A 23-year-old sitting in the midst of a celebration honoring people age 90 or older might seem out of place to some. To 92-year-old Irene Smith, it looked just fine.
Smith and her grandson, Kyle, spend time together regularly. Squiring his beloved grandmother to Westlake's annual 90+ birthday celebration last week was something Kyle was more than happy to do.
They were among six centenarians and 78 nonagenarians who were feted May 1 at a brunch sponsored by Westlake's Senior and Community Services Department and the Westlake Women's Club.
Seated with Mayor Dennis Clough and Senior Director Lydia Gadd were 95-year-old Shirley and 92-year-old Carl Tabar, accompanied by their son, Dave, and daughter, Laurel.
The Tabars raised their four children in a house they built on Westwood Drive in 1953. Carl says the secret to living well in old age is to smile. They also remain active. Carl regularly completes crossword puzzles and his children and wife described in detail the rugs he hooks, some containing as many as 24,000 stitches. The couple, who has been married 68 years, plays bingo and roots for the Cleveland Indians. Carl predicted the team will make it to the postseason again this year.
Smith has lived in Westlake since she was a teenager. Kyle recalled his grandparents' house on Strawberry Lane, his description a clear and fond memory. He said they often go shopping and out to eat together. "It's nice to make her feel young again."
Many family members accompanied their celebrated senior, beaming and taking pictures as Clough went table-to-table with a proclamation for each one.
The mayor told the audience he appreciates their contributions. "We wouldn't have the opportunities we do to live in this country and the city of Westlake without your efforts," he said.