Flossie was born in 1910 in the heart of the Big Apple. As a little girl, she would sit on her front stoop with best friend, Fran, eating potato salad and big dill pickles from the deli down the street. The Spanish Influenza came in 1918 and took her mother and grandmother in one weekend. She was seven. Her father learned to drive his first car, a Ford, in the rocking chair under the lamplight, using a banana as a gear shift. A similar motorcar later took the life of her brother, Buster, as he chased the coin intended for bread into the gutter. She was nine. Remarried, her father’s new wife was not warm. In fact she cracked Flossie over the head with a cut glass bowl because she had thrown an empty candy wrapper back in the bowl, deeply cutting her scalp. She was twelve.
Flossie left home, and began working as a bookkeeper in the Empire State Building in the 1920’s. . . .and was a real flapper with a passion for new shoes. Thin as a rail, she would munch on a Hershey’s chocolate bar each day on her way to work . . . at 28 she agreed to marry the love of her life, John, a Wallstreet stock broker.
These were the stories that I asked to hear over and over as a little girl.
GiGi was the best grandmother. She allowed Nancy and me unbridled access to her make up drawer and my mom’s old prom gowns each year when we would travel to north Jersey to spend the week with her. She made chocolate chip cookies by the barrel, and would bring us powdered sugar jelly doughnuts from the local bakery elegantly presented in a white bakery box with candy cane string tied around the parcel.
And the best part is that my kids have that same love for GiGi . . . the same territorial, jealous love that I had a child. And GiGi still makes each one of them feel like the most special person in the world.
Florence and John. Jones Beach, NY.
GiGi and Caroline have celebrated the last nine birthdays together.
GiGi received family and friends for the entire weekend, and loved every second of it. She is sharp as a tack and still does the NYTimes crossword puzzle every day with my mom.
Watch for this beautiful lady on the Today show this Thursday, Dec. 9th when Willard Scott honors her:)
Road trip from JMU! Erin and Katie made the journey to celebrate with us.
Some of GiGi’s girlfriends . . . Pepper, Elizabeth Nancy and Page. Page, a personal chef, catered the party and the food was off the hook.
Baltimore’s best floral designer, Victoria Clausen stopped over with a gorgeous arrangement and warmth and hugs for GiGi.
Mom read a proclamation from the county establishing Dec. 5 as “Florence Miles Day.”
Neighbors and dear friends, Tom and JoEllen Hickey.
Our extended family . . . Reid and Elizabeth Robinette.
Remember GiGi’s best friend Fran?? The one with whom she ate potato salad and pickles on the stoop?? Well, Fran’s son, Dick Simeone has kept in touch with GiGi all these years . . .and he and his wife, Lynn, drove all the way from Boston for the party.
GiGi and her kids, Doris and John.
Some of those precious great grandkids . . . she has 23 in all!