Meet Our March Resident of the Month!

Say hello to Estrilda Ziegler, our Resident of the Month.

Ms. Estrilda “Ziggy” Ziegler was born in North Philadelphia in 1945, one of four children.  She shared that her father named her Estrilda after seeing the name in a book on birds;  Estrilda is a type of finch, a beautiful light gray little bird with a scarlet mask over its eyes.  Also, in German “Estrilda” means ice battler or goddess of war.  In talking to Miss Ziggy, one can see that her name suits her well.  Miss Ziggy says that people who know her know that she is crazy and that if they do something wrong, she will tell them.   

After graduating from Kensington High School, she worked at several factories, usually in a supervisory role, until her retirement in 2010.  Miss Ziggy is also very proud of her family, including her daughter Tamara, her five grandchildren, and seven great-grand children. Photographs of them are on display in her room and she will happily tell you about them.  Miss Ziggy is a social butterfly, but don’t ever do anything to make her give you ‘The Look’, because then you’ll get a piece of her mind! 

Meet Our February Residents of the Month!

Say hello to Margaret Lawrence & Beatrice Collier, our Residents of the Month.

We’re doing something different for February.  Instead of having just one resident featured, we’re having two!  Sisters Margaret and Beatrice both live here at Renaissance.  Miss Margaret is the older by 3 years, and between them they have 193 years of life experience.  They were born to Ziba and Izabelle Stokes, who owned a farm in Coatesville, PA.  They were two of ten children, five boys and five girls.  They have two other living siblings, their sister Rosie, who has also stayed here with us, and their younger brother, Georgie. Miss Margaret’s daughter, Renee, jokingly calls the three sisters The Golden Girls.   

Miss Margaret met her husband, William, at the Church of Christ; they were together until his death.  Miss Beatrice met her husband, John, through a mutual friend.  

Their words of advice: “Continue in school; be true to yourself with what you want to be. Don’t let anybody talk you out of it” and, “Be honest. Listen to what your parents tell you—most of the time it’s true.” 

(Pictured, left to right, are Miss Beatrice, Miss Renee, and Miss Margaret.) 

Meet Our January Resident of the Month!

Say hello to Bernice Love, our Resident of the Month.

Miss Love was born in Como, Mississippi, the third of ten children. In December, she shared her memories of Christmas as a child in the 1940s. Miss Bernice’s parents were sharecroppers, and she says, “Sharecroppers had nothing. You just did the work so you had a place to stay. Technically, it wasn’t slavery, but if you didn’t know any better you would think it was slavery. The people that owned our land were okay. Sometimes when they were with their friends, they would want to show off who was boss, who was in charge. We kids moved off the farm before our parents.”

Miss Bernice and eight of her siblings made their way to Philadelphia for better job opportunities. Their mother lived to be 91. Miss Bernice worked in the food service department at Jefferson Hospital. She describes herself as quiet and meditative, more of a follower than a leader. Even in her youth she preferred to sit back and be a spectator.

Miss Bernice’s words of advice are: “You can’t always lead all the time, but if you do lead, try to be fair. And if you are a follower, try and be fair, too. Use some of your own judgement, don’t just follow recklessly.”

Meet Our November Resident of the Month!

Say hello to Lewis Jasper, our Resident of the Month.

Mr. Jasper was born in South Philadelphia, one of three children, and came from a musical family. His father was an undertaker and a jazz musician; his mother worked as a dressmaker and had a beautiful singing voice. One grandmother played the organ in church, a grandfather played the drums, and an uncle was a dancer. Mr. Lewis himself didn’t start playing the piano until he was in his twenties, saying “I never knew what I wanted to do, but I was crazy about music. All my friends were into music in some type of way.”

He met his wife, Catherine, on a blind date. She was a model who worked shows for Bonwit Teller, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Wanamaker’s. He learned later from Catherine that she was reluctant to go out with him at first, telling her friend, “I’ve seen him but I don’t like him.” Her friend replied, “If you don’t go out with him, I’m not going to do you any more favors!”

Needless to say, that first date went well and they just recently celebrated their sixty-seventh wedding anniversary. They had two daughters, one of whom passed in 2012. The rules for raising them were: Church number one, teach them right, and try to pick good company for them. Mr. Lewis acknowledges that the last rule doesn’t usually work because “…kids pick who they want to be friends with.” He admits to being a little disappointed that none of his children took to music, saying, “I was mad, but I understood that it was their lives.” Mr. Lewis’ daughter Irene says that while the musical gene skipped her generation, happily it has returned with the current crop of grandkids.

His words of advice to children (and parents) today: “Listen to your parents…at times…because sometimes parents don’t understand young people. Times change so much.”