S: Happy 75th Birthday!
BC: To Be Continued...
FC: Special Wishes for a Remarkable Woman August 29, 2011 | Happy 75th Birthday!
1: 1953 | Some things never change...
3: Dear Family and Friends of Gene, Our Mom, Gene Wollenberg, will be turning 75 on August 29. We would like to celebrate and honor her with a special keepsake scrapbook containing tributes and wishes from her family and friends, near and far. We invite all of you, as special people in Gene's life, to be a part of this scrapbook. Shhhhhh -- this is going to be a surprise! Please help us celebrate Gene's milestone birthday with a wish, poem, special memory or simply by sharing "What I love about Gene." No length limits short or long. If reflective writing isn’t your thing, but you have a photo, quote or words of wisdom, that works, too. The important thing is you are part of her circle and we would like you to be part of this special and fun birthday gift. Thanks in advance for your contributions to this special gift honoring Gene! Warmly, Heidi, Mike and Lande
4: Dearest Gene, You will celebrate your 29 of year because it was then I meet You! You have always been the same! We have spoken over the years about everything and you are the same! Here is a haiku from a book I've got from You. Such a fine first dream...but they laughed at me...they said I had made it up. I dreamed that you were here and that we really were seeing each other! I love you, love you, love you! Happy birthday! My sister! Siv
5: Dear Gene, What a wonderful occasion on this special birthday for a little nostalgia, to reminisce a little and to tell you directly why I’ve thought of you as a very special friend for all these years. My first “glimpse” of you was through Marina, my fellow foreign student, whom I’ve met at the International Center at Stanford in 1966. Marina talked about this wonderful young woman, Gene, who welcomed her at Stanford, when she arrived from Lebanon, as a graduate exchange student from the American University of Beirut. She described a friendly and energetic recent Stanford graduate, who volunteered, I think through the Cap and Gown Society, to help foreign exchange students with integration into Stanford life. I remember Marina telling me that you invited her to your her parent’s home and how warmly she was received there. She always talked about your mother. I am not sure if you knew from the beginning that the student you chose was also half Palestinian, born in Haifa, but I know for sure that that did not stop you from welcoming Marina with open arms. Later, after I got to know you much better I suspected you might have been seeking out a person with such a background, because that’s who you are. When Marina introduced me to you, I knew from the beginning that I also would be the recipient of your warm friendship. You were very supportive in our (somewhat unconventional) wish to marry, as we were struggling to explain ourselves to our families far away, as to why the two of us, coming from such different cultures, but with so much in common, would succeed even at the time of a rather complex Middle East situation after the 1967 war. So it was very natural that you were a witness at our marriage ceremony. And of course you thought of organizing our wedding reception at the International Center, since we had no families here, and were too oblivious to think of anything practical. Later, after graduation, when we settled here, you always kept in touch with us. On the occasions we visited your home, I remember you warmth and generosity towards our children. Marek was the happy beneficiary of a metal fire truck with and the original, wooden “little people”; I still have those toys stored away. Don’t know if Michael and Heidi wanted to part with them then, but you gave them to Marek anyway. When you moved far away you still kept in touch by phone and visited during you trips to the Bay Area. When our misfortune happened, and Marina was hospitalized, you were one of the first to visit her. I still keep the silk flower arrangement you brought for her. And now, you always think of calling me when you visit Heidi, and you make sure that we all get together. Best wishes on your birthday and many happy returns. Thank you Gene for your friendship. You are a real mentsch. Love and kisses, Janusz
7: The phone call I received years ago introducing me to Gene Wollenberg in California was the beginning of a relationship which has blessed my life. It was the invitation to be her interior designer in the project to remodel the Rouzer ranchhouse which she had purchased near Dean, Texas. From the first it was a pleasure. She was a client who knew what she wanted, understood phoned descriptions perfectly, and became a joy to be with each time she visited the house. That experience grew into a lasting friendship. I have ridden with Heidi as she crossed country on a bicycle, rejoiced with Gene when Heidi married Steve, hurt with Gene when she had physical illnesses or injuries, enjoyed watching her ride in cutting horse competitions, thrilled to the news of Daryn's birth, laughed at hearing Daryn's latest pronouncements, loved hearing about the wedding of Michael and Lei, and so many other occasions of sharing life events through the years I have known her. My husband, Ben shares my feeling of close friendship with Gene. We always enjoy having the opportunity to visit. She is a person of intellect, always interesting, full of compassion and integrity. She has endured a great deal of pain without complaint. Genie, you are a treasured friend. Happy, happy birthday. With love, Ann
8: To my favorite aunt and horsewoman idol. Much love, Jenny It's just the cowgirl way by Sue Bartlett A cowgirl doesn't need to know celebrity fads or designer trends she doesn't catch up with the latest gossip, while sipping cappuccino with her friends There is no thought of aerobic classes or going to the gym cause she makes every minute of daylight count, while working on her dream .......it's just the cowgirl way Manicures and facials are unheard of, when mustering has to be done Dinner parties are put on hold, cause the rodeo is on She's chasing points for the title and she wont quit until she sees the silver buckle sitting on her belt, all worth the miles and entry fees ........it's just the cowgirl way A cowgirl is not afraid of hard work, she doesn't cry over little things like praying for rain when it doesn't come, it's just one more broken string. But she doesn't lay in bed till noon, wallowing in regret she's up again at the break of day, there surely isn't time to fret .......it's just the cowgirl way.
9: Cause the poddys need branding and the cattle need dipping the yearlings need training and the crops need tending. The troughs need cleaning and the fences need fixing If there's time she'll be baking, between the chores that are waiting Each day just surviving she's gotta keep on trying. ........it's just the cowgirl way And at night just before she closes her eyes, she says a little prayer to thank God that she's living on the land and not in the city somewhere And as her aching body settles down on the sheets and she reflects on the day that has been, she slowly but surely drifts off to a place, where her goals are already seen. ..it's just the cowgirl way. A cowgirl knows that someday soon, that payday will arrive, but she'll put the money back in the farm, just to keep her dreams alive. All the heartache, sweat and calloused hands, will be looked upon with pride, she'll pull on her favorite boots and jeans, and find peace by going for a ride. ..........it's just the cowgirl way.
10: All things grow better with love.
13: To the horse lady, What can I say about Gene that has not probably already been said. She is a very special person in so many ways. She is dedicated to any cause she deems worthwhile and so supportive of anyone or organization she is involved with. It has been my honor and pleasure to work with Gene professionally and as a friend for these last several years. She is a wonderful person and a fine lady who values her family and friends. There is no question she has made a difference in the many peoples' lives she has touched. She is such an uplifting person to be around (could it be we think a lot alike and read some of the same books). It is my wish to you that you have a wonderful birthday followed by many, many more. Although you may be past breaking those new colts, there is still a lot that needs doing and I would like to be along for the ride. Best wishes and happy birthday! Your friend, Glenn
14: What I love about Gene Your grit! Your courage and positive attitude. Your intellectual curiosity. How beautifully you ride a horse. What fun it is to be in your company. Gene, you have been an inspiration to me since I first met you at Dick's. I have loved our conversations, and sharing some somewhat similar experiences on things other than "horse stuff" has been very meaningful and helpful to me. Thank you for being a friend. I feel so privileged to know you and to get to wish you the happiest of 75th birthdays! You truly are amazing. Love, Lynn
15: Best Birthday Wishes from Barb
18: Gene -- Can you believe we've hit the big 75? I remember, not so long ago, when we were two little girls living side by side, dreaming of what our futures would hold. Sea Cliff will always hold such wonderful memories as I think back to the days when you and Howdy, and Nina and I played along the beach. I wish you joy and peace and the knowledge that you have lived a life well done. Much love to you on this, your 75th birthday, and in all the days to come. Your childhood friend, Vicki Shill McConnell
20: Genie, There is just no way that we can recount all of the many special moments we have spent with you! Since you got yourself to Texas, (where your heart knew you should be), we've had a relationship that actually defies description. Who else could understand how we've loved, fussed, cheered for, feared for, aggravated, irritated, comforted, laughed with and at each other, and rejoiced with in both big and small victories? Our lives have been intertwined since day one of your "texas " life, and we truly have been through thick and thin together, and made it!! Your grit and determination have inspired us many times, and as Dick says,...you are one tough old gal! We love you and wish you a happy and memorable 75th birthday. Pam and Dick
21: GENE Generous, Encouraging, Noble, Enthusiastic. Thank you for being there for me and assisting in making my transition from Australia to the Gaines Ranch a smooth one. Your smile, kindness and your support truly helped me to find my feet in Texas. Your wonderful mare “Sugar” taught me a great deal about cutting. She also helped little miss Aubrey learn to ride and showed her how special a good horse truly is. Thank you for sharing her with us! You’re a good hearted, strong woman, Gene, and I admire you. Wishing you an extra special and wonderful birthday and missing you greatly!! Lots of love and warm wishes, -Sarah Walsh
25: Dear Genie: Happy Birthday! You have finally caught up. I was going to say I have so many fond memories of my oldest and dearest friend. However, that is not politically correct and we are not old. I mean one of my long time friends. Besides you are the youngest of us all. However the dearest still stands. We spent so many many years together at Burke's and Stanford, it is hard to pick out any one memory. It was always very special spending the night at your house - first in Sea Cliff and later in Woodside. The first years spent with our love of horses, trading cards, and collecting pictures and statues of horses as well as riding bikes and roller skating and playing jacks; riding the bus back and forth to playfield (remember Pete our bus driver?); From there we concentrated on Edys, Blums, and boys. (Perhaps not in that order). Then at Stanford we took the boys a little more seriously and perhaps the education. It is hard to believe we had a curfew and many rules to follow. But they really did work to our advantage. Remember the year we shared a room with Sharon at Union in our Junior year? Also many more nights at your home in Woodside. From there it was sharinng the experience of being bridesmaids in wedding after wedding including each other's. We were so lucky to grow up in that era, and I feel very blessed to have you as a good friend. Love, Patsy P.S. Miss Brown always said I wrote like a "bad Latin translation". Things never change and neither do good friendships. | Burke's Class of '53 50th Reunion
27: I was nine years old when I met you Gene. You seemed every inch the sophisticated city lady. I remember one particular evening school event at Northwood Elementary (a music concert perhaps?) when I looked up at the audience and you were there in the front row and I thought, "Heidi has the prettiest and best dressed mom". And then there was the horsewoman and I believe it was on a tag along to the stable in Napa where I saw a newly born foal. There were silly moments when Heidi and I were young and we danced around the room in the Young Ave. house to Neil Diamond (my parents didn't listen to such modern music!) and there was a summer night after a party at the pool where a thunderstorm got us out of the water and you suggested I could spend the night and so the excitement of the evening didn't have to come to an end just then. I always thought you were a fun mom, you laughed often and easily. And I remember you always being on the phone! Your house on Rigdon was always the first stop on the way home from school for a snack and a homework session. Then you took my best friend and moved her to the city. Back in those days (before the internet, e-mails, facebook, cell phones and texting) Heidi and I kept in touch through letters and the occasional phone call. I don't think I have ever thanked you for helping to keep our friendship alive and fresh with the visits you made possible by driving me to spend time at the Commonwealth Ave. house (lucky for me that you still had horses in Napa!). So thank you for making two girls happy that they got to visit each other and letting two grown women continue to treasure an important friendship that you helped keep current. Through the years visiting with Heidi when she lived with you I always felt welcome in your home, you always seemed to take an interest in how I was and I have tried to model myself after you with my kids' friends. I want them to feel as welcome in my home as I always felt in yours. I remember a rainy afternoon when I spontaneously stopped by your place in Mill Valley hoping to catch Heidi. Heidi wasn't there but you and I sat and talked at length and it was very enjoyable---this is still a very fond memory of mine, and though surely you had something else planned for your afternoon, you made me feel like you had all the time in the world. So I want to wish a very special lady a very happy 75th birthday. I look forward to hearing your laugh and seeing your smile on our next visit. Love, Christine
28: HAPPY | Ella | Delia | Renee | Addie
29: Betty & BethAnn | Krystal, Zach & Roger | Dottie | Kelei | Ann & Nancy
30: Gigi, Words are inadequate to express all you have meant in my life. During the tumultuous years of high school you were all the stability and security I needed, and you've been the true north in my life at so many critical moments. So in celebration of your 75th birthday, I want to not only tell you how much I love you, but how much I appreciate you. Thank you for all you have done for me when there was no need to except for your unsurpassed generosity of spirit. Thank you for giving of yourself because, as Khalil Gibran says, "It is when you give of yourself that you truly give." Thank you for just being you, and gracing this earth with your presence. We all love you so very much. Happy 75th birthday! Love, Lande, David, Christopher, Allie and Drew
31: I have traveled the world. I have experienced great love. I've had incredible career success. However, few things have given me as much joy as being the FAVORITE daughter of Genie In The Blue Chair! Dearest GITBC- My birthday wish for you is that you will feel the immense love you put out in the world shining right back on you. Happy Happy Birthday and many many more! Love, Dak.
32: John F. Sampson’s Memories of times with Genie I was delighted today to get a call from the only Heidi I had ever heard of, other than some one of Sunny Brook Farm. The Heidi I knew of was the daughter of my childhood friend, Genie Elkus, also a distant cousin by marriage. The only time I remember seeing Heidi was when I was visiting Genie and her mother and father at their place in Woodside. Heidi was probably two or three years old then. Also on that occasion, Billie’s mother (as I recall a former opera singer whose name I forget) was also visiting. I was then somewhat of an amateur portrait photographer of friends’ children and at some point all four generations were standing outside the house in a beautiful setting and I got one of my most favorite family photos of Genie holding Heidi, with Billie and her mother gathered under the shade of a tree. I would give anything to be able to find my copy of that 45 year old photo now for Genie to have again as a 75th birthday present. I’ll look in my 50 year old darkroom. Genie and I grew up about three blocks apart in Sea Cliff in the City. Our families were closest of friends and for several years from about 1946, the Gene Elkus and the John J. Sampson families along with other of my aunts and uncles & cousins spent the Christmas holiday week together at Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley. Some years Howdy and I would share a hotel room (I have a recollection that he used to make noises with his mouth then) and my sisters, Janet and Debby, would share a room with Genie. All our families would take early morning horseback breakfast rides or day hikes into Golden Canyon and spend some days in the warm swimming pool or chasing through the tropical garden. And in the evenings after dinner in the formal dining room with the same old lady waitresses from year to year, we would slide our shoes across the carpeted lobby of the hotel and then touch the back of the neck of an unsuspecting friend, giving an electrostatic spark of shock.
33: John F. Sampson’s Memories of times with Genie I was delighted today to get a call from the only Heidi I had ever heard of, other than some one of Sunny Brook Farm. The Heidi I knew of was the daughter of my childhood friend, Genie Elkus, also a distant cousin by marriage. The only time I remember seeing Heidi was when I was visiting Genie and her mother and father at their place in Woodside. Heidi was probably two or three years old then. Also on that occasion, Billie’s mother (as I recall a former opera singer whose name I forget) was also visiting. I was then somewhat of an amateur portrait photographer of friends’ children and at some point all four generations were standing outside the house in a beautiful setting and I got one of my most favorite family photos of Genie holding Heidi, with Billie and her mother gathered under the shade of a tree. I would give anything to be able to find my copy of that 45 year old photo now for Genie to have again as a 75th birthday present. I’ll look in my 50 year old darkroom. Genie and I grew up about three blocks apart in Sea Cliff in the City. Our families were closest of friends and for several years from about 1946, the Gene Elkus and the John J. Sampson families along with other of my aunts and uncles & cousins spent the Christmas holiday week together at Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley. Some years Howdy and I would share a hotel room (I have a recollection that he used to make noises with his mouth then) and my sisters, Janet and Debby, would share a room with Genie. All our families would take early morning horseback breakfast rides or day hikes into Golden Canyon and spend some days in the warm swimming pool or chasing through the tropical garden. And in the evenings after dinner in the formal dining room with the same old lady waitresses from year to year, we would slide our shoes across the carpeted lobby of the hotel and then touch the back of the neck of an unsuspecting friend, giving an electrostatic spark of shock. | We also had adventures when we would make a caravan of family cars and go on Death Valley explorations. My father and Uncle Fritzie (my mother’s brother) usually had big Buicks and Gene of course had a fish tail Caddy (to digress, that was one of the Sea Cliff cars that I used to wash and wax “for a living”). I recall a couple of times we drove off the paved roads for miles, once to successfully dig for geodes. And another time, we car caravanned into the very deep and narrow Titus Canyon where one of the cars got stuck in the bottom and we all had to push it out of the soft sand. We also drove to the middle of the Valley to the small mountains of sand dunes and ran up and rolled down long hills of sand, then went back to the hotel pool, refilled every night with the warm water from Furnace Creek. We had such fun and a great New Year’s eve party to cap off the week where we watched our parents get quite champagne happy. There are many wonderful memories from the times when Genie was at Burkes and I at Town School. Genie, with Brad, their quite large black and white English setter, and I, with Sandy, our quite short legged, red wavy haired cocker spaniel, would take long walks after school along Baker’s Beach. I should add that Genie would be wearing a navy and white middy blouse and collar and a pleated skirt, the Burkes uniform, and as best as I can remember, I would have been wearing corduroy pants and a plaid Pendelton shirt my consistent outfit. I have not the slightest recollection of what we talked about on our beach dog walks, but the memory of those walks brings back a wonderful sense of joy and peacefulness. That is, except the time Brad came running down the last block of Sea Cliff Avenue toward the China Beach end where Genie lived and knocked over a neighbor on the sidewalk. (turn page for more!)
34: John F. Sampson’s Memories of times with Genie (continued)... Other memories are not quite so clear over 60 years later, but I do recall the occasional parties given by Burkes girls families, particularly one or more at her classmate Kathy Norris’s grandmother’s estate in the hills above Saratoga. The grandmother was the author, Kathleen Norris. Something rings a bell that the wooded environment enticed some of the more precocious couples into secluded spots for making out –a term that one no longer hears much. A midlife Genie connection was also fortuitous. In 1968 I became an officer of the court when I was appointed a State Inheritance Tax Referee and set up my office with another referee, Buddy Wollenberg. Buddy and I knew each other but were not close to prior to this association, though his family and mine were close friends. Not long after our joint office endeavor, Buddy was appointed to the bench and about that time, Buddy and Genie married and moved to Commonwealth Avenue about two blocks from my home. That provided more opportunities for us to see each other –but by then we were both busy at work, with family and other good deeds. One of those deeds was Genie’s activity in support of the local American Field Service (AFS) program that sponsors students coming from abroad to become a member of local families for a year. Therefore, Genie was the motivator that brought a special experience to my family’s life that, at the time, we hardly could have contemplated its longevity. Genie got us involved and we ended up with a French AFS daughter, Anne Sublet, who joined two of our kids at University High School for John, Jr’s. senior year in about 1984. Spreading the experience, my daughter, Juliet, then became an AFS student in South Africa for 3 summer months. Yet, the relationship between our kids and Anne has endured and she and her husband and three boys are part of our extended family and have visited us twice and I, my ex, Louise, and my kids visit her near Grenoble every year or so in their travels. We have Genie to thank for this special relationship that has grown over the years.
35: John F. Sampson’s Memories of times with Genie I was delighted today to get a call from the only Heidi I had ever heard of, other than some one of Sunny Brook Farm. The Heidi I knew of was the daughter of my childhood friend, Genie Elkus, also a distant cousin by marriage. The only time I remember seeing Heidi was when I was visiting Genie and her mother and father at their place in Woodside. Heidi was probably two or three years old then. Also on that occasion, Billie’s mother (as I recall a former opera singer whose name I forget) was also visiting. I was then somewhat of an amateur portrait photographer of friends’ children and at some point all four generations were standing outside the house in a beautiful setting and I got one of my most favorite family photos of Genie holding Heidi, with Billie and her mother gathered under the shade of a tree. I would give anything to be able to find my copy of that 45 year old photo now for Genie to have again as a 75th birthday present. I’ll look in my 50 year old darkroom. Genie and I grew up about three blocks apart in Sea Cliff in the City. Our families were closest of friends and for several years from about 1946, the Gene Elkus and the John J. Sampson families along with other of my aunts and uncles & cousins spent the Christmas holiday week together at Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley. Some years Howdy and I would share a hotel room (I have a recollection that he used to make noises with his mouth then) and my sisters, Janet and Debby, would share a room with Genie. All our families would take early morning horseback breakfast rides or day hikes into Golden Canyon and spend some days in the warm swimming pool or chasing through the tropical garden. And in the evenings after dinner in the formal dining room with the same old lady waitresses from year to year, we would slide our shoes across the carpeted lobby of the hotel and then touch the back of the neck of an unsuspecting friend, giving an electrostatic spark of shock. | As you read this, Genie, know that I do miss you and regret not having seen you since we had a wonderful long talk at Elizabeth Elkus’ memorial service, maybe 10 years ago. I asked for your phone number from Lorna when visiting Janet in Waban in May, but have been most negligent not to follow up and call. I will do that, but don’t want to spoil the surprise by coming out of the blue before you receive your scrapbook present. I told Heidi that you may not come to visit the Bay Area without letting me know so that we can arrange a get together. And, I would love to meet that now adult 3 year old with her own 5 year old who was so charming and cordial in our phone call this evening asking me to contribute some of our past. It has been a stretch of my memory but such a pleasant one. I wish you well and many more happy birthdays. John F. Sampson
36: MEMORIES WOODSIDE POOL TIME STANFORD FROSH SPONSORS CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS FOR HEIDI AND MICHAEL UNEXPECTED GUEST WHO DROPPED IN FOR A MONTH WITH BILLIE AND GENE-1960 1983: DORCAS ANN FLEW IN FROM CT AND DORCAS FLEW IN FROM JAPAN AND WE STAYED WITH BILLIE AND GENE IN ATHERTON WHILE GENIE AND I WENT TO OUR 25TH 1980S : A VISIT TO TEXAS. GENIE BOUGHT A NEW DOG FROM SOME CREEP!!!!!!!!!!! 40th and 45th REUNIONS HEIDI AND STEVE’S WEDDING IN SONOMA 55 YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP MANY PHONE CALLS NO PHOTOS (I HAVE TOTALLED MY HOUSE TRYING TO FIND SOME). WE WERE OBVIOUSLY NOT OF THE DIGITAL ERA!! HAPPY 75TH AND MANY MORE (I THOUGHT YOU WERE OLDER THAN I!!!!!!!!!!!!) Dorcas
38: Happy, happy, happy birthday Genie! There are so many wonderful memories all four of us have of you, so, where do I start? My own personal first memory of you of course, was at the Gaines Ranch. WOW! I had NEVER seen any woman ride and show a cutting horse like you did, it was probably the first time the thought ever crossed my mind "this lady is good" about anyone! With you knowing how little I knew/know about horses and cutting, you know that I was impressed because I did notice. My most happy memories are of you and our kids, Ty & "Mikey" and all the kindness you showed to them, we all grew close and Mike, the kids and I immediately had another member in our family. You would come to our house for dinner, we would go to yours and on occasion Mike & I would come over, we would play table games, listen to Neil Diamond and drink wine! Always having a relaxing, fun time when we were together. I too remember the first time "Skeeter" (I hope that is the correct name of the dog you had when you moved to Texas) stayed with the kids and I while you, Mike & Dick were gone to a show - when you came to pick him up, he just wasn't going to go with you! We got such a laugh out of that! He just sat on my couch and dared you to pick him up, we gave you a hard time about that for a while! Remember how he would try to bite our ankles if we were at your house and moved too fast! We all remember the Christmas that you and Heidi came over on Christmas morning for our traditional pancake breakfast and how much fun that was - just because you and Heidi were with us! The wrapping paper was everywhere, new toys and electronics to see and a simple breakfast shared together! Genie, I could fill pages of papers full of so many wonderful memories and silly things and ways you have touched the four of our lives and the kindness you have shown us throughout the years and the love we all have for each other, you were like a mother to Mike, a mentor to all of us and just one of those people that make a person's life better just because you are there. Even though the miles between us are long, we always smile and think fondly of you just at the mere mention of your name. I hope your day is wonderful and full of laughter! We love you and miss you! Mike, Connie, Ty & "Mikey" Chambers
39: TO ONE OF MY “OLDEST AND DEAREST FRIENDS” GENE FROM ONE OF HER “OLDEST AND DEAREST FRIENDS” BETSY Where does the time go? To think that the two of us were both born seventy-five years ago. Though distance has separated us for many years, you still have and always will fill a warm spot in my heart When the time comes that we meet up again, we can be any age we want! We can revert back to teens or even college, but never feel our age! I look forward to the day that we see each other again and catch up on each other's lives and families. May it not be too far away. In the meantime, I wish you a very special number 75 and many more to come. I SEND YOU LOTS OF LOVE AND HUGS BETSY FLETCHER GLIKBARG
40: A great parent, a good parent, an average parent. Who makes the call? Isn't it subjective? Could we say that the success of parenting is based upon the outcome of the children? Not necessarily. Good kids come can come out of bad parents and bad kids can come out of good parents. What matters is the relationship. Real love only develops when two people share good times and bad times alike. In the end, does the relationship survive, and more importantly, does it mature? In our case, yes. Nothing else matters. Michael
41: My memories of the first time I met Genie: I came down with Mike for Christmas 1987 and I was a little apprehensive about meeting everyone. It was also my first Christmas away from my family. When I met Genie, my first feeling was that she was more like a friend than a Mom. She was very comfortable to talk with and made me feel at ease. Another great time was when Mike and I were getting ready for our wedding and she told Mike that he couldn’t back out, but I could up until I said “I do”. I thought that was pretty cool! Genie is a one in a million wonderful person. Lei
43: Dearest Gene, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I am so glad we have reconnected over the past years. You are so special and important to this family, to me. You have really taught me what it is like to know where and who I come from. You have made me proud again to be an Elkus, and just in time to change my name :)! Christmas has been a whole new experience since we have had you here in California. Having you over and being all together is just priceless, it's magical! Having you at my wedding was the biggest gift. Thank you Gene, for being you, and for being in all of our lives. I love you tons, and hope this is the most fabulous birthday to date! xoxo Lisa
44: Yee-haw! Happy Birthday, GiGi! Be-bo Be-bo Be-bo! Love, Daryn
46: Dear Genie- Happy Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day and wish I could be there to give you a hug in person. I think there must be a mistake in calculation, as it seems to me that you are about thirty years younger than the calendar indicates. You are so vibrant and passionate about life and the people in your life, that it often seems that you are becoming younger with time rather than older. We could all learn a lot from your approach to living! Genie, I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have you in my life. While our family history involves complicated dynamics and unfortunate rifts in relationships, you stand for everything good and positive. You have made me feel as though we have a foundation and roots on the Elkus side, about which I am proud. You are truly unlike anyone else I know. Your humor, acceptance, wit and positivity are unmatched, and you make me, and everyone with whom you relate, feel as though what I (we) have to say is important and interesting (even when it’s not!). Whether I was telling you about a ballet recital as a child or about my own child as an adult, you have always listened carefully, showed great enthusiasm and support, and reflected love and understanding. The fact that you made it all the way to Washington for my wedding despite excruciating back pain and a mass of horses to care for meant more to me than I can express. Thank you, for this and everything. Thank you for spending time with us during the crazy holidays and for putting up with my dad’s ridiculous humor and my mediocre cooking. Thank you for making me laugh. These are memories that I will cherish always. I also want to thank you for all that you do for my dad, and for being so involved in his life. I know that he views you more as a sister than a cousin, and absolutely adores you, as we all do. You have been there for him in a way that no one else has, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Genie, you are an incredible lady, one that I deeply admire. You mean the world to me and my family, and we feel blessed and lucky to have you in our lives. Please know how much we appreciate and adore you. Sending you much love on this special day, and a giant hug. Xox Jenny (Franc and Charlotte, too!!)
48: Genie, I have been trying to winnow down memories from so many years. It is hard to realize how long it has been since you extended a steadying hand to me at my very first show. I still remember clearly going to the office at the VCHA show at Glenn Drake’s to pay my entries. I was pretty shaky and scared to death, a condition which you seemed to spot immediately. In your usual kind manner, you reached out. I don’t remember exactly what you said but I remember that whatever it was, I left feeling a lot more ready to face my first foray into a cutting show pen. More to the point, it was the beginning of a friendship that has been so valuable and rewarding for me. Do you remember the show at Carson City when your bridle came un-screwed in the middle of a great run on Peponitas Gold? I still remember all of us yelling at you to go on – only Luke Bakey realized that Peppy was in danger of tangling in the headstall and falling and got you to pull up. So many memories: The evenings spent in your kitchen at the ranch just talking. The day you turned down rice pudding at the Byer’s Café so that you would not hold Dick up (even though we were both drooling at the thought of their home made rice pudding) only to have Dick lean back and order another cup of coffee – almost leaving you with your mouth hanging open. (I always have said that he should pay you for being such a good “straight woman” for him.) Most of all, as I wish you a happy 75th with many happy returns of the day, I want to thank you for being my friend. Love, Nina
49: What I love about Gene... More than a dozen years ago, I can remember the first time I met Gene and when my friendship with her immediately began. I recall watching her show a cutting horse up in Wichita Falls, Texas, and wow could she ride a horse, despite her big Zack T Wood bred horse outweighing her by 1200 pounds. I don’t remember her score or even how well she did that day, but I remember the absolute huge smile on her face and the look of total happiness with the world when she rode out of the herd. Her score didn’t matter that day, as she had the most fun I’ve ever seen anyone have on the back of a horse. Every time since when I have seen Gene, I have been lucky to see this exact same huge smile and happiness, whether it is horseback at a cutting horse event, whether it is in the wee hours of the night after she has been helping to secretary a cutting horse event, or whether she is watching one of her horses and trainers compete. I have been blessed to not only be Gene’s friend and cutting horse confidant, but have been fortunate to work with her professionally with her family investments for a good while as well. Just as she has always been a smart, successful, and confident horsewoman in the years I have known her, she has been the same as an investor. For over ten years now, through good markets and bad, Gene has remained the same optimistic kind-hearted person she was when I first met her. Just as I have learned a lot about horses from her, I have learned even more about investments from her, as she has proven herself to be a very savvy investor and she has a unique ability to remain calm during times of panic, and also to remain conservative during times of excess. Whether it comes to talking about investments, horses, politics, or world affairs, Gene has a great understanding of how the world works and she has a lot of great insights that thankfully she has shared with me. Most impressive though, is her ability to shift gears from being a great horsewoman, savvy investor, and good friend, to absolutely just sparkling and glowing when she starts talking about kids, whether they be her own grandkids or even my own sons. Gene’s combination of having a kind, gentle heart and business shrewdness is something amazing and is one of the “many things I love about Gene.” Happy Birthday my dear friend and thanks for being in my life. Chad Bushaw
50: DEAR GENIE MAY: AFTER HEIDI CALLED ABOUT YOUR "SPECIAL" BIRTHDAY GIFT IT WAS SUCH FUN TO WALK DOWN "MEMORY LANE " AND REFLECT ON OUR YOUNGER YEARS AND ALL THE FUN WE HAD!!! DO YOU REMEMBER??? SUN BATHING DURING LUNCH TO PERFECT OUR "OIL AND VINEGAR" TAN??? "PANSY DAY" & DAISY CHAINS???? 8TH GRADE GRADUATION AND CELEBRATING AFTER AT A DANCE AT MURIEL'S HOUSE WEARING OUR FIRST FORMAL??? YOUR FIRST KISS??? SLUMBER PARTIES COMPLETE WITH YEAST FACIALS??? BLUM'S COFFEE CRUNCH CAKE???? GETTING YOUR BLOCK B??? MISS BROWN---YOUR FRIEND AND MY ENEMY!! BLUE BOOKS??? SPECIAL AWARDS AT THE END OF THE YEAR---MINE WAS USUALLY FOR PERFECT ATTENDANCE!!! YOUR OUTSTANDING YEAR BOOK---THE BEST EVER??? "BABY DAY" FOLLOWED BY A SWIMMING PARTY AT YOUR HOUSE IN WOODSIDE??? GRADUATION IN OUR LOVELY WHITE GOWNS AND HAVING MISS BARBARA TOAST US ALL WITH A GLASS OF CHAMPAGNE AT OUR GRADUATION DANCE AT 3065 JACKSON!!!!--FOLLOWED BY A PARTY AT HELEN'S WITH MINI BURGERS AND HOT DOGS; THEN A BREAKFAST PARTY AT CECI'S FOLLOWED BY ANOTHER SWIMMING PARTY IN WOODSIDE AT CHEZ ELKUS??-----WOW!!! WHAT ENERGY!!! TRULY AN "'ALL NIGHTER" !!!!! A FEW SPECIAL MEMORIES TO ME!!! YOU AND I TALKING ALL NIGHT AND WITH 'GREAT WISDOM" SOLVED ALL THE PROBLEMS OF THE WORLD----WOW!!! DO THEY NEED US NOW!!! ME ASKING YOU TO BE PETER'S GODMOTHER!!! THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TOLD ME THAT I NEEDED TWO CHRISTIANS AS GOD PARENTS BUT MADE A QUICK CHANGE WHEN YOUR DAD AND MY PRIEST DISCOVERED THAT THEY BELONGED TO THE SAME DUCK CLUB!!! VOILA!!! YOU WERE A GREAT GODMOTHER----YOU EVEN HAD A ST. CHRISTOPHER' MEDAL BLESSED BY THE POPE FOR PETER!!!! A TOAST TO WONDERFUL YEARS WITH LOTS OF GREAT MEMORIES AND MANY BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIPS!!! GENIE MAY----YOU WILL ALWAYS BE MY FRIEND EVEN IF YOU'RE HIDING IN TEXAS----BECAUSE MEMORIES OF "THINGS PAST" ARE ALWAYS VERY SPECIAL!! HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAY WISHES TO YOU, MY DEAR FRIEND!!!! ---CAN YOU BELIEVE WE ARE REALLY 75???? COME SEE ME WHEN YOU VISIT YOUR DARLING HEIDI !!!! MUCH LOVE!!!! MARGOT
51: To one of my dearest friends on her birthday, I wish you warmest wishes on your special day. You have been one of my closest friends for a lot of years, you and I have had a lot of fun together. Many an evening, we have closed down the restaurant--talking candidly about our lives. No one else in my life fills the same spot in my heart as you do -dear friend. I'm hoping that this Birthday is a fun filled day and includes many special family members and a great deal of laughter and good times. ---and dessert, at least share some with somebody!!! As I have thought about what I wanted to write in your special book--I wanted to remember a really special time that you and I have shared. Course-we will never forget the night and day we spent at the Graham Inn--where we both endured the flu. But a better memory is the time that you and I went to Ardmore for the preworks and met Bill Brown in the lounge and he and you were dancing the night away. What a great night! Gene E--you are my very special friend--Happy Birthday!! Love you always, Donna Bachand
52: To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. Ralph Waldo Emerson
53: Mom, This quote by Emerson has always been one of my favorites. I think it absolutely applies to you. I hope that through these pages of heartfelt sentiments from friends and family near and far, you realize how special you are to so many, many people and how many lives you have touched in profound ways. You exemplify what it means to be a: - mom, by having always provided us with unconditional love - friend, through your loyal and long-lasting friendships - giver, through your compassion to others and your contributions to your family and community - strong woman, with your courage to face and overcome physical and emotional obstacles - dreamer, showing us that it's never too late to fulfill your dreams. Happy 75th birthday, Mom. You are an amazing woman and we are so blessed to have you in our lives! We love you, Heidi, Steve & Daryn