S: Tom Castles Photography - 2012
BC: Happy 80th Birthday Mom! | with love, | Tom
FC: Claire Elizabeth Grace Lough Rusnak | Claire's 80th Birthday
1: 80 years young | January, 2012 Old Bridge, NJ | A birthday celebration at
2: Claire Elizabeth has turned 80 years old But just look at her beauty, what a sight to behold She's been through a lot in 8 decades of life She's been a good mother, good Grammy, good wife. So let's take a look at why we're all in this room And say thank you to Claire, and George Steven, her groom Now before I get started, let's make something clear, I did this for Grandfather in his 80th year But as we all know, when it comes to Ms. Claire There is nothing more sacred than keeping everything fair So, now after waiting, Grammy, its time Now it's your turn for your own little rhyme. Born to Grace and Ed Lough, my Nana and Pop As a daughter, she surely was cream of the crop And although they're not here, they'd clearly be proud Of their little Claire, yes, they'd sing it out loud Cause this only child, she made many friends Who've been there through all the twists, turns and bends Those friendships are testament to her kindness of heart And a generosity of spirit of which she's created an art. At least... that's what her friends say, and we thing that's alright But let's ask her family to shed a little more light After all, we should talk about those she's created Cause yes, all of us here, we're all related. So what was she like as a mom in the past? Before all those grandkids started coming so fast. Well I heard a story that she once raised her voice, When her three girls would fight, Susan, Janet and Joyce. And that was just the beginning, just wait ‘til her son By that time the girls had sucked out the fun So one day she said to George, “I’m at my wits-end!” “Don’t come back to this house without finding a friend!”
4: I’m not sure if that worked, but just look at us here She did a good job, we all make that clear. Plus, in all seriousness, we think you’re great And as a grandmother, even better, says this one of the 8. So yes, here it comes, now it’s our turn Here are some lessons your grandkids have learned. | Grammy taught us it’s important to scratch someone’s back And helped us read stories to keep us on track Good Dog Carl, Hurry Up Jessie and Be Nice to Spiders She’d read with us snuggled and cuddled beside her | In that comfy couch corner you all know just where While Grandfather taped movies from his throne of a chair There’d be nightly performances on the fireplace stage Who knew that those Freckled-Frogs would get better with age? .
5: And of course for each song, we all looked just grand Thanks to you, we had clothes that were carefully planned Pink and purple plastic heels and a fur boa to boot White fancy gloves, we had our own fashion shoot. And if you asked us, we’d say we were famous But looking back now, we looked a little bit heinous.
6: And as we got older, we made sure we were pretty When we all took the bus and trekked into the city To see that year’s best show, the critically acclaimed The Lion King and Wicked, among other names Cause while Grandfather had us watch old movie classics You wanted us to know some nicer demographics. So thank you for that, I’m now cultured much more So what’s next you might ask? Well, of course, it’s the shore! Now kids, say it with me if you happen to know Grammy’s only rule on the beach, let’s say it real slow “Never turn your back on the ocean,” she’d say And we made sure we didn’t or we’d learn the hard way And I’m sure us older grandkids can all tell you the trick To find the right beach if you’re lost, and it’s slick “Just look for the house with the seagulls,” she said. “You’ll be totally fine if you just keep your head.” Granted now, times all change and that house isn’t there But that beach, it still is and that calm ocean air. And the memories we have, they’ll never go I really wish some of those old pictures would, though The ones where you look and all that you see Is a whole bunch of grandkids in the same exact 'T' So after the pictures, the sun would come down And then we’d play games, oh we’d go to town It started with card games, man, those were great Kings in the Corner and of course Crazy 8s. But now we’ve moved on, we don’t need that Cause we have Catch Phrase, Bananagrams and Skat.
7: George, Shannon and Sam have all seen the way Your competitive edge comes out when you play But in this generation “Hit the road, Jack” Doesn’t mean “I no Jack” Thomas is getting some flack Instead it means someone is out a whole dollar And if it’s you, we’ll hear everyone holler. And speaking of yelling, Catch Phrase is a nice change During Christmas and Thanksgiving, and it’s quite a range From Shannon to Grandfather, everyone can play It makes for an interesting end to the day.
9: Now, I mentioned the holidays, and let me just note I know that Grammy is not the type who would gloat But Christmas is something that she’s always done right Even if last year a snow storm made us all spend the night You can’t cancel Christmas, no, don’t you dare! That blizzard was no match for the wrath of Ms. Claire. That night she laid down with a blanket so small Counting people, not sheep, and she fit them all! She did it, I tell you, mother nature, retreat! 16 people, one night, now that’s quite a feat! And although this year’s Christmas was not quite so tight With everyone there, it all felt just right Cause family is really my grandmother’s passion Much more than Godiva, General Hospital or fashion
10: Now I’m starting to say some things that are sappy Which means we’re winding down, I hope you’re all happy You’ve taught us a lot as you can see from this poem You’ve built a family of many from a warm, loving home All of us here are amazed by your life Your success as a mother, grandmother and wife. You are thoughtful and happy and especially kind And many more positive words come to mind So in the interest of keeping everything fair I’m going to pull a last-minute Claire This last little line is something you’ve heard But I want you to know that we mean every word...
11: I’'m speaking for all of us because we all feel the same here Grammy, we love you, and that'’s why we came here.
12: My Grammy Song an adaptation by Shannon Claire Rusnak My Grammy, she’s cool and, she tells me I’m her favorite She likes garage sales, and parties, she makes the best cookies When we’re at the beach and I need some hugs You always gave me plenty You get me Ritas ice cream when my parents won’t get me any You gave me something to look up to, ‘cause I could try to be as awesome as you My Grammy, she’s cool and, she tells me I’m her favorite She likes garage sales, and parties, she makes the best cookies Every Grammy should have their own SONG Cause you’re like a magic carpet that keeps us flying along And your cookies make me glad – YEAHHHH Thank you for giving me ......... Dad!
20: Ruminations on a weekly Mother/Daughter Chat | "How was your New Year's Eve Mom?" "Oh, it was great. We had dinner, played cards with Betty and Jake and Barbara and wished each other a Happy New Year. Then we got a second wind. We stayed up visiting with them until after one in the morning!" | "Betty and I were talking about how things have changed. Not just some things. We decided EVERYTHING has changed! Betty knew this girl who didn't even know what an ice cube tray was. Can you believe it? I guess kids these days just think that ice comes out of a door on the fridge..." And so we chatted...
21: Mom, you couldn't be more right. Here are some "Cubes of Change" since you were born in 1932: | ~ People living together before marriage ~ Having babies together before marriage ~ Women working in high powered jobs ~ Viagra, Botox, commercials ~ Texting, twittering, Facebook, Google ~ Digital cameras and camera phones ~ Day care for dogs; neutering dogs | Mom, you couldn't be more wrong. Here are some "Cubes of Truth" that have remained unchanged from 1932 to now: | ~ The importance of family ~ The bond between mothers and daughters ~ The comfort of lifelong friends ~ The support of a loving spouse ~ Family memories of good times, bad times and everything in between | "Eventually, all women become their mothers" | I say... BRING it ON !!
28: Susan Claire Rusnak Castles March 3, 1957 Janet Elizabeth Rusnak Bellavance October 27. 1958 Joyce Grace Rusnak Nunziata April 10, 1960 George Edward Damien Rusnak January 2, 1967 | Meghan Lee Bellavance July 23, 1985 Jessica Lynn Castles February 3, 1986 Thomas James Castles January 24, 1988 Ethan Rusnak Bellavance September 16, 1989 Samuel Hinman Bellavance August 6, 1995 Michael Anthony Nunziata April 18, 1996 George Charles Rusnak April 6, 2000 Shannon Claire Rusnak August 12, 2003 | George Steven Rusnak July 2, 1930 Claire Elizabeth Grace Lough Rusnak January 25,1932 | A Family Grows | With the birth of Grandchildren | With the birth of Children
29: Susan Claire weds Thomas R. Castles January 14, 1984 Janet Elizabeth weds Thomas J. Bellavance September 19, 1982 Joyce Grace weds James A. Nunziata September 18, 1993 George Edward weds Ellen M. Blumenberg May 13, 1995 | Jessica Lynn weds Michael R. Smith June 23, 2012 | Claire Elizabeth weds George S. Rusnak September 3, 1955 | With Matrimony | Bringing new sons and daughters | And newGrandchildren