This has been an amazing year. Starting in January, I made my bi-annual visit to India to visit my wonderful friend Mrinalini. Knowing she was 97 I checked whether she would want to see me, and was told she would be delighted. She was frail, but so happy to see me, but soon before I left, she died.
The Hindu rituals that followed were so beautiful, I told her daughter Mallika I am going to India to die! She was beautifully dressed with flowers in her hair, round her wrists and ankles and with rose petals everywhere. The most moving moment was when they carried her to the area where she used to dance, rose petals rained down from above and first Mallika and then all the dancers danced to her sleeping form on the ground with music playing.
My birthday in March was a very special celebration. Exactly 60 years previously had been the first rehearsal of a revue I was in called FOR AMUSEMENT ONLY which ran for 2 years at the Apollo Theatre. Since then all the men in the cast have died, but 6 of the ladies have survived and my best friend, Helen Cotterill, organised a reunion. I met her in that show when she was 16 years old. On my birthday we lunched together with much laughter and happy reminiscences.
In March I went to Israel for the wedding of grand-child number 10 (they are all married now, and I have 27 great-grandchildren, never having had a baby! All thanks to one step-daughter). And in May went on a most enjoyable and interesting trip to the Isle of Man.
Also in March I was contacted by Adam, the artistic director of the Kings Head theatre in Islington, and asked to perform my one-woman show there. I had not performed it for years and as March was also my 91st birthday I was not at all sure I could still do it. But after consideration, I could not resist the challenge. Especially as it would not be until July, which I was convinced was so far ahead it would never come!
2 performances in July, which were so successful I repeated it in September and December, and have several bookings for next year. I have been showered with so many compliments, my head is spinning. And I am thrilled that I have been given an award by the Oldie Magazine as OLDIE OF THE YEAR! To be presented next February 7th.
Also I went back to Israel in October for a very exciting occasion. About 3 years ago I purchased in Auction the hand-written diary, in Yiddish, written by my Grandfather, Myer Joel Wigoder, who died in 1933. Thanks to the generosity of my cousin Charles Wigoder the book was translated and published by the Israel National Library and the Book Launch was in Jerusalem on October 20th. It is beautiful...a real treasure. I was very much involved, among other things finding the photos, making a family tree, finding the addresses of my many cousins. Grandpa had 9 children...
To be performing again to sold out houses and standing ovations at age 91 is a wonderful feeling and a great gift. I feel so grateful and so lucky. And love using the phrase: "Life begins at 91"!!