In the Woodlands, Norma T. is a favorite among residents and staff alike. Norma’s beautiful smile, positive outlook, and warm personality are hard to miss. At 103 years young, Norma continues to enjoy many activities, stays active, constantly makes new friends, and loves sharing her many stories.
Norma was born in 1918 in Philadelphia as one of 8 children. Norma’s parents both immigrated to the U.S. from Russia to flee war and start a new life, eventually marrying and having children. While at home, Norma says that her parents mostly spoke Russian and Yiddish, although she says the only Russian word she remembers is what they called her, “krasivaya,” which means “beautiful.” Norma’s father was a violinist and owner of a music store in Philadelphia, while also working as the musical director and conductor of the Philadelphia Yiddish Theater. When Norma turned 11, she would attend the theater with her father, where she learned Yiddish and enjoyed the performances from the orchestra pit. This love of music was instilled in Norma’s family, and two of Norma’s brothers even went on to become professional musicians, one in Jazz and one in Classical music.
Norma’s love of music is evident throughout her life, as she is full of interesting stories and knowledge of music of all types. She was even able to see many famous musicals from the Golden Age of Broadway during their first runs on stage throughout the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. Now, Norma participates in the Women’s Music Therapy Group, regularly attends the Opera, and can always be heard listening to beautiful opera and classical music coming from her room when you walk down the halls.
Norma met her first husband, Harry, while in high school at her 15th birthday party. It was love at first sight. After high school, Norma began working as an office assistant, a job which she loved, and then went on to start a family of her own. Norma and Harry had 4 children (3 boys and 1 girl) and raised them in the Philadelphia suburb of Swarthmore. While there, Norma cared for the children, was very active in her Synagogue’s Women’s Group, and gained a reputation as a wonderful cook. Norma and Harry were married for 60 wonderful years, and they were able to travel to places throughout Europe, Russia, and Mexico. After his passing, Norma continued to travel and was able to visit China, a place that had always been a special interest of Norma’s. When asked what her favorite part of the trip was, Norma talked about the amazing history and archeology from centuries ago, as well as the beautiful sights. Norma has also traveled throughout the U.S. and lived partially in Florida for many years. While in Florida, Norma even joined a singing group, which traveled to different senior centers to perform.
Today, at age 103, Norma is a very active resident! She is also a proud grandmother and great grandmother. Norma enjoys attending music programs, having a glass of wine at happy hour, and playing word games to keep her sharp! Norma has a particular talent at word games and says, “I was always a pretty good student; my son was once surprised to find an old report card of mine and saw that it was all ‘A’s!”
We are so lucky to have Norma here with us in the Woodlands – her warmth, positivity and humor make an impact on everyone she meets!