Here we are, in Marcia and Larry Ferstenfeld’s home on a surprisingly warm Sunday afternoon in December celebrating the 95th birthday of Marcia’s mother, Ruth Davis. This Southfield home has guests from all over: Los Angeles, Chicago and (truthfully!) a multitude of Detroit suburbs. It's a casual fete: fabulous latkes (Trader Joe's -- who knew?), a pumpkin souffle (sweetened with Xylitol) an array of fresh fruit and a double cake in the shape of 95 surrounded by two heart-shaped cakes (one chocolate, one vanilla) with sprinkles. Sprinkles. That means that some of Ruth's great grandchildren (eight of the sixteen to be exact) are around, a fact which is integral to this celebration. Not only around, I might add, but two of them baked those beautiful cakes. Additionally, of course, there's a lot more food (pretty healthy, I might add) and a warm, welcoming crowd.
One can't overlook the gorgeous new kitchen (thanks to contractor Ilene Techner, who was also present as a guest). Since Ruth's daughter, Marcia, is a fabulous therapist, there are also other colleagues and friends who are familiar with her work in Imago Therapy.
When Ruth moved here two years ago, to live with Marcia and Larry, it was “quite a transition.” After all, she'd lived in Los Angeles over 60 years – and in that time, she'd lived in three different homes, the last of which she lived in for 45 years. “I'm glad to be here,” Ruth says. “First of all, although there are times of the year that are cold in Michigan, the people are always warm. I have a wonderful life here.” The best part of the day is seeing Ruth in her element, surrounded by beloved family and friends -- and knowing she's feeling good and looking beautiful.
Her son, Lawrence, founder of this magazine, flew in for the celebration, and his sister Barbara, her husband and daughter drove from the Windy City. Great grandson, Raphael, 12, is discussing business with his great uncle, and his mother, Lisa, is taking photos (as is Lawrence). For those of you unfamiliar with Lisa’s photography, you'll want to remember her name: Lisa Mifsud. And don't forget – you heard it here first.
Getting back to Ruth, you might want to know that for many years she has celebrated her birthdays with her children in California, but these past two years Lawrence and Barbara have come to Michigan to celebrate. One would think it’s a big adjustment for Ruth, moving from the City of Angels to the Motor City (oh, we hope it will remain the Motor City, but that’s another column altogether), although it doesn't appear to be. Ruth looks totally at home. And why shouldn't she? “Home is where the heart is” is an old, familiar quote, best exemplified by this birthday celebration outside of Detroit.
A three-tiered plastic cake that Ruth brought from her L. A. house is here, and the cake itself is repeatedly singing, “Happy Birthday!” while it bounces. She and Lawrence bought the cake at a gift show years ago – and Lawrence pointed out that it also has sprinkles. The cake echoes our refrain too. We also hope that Ruth’s birthday isn't only happy, but, we'd like to add, that she lives well into the three digits, and continues to be happy and healthy, too!
Marcia Ferstenfeld can be reached at:
Ilene Techner, Contractor can be reached at: