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A perfect 100

April E. Clark

Esta Epstein rang in her 100th birthday Wednesday morning with a bang.Epsteins youngest daughter, Carbondale percussionist Laurie Loeb, led her biweekly drum circle at Heritage Park Care Center in conjunction with her moms centennial celebration. She named the performance Drumming in her 100th year.

I am so thankful to my parents for allowing me to follow my passion of music, said Loeb, a percussionist since she was 12 years old who added African drumming to her repertoire seven years ago. I remember my mom would always take me to young-peoples concerts, and the family would go into New York City, which was only 12 miles from us, for theater and dance performances. I studied percussion at Juilliard my parents got me the best they could.

Also joining Epstein for the birthday drum circle was her oldest daughter and Loebs sister, Susan Cherbuliez, who lives in Maine. Cherbuliez recalled her mothers caring personality as one of her best traits.She has always had concern for others and devotion to friends and family, Cherbuliez said. She translated books into Braille using a Braille typewriter. I couldnt believe how many pages of Braille we cleaned out of her house.

Cherbuliez and Loeb also remembered their mother helping immigrants in New York City as well as the blind population there.She helped Japanese people learn English, said Loeb, who started Rhythms of the Heart, a program which allows her to bring percussion into the lives of special-needs individuals in the valley. She helped them adjust to life in America.

Prior to getting married in 1927, the Bronx-born Epstein was a hat designer. She and her husband, who died in 1997, were married for 70 years.Dads passion was horticulture especially orchids and Moms was fabrics. They traveled all over the world, to Japan in the late 40s, Bhutan in the 50s, and to South America, New Zealand, and Australia. She brought back all these beautiful fabrics to sew with. She also did a lot of silver work.As Wednesdays drum circle came to a close, fellow residents and staff members sang Happy Birthday to Epstein, who sat quietly in her wheelchair.She is touched, Loeb said. A tear just rolled down her face.For this 100-year-old birthday girl, its her party and she can cry if she wants to.


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