It’s taken me a little while, but on what would be my Step Mom’s 98th Birthday (if she had lived, I was going to throw her a big party today), I want to share some thoughts on this great and wonderful woman.

What did I love about Henrietta Winkler-Zarovsky, my step mother for over 41 years? Well, let me count the ways. She was very smart. She had been a school teacher all her life and her mind was like a steel trap to the very end. She had an incredible zest for life – always moving forward and looking ahead to the next party or wedding or her next visit to the Katella deli. She took full advantage of the pleasures of Leisure World – went to the synagogue on Saturdays, was the President or member of at least 2 organizations, took the bus with her beloved care giver Terracita everywhere, and loved her neighbors.

She never sat around moaning about her problems and watching too much TV. She was out there — going to see Musicals in Long Beach and visiting relatives in the Valley. Yes, She loved family, Israel and all things Jewish. She’s the only person I know who while visiting Viet Nam found a synagogue there and had a Passover service with the Rabbi.

I first met her in 1975- when she was dating my Dad, and to tell you the truth, the 15 years he was married to Hedy were the best years of his life. She took care of him, thought he hung the moon and took him on fab trips (did I mention she was a travel agent too) to Egypt and China and Hawaii. They saw the world and had a beautiful life together. So I will always thank her for that.

When my Dad died, our relationship continued. We got closer, and to tell you the truth she became one of my favorite people in the world. She eventually married Jack Zarovsky, a widower who asked her to marry him on their third day together. And she said yes! Hedy was bold – and did I say smart. He was a great guy with a beautiful family, and he died much too soon.

In her life she was many things: teacher, travel agent, piano player, supporter of Israel, bread fanatic, speaker of Spanish – but to me she will always be the best Step Mom I could have ever hoped for.

Love you Hedy and may you be have the biggest party in heaven with your Mom and Dad and My husband Richard- And your friends- You’re everything I want to be when I grow up.