By Marcia Saipe
My mother, Helen Saipe, will be 106 years old in September, and is looking forward to another birthday. Helen was born and raised in Ottawa where she has lived her entire life. Her husband, Roy Saipe, whom she married in 1941, became the face of Dworkin Furs on Rideau Street, in the same house where Helen grew up with her seven siblings.
Helen has four daughters. She made a beautiful and comfortable home for all of us, and every holiday and simcha was celebrated with a family dinner. Even when she moved into a seniors’ residence eight years ago, my family and I celebrated with her over a special meal there. I have spent over 70 years sharing Rideau Bakery raisin challah, dipping apples in honey, at my mother’s table at Rosh Hashanah.
Helen has always loved the details of an event, and she still pays attention to everything from having her nails done, to which earrings she will wear each day. Mom reads the Ottawa Citizen every day, and is aware of happenings in the world. She reads books from the library, and up until last year she played bridge weekly. It was her passion for so long, and she was a formidable player.
Two of Helen’s daughters, Dorothy and Barb, live in Toronto, and Geri lives in Jerusalem. Mom is blessed with nine grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. She has many nieces and nephews who keep in touch by phone, and every call puts a smile on her face. She doesn’t need the details. She just wants to know that they think of her.
Mom does not dwell in the past. For her, the present and the future have always kept her looking ahead. She has always been a logical, wise woman. She dances to her own tune, and always has. Her independent spirit keeps her going. May she continue to enjoy her life, just as she has done for the last 106 years.