Who knew that 90 could look so good?

She was born in St Martin, there was no hospital at the time on Saba, lived on Aruba, Curacao and in the Netherlands before settling down in my neighborhood about 30 years ago, in a modest cottage overlooking the ocean.
She was a teacher by profession, Dutch, English, French, and in recent years I came to view her as the ultimate Papiamento expert, it flows like honey when she speaks it.
Yesterday, we were invited to Sheila’s 90th birthday party, and before the bulk of the guests appeared I tried to figure out the chronology of her life, with Tony van Veen, the apple of her eye, her son, a CEO of a music production company, but failed, as it comes and goes, there is a lot to it, but suffice to say that Sheila is a well-respected and feisty member of our community, daughter of Wim Lampe, the island’s former Minister Plenipotentiary in the late 50s – 60s — the beloved cousin of Padu del Caribe, the Father of Aruba’s culture and that is as close as you get to island aristocracy, an off-spring of a well-connected, educated, and politically involved family.
Preparing for the party organized by Tony and his sister Louella Brezovar, a hospitality executive, Sheila supervised the thorough cleaning of the house, standing on a step stool, dusting: “We should all be in this kind of shape at 90,” Tony remarked on his Facebook post.
The gathering at the cottage overlooking the ocean at sunset included a great number of septuagenarians and octogenarians, walking sticks and assistive canes, but the open bar, delicious party snacks and the music worked their magic to produce a memorable event, that went on long after bedtime.
I met the catering crew in the kitchen, chefs Ricky Croes and John Lejuez, lending their personal touch to traditional local bites. We had the entire list of treats from pastechis to croquets, and mini skewers, all made a la minute, chased by tremendous tapa desserts, and a bomb of a cashew birthday cake.
Troubadour and entertainer Etty Toppenberg came for one hour and stayed for the duration, playing old time favorites on his guitar, then pianist Livio Hermans fell in with Etty, performing some classic Padu Del Caribe compositions, supported by singer Victor Samuel, and finally, Vivian Lampe took over the show, a consummate performer of her father’s intricate and lively music.
Then Tony took Sheila for a spin on the dance floor, and at 90 she is as light and as graceful a dancer as ever.

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May 08, 2019
Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster
Bati Bleki by Rona Coster