November 24 would have been Florence's 87th or 86th Birthday.
Not really knowing the circumstances of her birth on November 24, 1923 or 4, I have no idea if she was celebrated when she arrived. Possibly not. Her father was a World War 1 veteran who wasn't very nice and her mother, erudite, educated, multi-lingual, worked as a practical nurse because as an immigrant and refugee from Russia, it was what she could do. Her father not much in the picture in between hospital stays and abusive behavior, resources her mother had went toward the basics and then Florence's music lessons.
Poverty and unhappiness perhaps didn't lend itself to birthday parties with pretty cakes but stories of how much could be done with so little offer some hope that maybe there were birthdays she really enjoyed.
It was her 65th birthday that my sister did it up right with Florence's first birthday cake. A real cake with icing and flowers and her name and candles to blow out. As it wasn't something we ever got as kids, giving her this cake was a big deal. I found the candles - a 6 and a 5 - in a drawer of one of her tables when we cleaned out her house.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.