MY MOM at 90:

Aged to Perfection

by Iris Ruth Pastor

Bev Levine, 90

My mom was always afraid I would get dissipated when I slept over my girlfriend’s houses.
This was kind of a joke since in 5th grade I weighed 110 pounds and was 5 foot tall. I was more like an overgrown lummox than a wilting, delicate flower. She also made sure my brother and sister and I ate well-balanced, home cooked meals with three glasses of homogenized milk a day.

She was not perfect – she was always late to drop me off or pick me up from dance lessons, Sunday school, birthday parties, Brownies.

Which infuriated me.

But when my friends in 5th grade turned against me and started a group called RAILS – Revolution Against Iris Levine – she surprised me with her steely logic. She firmly put me on the yellow school bus each morning with the reminder that whatever I was feeling had been felt before and I could get through it. She was right.


“She is a rabid
Cincinnati Reds fan — win
or lose — and even knows
the names and positions
of the players.”

As my mother got older and the losses started piling up, she never stopped participating in life enthusiastically. She is great on the computer, searching the internet, composing oems
that have been published and designing cards and invitations to events like her Columbia
grade school reunion. She has and uses her iPhone – not to just stay in touch, but to text and to snap photos.

At age 89, despite her hearing impairment, my mom starred in a commercial for
Cincinnati’s Art Deco train station, Union Terminal. The ad was in support of a much-needed levy to update the aging train station’s structure. The levy passed resoundingly.

My mom writes letters-to-the-editor, congressmen and senators vociferously defending her political beliefs. She is a rabid Cincinnati Reds fan — win or lose — and even knows the names and positions of the players.

She sends gifts, cards and flower arrangements always and on time for Hanukkah, the Jewish New Year, birthdays, anniversaries and every Hallmark occasion.

My mom wields her brush quite often to paint miniature floral still life pictures. She still accomplishes a feat I have never been able to master: balancing her checkbook to the penny every month.

Daily, without fail, she plays the word game “Jumble.” And daily, without fail, she figures it out.

The greatest lessons my mom has taught me: Be patriotic. Be philanthropic Always hope. And always cope.

Iris Ruth Pastor is a slice-of-life author, blogger and motivational speaker.
Reach her at


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