Today I Am 21,915 Days Old

Today is my 60th birthday. 

That means that I have lived 21,915 days. I try to celebrate the importance of ordinary experiences with special people every day. I often hear the semi-joking voice of my late grandfather Poppa George telling me in his broken Latin...

"Jeffrey my boy, remember that tempus fugits pretty fast". 

Boy was he right. Hard to believe how much tempus has fugited and that I am sixty years old today. Please indulge me a few moments so I can share some of my blessings as I celebrate people who have been important in my life.

My Grandparents

George and Fannie Ginsberg 

Gertie and Joseph Slater
My grandparents were George and Fannie Ginsberg and Joseph and Gertrude Slater; indeed they were grand. A strand of each one is embedded in my DNA. Poppa George’s super powers of creativity and humor, Grandma Fannie’s love of the simple things, Poppa Joey’s generosity and Grandma Gertie’s ability to use food as a magnet to pull a family together. What a gift from the universe to have been loved by them, to have known them and to have been part of their lives. I always feel surrounded and protected by their love. 

My Parents

When it comes to picking parents, I won the lottery. 

My late father Jack Slater who is present with me each and every day that I can feel his love and the gentle power of his kindness supporting every moment in my life. Although he left the material world, he remains my guiding light. His soft-spoken, non-confrontational style stuck to me like a Post-It-Note. 

His patience, in the midst of chaos and struggles, was always remarkable and something I strive to achieved in my own life. How he treated others was a lesson each day in being a good human being. He was kind to those less fortunate and always willing to lend a helping hand or a $20 bill. 

Bea and Jack Slater at The Colony Surf Club in 1947
Plan Bea
My 86 year old Mom Bea Slater reminds me every day that you are never too old to learn something new, dress up as a bumblebee or to eat really good ice cream. In the past three years she has mastered email, Facebook and attended a Bruce Springsteen concert with my brother Mitch. And, she is now learning to use the iPhone to text and send photos of her beer and hoagie dinner. During the early years of my marketing career, she and her best friend Norma Schaffer were distributors of Rachel's Brownies in New Jersey. 

Beatrice Slater dressed as a bee for Diane's 60th birthday 
Mom and I talk most days on my commute home from work. We discuss nothing special - the weather, what I am making for dinner, the Mets and movies to put on her Netflix list. She update me on Florence, Norma, Celia and Tommy and tales from the land of Springfield. My mother inspires me to be happy in each moment of every day. If I am not feeling well, her sage advice is to take a shower and I will always feel better no matter the problem I face or the difficulty on my plate. I'm so glad I don't work too close to home so I get those special moments to connect with her as I drive home on I-540. I am so blessed to have Mom with me on my special birthday.
Jerry and Diane Bedrin 

Mitchell Slater and Leslie Dickstein 
My siblings Diane (and her husband Jerry) Bedrin and Mitch Slater (and his wife Leslie Dickstein) have always cheered me on through each step on the ladder of life. I am so fortunate to learn from their love and generosity. I am truly blessed with brothers and sisters who have always been available to me with open hearts and loving kindness.I can always count on them to be available to help, to listen and to love. I can't recall ever having a fight or an argument with my brother or sister. We always had each other's back.  

Jessica and Garret Bedrin 

Jaime Bedrin , Henry and Scott Dodd 

Harrison and Georgia Slater (with Henry and Owen) and Jessie in the background
To my nieces and nephews: Thank you to my talented and resourceful nieces and nephews who have always reflected back to me so much love, respect and an appreciation of family. Jaime, Scott, Garret and Jessica - I am so proud of the wonderful work you do as parents raising your children. Seeing you in this role and in loving relationships makes me a very happy uncle. Enjoy these moments because as Pop would say, they are fleeting. 

Harrison and Georgia, you are both on the cusp of becoming adults and on your journeys. Celebrate the joy of friends and families but most of all celebrate your own unique and special beings. Know yourself and what is important to you and keep focusing on balance, joy and searching for happiness. There aren't any other goals that need to be on your to do lists. 

Juliet Bedrin 

Henry the Pirate 


To my great niece and nephews

Juliet Paige Bedrin was named for my father Jack. She is a twirling, whirling milkshake of happiness. Being with her reminds me of how much fun it was when my girls were little and they kept asking me why all day long. 

Henry Asher Dodd is an inquisitive, sensitive and happy child who is a pure delight. His middle name is in memory of my beloved Aunt Annette. Henry carries in him that same interest in learning that Annette shared with me and my siblings. His world is filled with dinosaurs, trains and the joy of being a big brother. 

Owen Caleb Dodd brings a shining aura of sweetness. His smile lights up a room and his curiosity is contagious. I love to watch the joy he brings, along with his cousins, to his grandparents. 

Annette Lawrence (with me at my Bar Mitzvah)

To my late Aunt Annette: Few people get to touch your life so much that they get extra credit for shaping who you are. My beloved late Aunt Annette was the person who would sit with me on a Saturday afternoon and play scrabble or teach me how to water color. She would explain the high art of opera and the low-brow fun of Laurel and Hardy. Most of all she put a spatula in my hand and encouraged me to cook. She gave me my first introduction to Julia Child and was a powerful teacher of what it means to be present with another person. In the pantheons of cheer leading, she was always singing my praise even if it wasn’t truly deserved. She would be so proud that I published a marketing book. I aspire to craft words and language with the exquisite skills you possessed. I was so fortunate to be caught by Annette.

My father's brother Robert and their sister Lolly, have also been important touchstones in my life. They, along with their children (my cousins) helped cement bonds of family. 

To my professional colleagues who taught me about marketing, life and the encouragement to always move forward, I am indebted. There are so many to name but two require special mentions: George and Britt, thank you for your patience and grace and the gift of your wisdom and friendship. And to the wonderful friends I get to work with today at Nomacorc, I feel truly blessed. I'm so glad we get to drink wine together and pretend that it is work.  

Bed knobs of Distinction
To my childhood best friend: James, you make me laugh and remind me that the #32, Frank Zappa and salami cooked in a dustpan at Camp Winadu will always have special meaning. I only wish I could remember one third of the things you recall about our childhood. And only you will appreciate this photograph of these odd little bed knob objects.  

To my daughters, Sarah and Fanny, you have given me a gift every moment of your lives.  Knowing that you are smart, creative and compassionate women of limitless talents makes me happy beyond words. Thank you for choosing me as your father in this lifetime and for nourishing my soul. You both inspire me to keep learning and to never stop being silly. 

Sarah Rebecca Slater 

My daughters are both remarkable women too. My older daughter Sarah lives on Oahu near Honolulu and teaches AP Psychology, personal development and leadership skills, and teen counseling at The Punahou School. She is also a certified yoga instructor and teaches young girls about stretching toward their dreams with self-love and compassion. You can learn about her program here at her Facebook page Summer Yoga for Teen Girls

Fanny Elizabeth Slater 
My younger daughter Fanny is an improv performer turned entrepreneur and chef and has created a business called Fanfare Catering in Wilmington, North Carolina. She offers cooking classes, catering for corporate lunches and other business and personal events, personal chef services, and writes a monthly article about food for Focus on the Coast Magazine. Check out her blog at Fanfare Foodie. She is pure funny baked in a Fanny crust. 

Ra Elohim Remez
To my wife Ra El is an accomplished artist, writer, musician, spiritual teacher and healer who is the most courageous person I have ever known. Her ability to serve as an intuitive guide and channel for divine wisdom vibrates on frequencies that few have experienced.  Those who know her well recognize the limitless depth of her compassion and ever present loving kindness that emanates from her heart and soul.  She is truly a messenger of light, currently at work on her first book about awakening the divine heart of humanity. I witness life-affirming lessons every day by being near her as we celebrate our love in
life’s quiet moments. We have been married since 1977 and are blessed with our two exceptional daughters Sarah and Fanny and one eighteen and three quarter year old black Persian name Shambhala.  

So happy 60th birthday to me. I can't wait to see what the next 21,915 days will bring as I stay focused on remembering to be present for each and every moment. 

And as Dorothy said when she returned to Kansas, I love you all so very much. 

Jeff as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at Camp Winadu 1964

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