Happy 75th birthday round one — the dance

The first celebration of my mother’s 75th birthday began with a toast by her only son Mike and her oldest grandson Charlie.

We’d gathered in Chicago’s oldest restaurant for a family party perfectly orchestrated by her youngest, bossiest daughter Jenny, who has some experience producing live events.

We ate delicious German food and watched Grandma Peggy blow out candles on a cake wheeled in by three granddaughters and a two-member polka band.

And then we danced because, even more than tennis, chocolate chip cookies and ice cold milk, good movies and better books, clean swimming pools, Disney World, a glass of wine before dinner, and secret finger dips in peanut butter jars, my mother loves to dance.

Self taught in the basement of her red brick house on North Bend Road in Cincinnati, mom jitter bugs, boogie woogies, twists and bops. Brought by marriage to the great state of Wisconsin, she also polkas and chicken dances.

The rest of us — kitchen dancers, wedding waltzers and at least one reluctant ballet school graduate — make up for our lack of appreciable skill with genuine enthusiasm.

We needed it and all the schnitzel inspired stamina we could muster to keep up with Grandma, who looped around the dance floor with just about everyone.

Our waiter asked if he could join our family and grandma’s exhausted stable of dance partners readily agreed.

Several times we formed a circle around Grandma and held each other up as we watched her dance.

Thanks to my sister’s genius planning, we had Berghoff’s basement to ourselves, which left us free to enjoy the best kind of dancing. We danced because no one was watching. We danced because we had to work off our giant portions of delicious German food. We danced to celebrate a milestone. Mostly, though, we danced for joy.

75th birthday original Kostelniks

This is the birthday girl and her four children before all that dancing began. I’m going to apologize in advance for the photo overkill, but these pictures make me laugh so I’m including them all. Wednesday’s post has only one picture, I promise.

75th birthday circle dance vinnie again

Young Vinnie tries to keep up with his Grandma

75th birthday circle dance 2

And then we all circled around the star of the show…

75th birthday circle dance 3

…who didn’t miss a beat and happily strutted her stuff

75th birthday circle dance 4

You know what’s coming next, right?

75th birthday circle dance 5

A big ole circle of love.

75th birthday Kathy and Molly

Kathy and Molly cut a rug

75th birthday me and vinnie

Vinnie and I took a turn

75th birthday the chicken dance

Chicken dance!

75th birthday chicken dance dance

More chicken dance. This one was just our speed.

75th birthday olivia and erin

Cousins Olivia and Erin had some fun…

75th birthday polka

Check out Grandma and Erin in the center of this picture.

75th Vince and Livvie

Uncle Vince taught Olivia to polka

Brian and Erin

Brian gave Erin a twirl

75th erin's kiddie cocktail

Erin’s kiddie cocktail…heavy on the cherries, she’s a grenadine girl.

75th charlie and molly

Molly and Charlie do a left-handed jig.

75th Charlie and Grandma

Charlie and his grandma.

75th Grandma and the grandkids

Grandma and most of her grandkids.

75th birthday the whole group

The whole foot stomping bunch!


Posted on January 27, 2014, in birthdays, Family and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Peggy, what a wonderful family that shows their total love and respect for you now and always. Happy Birthday. See you at the Farm in July.

  2. Loved all the pictures & seeing all the love & fun. Thanks for sharing this special day.

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