is still taking entirely care of herself in her small home, and of everyday tasks and work, all without assistance, borders on the miraculous. When she is addressed on this point, she simply says, "Well, why not? I am well, and as long as I am able, I'll get it all done." The locally residing daughter and son do come by daily to see of help is needed and to make sure that mother is doing well.

In closing, a special comment: she has made many visits to Germany --the latest one four years ago -- and after a longer stay our mother said: "Jetzt isch Zeit, dass i' wieder hoim fahr. [Well, now it's time I go back home]." Proof that, after a period of homelessness between 1940 and 1960, she has found a true home again here in Canada, not in the least because of the many residents of German origin, who took her in asone of their own. Today she continues to live alone, her husband having died thirty-three years back, and her eldest son twenty-three years ago.

Her life's motto is: "Always look forward, never backward, and take each day as it comes."

An admirable attitude, especially after all that she has experienced in the one hundred years of her life, and, I think, an exemplary attitude as well.

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.

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