TOMS RIVER – During her life, Mae Trustman has seen a lot. A world war, various models of telephone, the introduction of television and mankind landing on the moon, but the township resident focused more on her birthday cake and friends during a recent gathering.
She celebrated her 101st birthday on Sept. 9 at Alcoeur Gardens Residential Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Community of Toms River proudly.
Trustman celebrated this milestone event in style. “She is one of our beloved residents,” Megan Trapanese, director of marketing and admissions at Alcoeur Gardens said.
Trustman was born in 1918 and was raised in the bustling city of Brooklyn, NY. It was there in Brooklyn where she grew up and eventually met the love of her life, William Trustman, a machinist by trade.
Once they were married, William and Mae moved to the beautiful countryside of High Falls, NY and it was there that she was employed as a waitress in a tea room.
Mae worked a lot as this was the job she enjoyed most as well as taking care of her husband.
She would come home from her waitressing job to cook and care for William. The pair never had children and in their spare time they would travel all over the United States seeing its magnificent sights.
Of the many places the couple traveled to Mae said she remembered Detroit most. “Detroit was my favorite spot. Well I didn’t really like it at first but that is where my husband worked so I had to live there. He worked for the government,” Trustman said.
Trustman said that of the many presidents she saw come into office it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who was her favorite.
Trapanese said “one of the many stories Mae always shares is that William loved to golf and that she would watch him occasionally play but didn’t share the same love of the sport.
It just wasn’t her “cup of tea,” Mae said with a chuckle.
The Trustmans eventually settled in Toms River before Mae came to call Alcoeur Gardens her home.
Mae is a popular figure at the facility and Luis Briseno , a certified home health aide dotes on her in particular, joking that she is his girlfriend.
“We all love Mae,” said James Buglione who coordinates resident activities at Alcoeur Gardens.
“She loves to laugh and she is a popular member of our Alcoeur Gardens family. She is also quite the trivia buff. She always astounds us with the facts she knows,” Trapanese said.
She is often referred to affectionately as “Mae, Mae” and her favorite shows are Animal Planet and Jeopardy.
“I really don’t watch TV much. There isn’t a lot that interests me on it,” Trustman said.
She does have a favorite performer however, “Eddie Fisher is my favorite singer.”
“She especially loves babies, sweets and joking around. It is at Alcoeur Gardens that we found out that Mae has always been known as a social butterfly. In her heyday, according to Mae, she was quite the fashionista and loved wearing skirts, high heels and lipstick and red nail polish,” Trapanese added.
Trapanese said, “Mae Mae has said proudly that dressing that way was her choice. One of her favorite sayings is “cleanliness is next to godliness.”
Several members of Girl Scout Troop 422, Toms River came out to sing “Happy Birthday” to her and to present a bouquet of flowers.
Staff members and her fellow residents had balloons, decorations, party games, party hats, a tiara for Mae Mae and even a wand at the ready for the big moment when her cake was brought out and Mae Mae blew it out with just one breath.
“We can’t fit 101 candles on your cake,” Brigeno joked giving her a kiss on the forehead.
Trustman said she enjoys fish especially herring but as far birthday cake, she didn’t have a preference of chocolate, vanilla or any other flavor. “I like it all,” she said.
“This is delicious,” she said smiling after having her first bite of birthday cake.