Monday, May 26, 2008

The Ten Carat Anniversary

The 50th wedding anniversary may be golden but after that it’s all about diamonds, baby.

According to, the gift associated with a 60th anniversary is diamonds. The 70th anniversary gift is diamonds and platinum; for an 80th anniversary, diamonds and pearls, followed by diamonds and emeralds for a 90th anniversary. So how do you top that for a 100th anniversary? The suggestion is a 10-carat diamond.

I don’t think anyone is going to need to buy a 10-carat diamond as a present for a 100th wedding anniversary any time soon – after all, Mayme and Clarence Vail are setting a record with their 83rd anniversary this year. However, there are a number of businesses and organizations that have passed the century mark.

How do they celebrate? Sometimes, they throw parties. That’s what the Jewish Home and Aging Services (JHAS) of metropolitan Detroit did – they held a gala at the Detroit Opera House to celebrate their 100th anniversary in September 2007. They also used the occasion to honor their executive director, Carol Rosenberg, who has played a major role in the continuing success of this agency with her incredible energy, compassion and respect for the oldest members of the community.

As the JHAS says on their website, “It’s not easy, growing old, but it’s a whole lot easier when a community cares.” Clearly, the Detroit community cares a great deal about providing services to the aging. They also have shown their ability to adapt to the changing needs of their population, expanding their outreach and support offerings over time to improve the lives of older adults in many new ways. Congratulations to the JHAS on reaching this amazing milestone.

And these people know how to party - by all accounts, the gala was a marvelous evening. However, it probably went by in a flash. To help preserve the joyous memories of that special celebration, we created a keepsake collage of the gala’s invitation and presented it to Carol.

JHAS 100th Anniversary Gala Keepsake Collage
Here’s the collage we made for Carol Rosenberg of the JHAS.

Whether it’s personal (milestone birthdays, milestone anniversaries, sweet 16s, bar/bat mitzvahs, quinceañeras, new babies) or professional (a collage acceptance, a promotion, a retirement, a new business venture, new facilities) Purple Raincoat keepsake collages are a wonderful way to celebrate the special events and milestones of your life.

And if you’re lucky enough to be celebrating that 10-carat anniversary, the gift of a Purple Raincoat keepsake is a unique, personalized way to preserve the memories of your celebration that won’t break the budget. Visit us at Purple Raincoat to see examples of keepsakes to get ideas for your own celebrations.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why watching “Survivor” can help you live to be 100

In my May 15 post, I noted that May has been designated as a month to celebrate Older Americans. So I thought it would be timely to pass along these tips for living longer from Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness office of the Cleveland Clinic and coauthor (with Dr. Mehmet Oz) of You, Staying Young: The Owner’s Manual for Extending Your Warranty.

In an article in the April issue of Allure magazine, he was asked, “What’s the secret to living to 100?” His answer: “Watching Survivor. Seriously. Researchers have found that one third of centenarians watch reality TV shows, one quarter watch MTV or music videos, and some even surf the web and use an iPod. They’re also into current events, lead healthy lifestyles – exercise, eat right, avoid excessive alcohol and smoking – and consider faith and spirituality to be a priority.”

Sounds like a plan – and I know these tips work because my father puts them into practice (so long as you include watching sports as reality TV - my 97-year-old father remains an enthusiastic fan of televised games involving Detroit’s baseball, basketball, hockey and football teams, along with the occasional golf tournament).

My father with Carol Rosenberg, Executive Director of the Jewish Home and Aging Services, part of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. This photo was taken just after the Bessie Spector Brunch honoring the Oldest Jewish Americans on May 9, 2008. My dad looks pretty good for 97, don't you think?

So the next time someone suggests you get off the couch and turn off “The Hills,” maybe you should just tell them you’re working on extending your healthy lifespan. But be sure you don't wait until your 100th to celebrate - there are plenty of milestones worth marking along the way. And remember to preserve the memories of your celebrations of those milestones on our way to your 100th birthday with Purple Raincoat collage keepsakes that are as unique and individual as you.

Come visit us at for unique ways to preserve invitations and honor the special events and special people in your life (including you).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Older Americans Month!

Since 1963, May has been the month designated to celebrate our nation’s longest-living citizens – those who are at least 65 years old. Originally named “Senior Citizens Month” by President John F. Kennedy, the celebration became the more politically correct “Older Americans Month” thanks to President Jimmy Carter in 1980. The purpose of Older Americans Month is to encourage the nation to pay tribute in some way to the 37.3 million people aged 65+ across the country through ceremonies, events and public recognition.

I was fortunate enough to attend one of those events last week. On May 9, the Metropolitan Detroit Jewish Community held the Bessie Spector Brunch honoring the "Oldest Jewish Americans" - members of the community at least 95 years old. There must be something in the water in Detroit; amazingly, there were nearly 70 honorees, including several people who were at least 100 years old and one woman who was about to turn 110 years old.

Each of the nearly 40 honorees who was able to attend the event was interviewed and had something of interest to say. They talked about coming to America after being born in other countries, discussed their past and continuing volunteer activities and talked about their most memorable experiences. It was an astonishing event that reminds us of the importance of active living at every age.

What was striking to me was to see to many people at the brunch who still function at a remarkably high level. One of the prime examples among the honorees was my father, Ben Gurvitz, who is living proof that getting older doesn’t mean you have to get “old.” He is a marvel who lives independently, has an appropriate joke for every occasion, and enjoys an extremely busy social life involving for the most part people at least 20 years younger than he is who are eager to be in his company. He remembers more names, faces, facts and phone numbers than most people have forgotten. A retired pharmacist, he has aged so little that people still recognize him as the owner of a drugstore he sold more than 30 years ago.

And I’m not the only one who sees my father as special. He is a role model for many people of my generation. As psychologist Steven Ceresnie wrote in the June 2007 issue of Michigan Psychologist, my 97-year-old father is “one resilient human being who treasures each day, never complains, and helps everyone who knows him stay optimistic about the species.” He is living proof that getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop living life to its fullest.

Which is important because by 2030, approximately 75 million people – or about 20 percent of our citizens — will be at least 65 years old. The age group 85 and older is now the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. So a lot more of us can look forward to being in that same boat. However, as my brother is fond of saying, “getting older sure beats the alternative.” Especially if you can keep a sense of humor about reaching an age where, as my father would say, “God is just a local call.”

So what do you give someone who is celebrating an 80th birthday or 85th birthday or 90th birthday or 95th birthday or even a 100th birthday? Help them keep smiling by giving the gift of memories. I recently presented my father with a Purple Raincoat collage based on the restored wedding photo taken of him and my mother. The look on his face when he first saw the collage was priceless. It was a joy to give him a gift that will keep giving him so much every time he looks at it.

Give the gift that celebrates the past in a way that you can enjoy far into the future. Let Purple Raincoat create a collage to celebrate the older Americans in your life. We can take those old photos and other memorabilia and turn them into unique works of art that touch hearts. What a wonderful way to honor their lives and say “thanks for the memories”.

This collage is similar to the one I gave to my father. The original black and white photo was restored and turned to sepia. Elegant muted papers in tonal prints of bronze, copper, cream, tan, and gold decorate the background of this collage. Read about it in more detail at

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Invitation keepsakes start with great invitations, Part III: Wording

(One in an occasional series of tips for creating great invitations)

Don’t let this happen to you.
Most people work hard to get just the right wording that sets the tone for your event and makes your guests feel welcome. The wrestling over wording can get intense even under the best of circumstances. This "invitation" is an example of someone’s imagination running wild. I have to admit that I like the combination of script and block fonts – it’s quite elegant, actually. Looks can be deceiving, can’t they?

Etiquette books (and websites) suggest appropriate invitation wordings for almost every occasion, and every variant of that occasion – bar/bat mitzvahs for twins, weddings where the parents have divorced and remarried, and so on. You will also find many examples in the invitation books. If you don’t see one that feels right, create your own.

There are (almost) no rules (although it is generally accepted that you should not say “request the honor of your presence” unless a ceremony of some kind is being held in a house of worship).

At a minimum, you should make sure that your wording includes the name/s of those whose occasion is being celebrated, along with the time, place, and date of the event.

On more formal invitations, it is customary to use words rather than numbers for dates and times:

Saturday, the sixth of November
Two thousand and four
at eleven o’clock in the morning

But if you’re pressed for space on your invitation you may want to consolidate:

at 11:00AM on Saturday, November 6, 2004

Other things you may want to include either on the invitation or on a separate reception card:

An opening “invitation” – “Please join us as we celebrate a special day in our family’s life…” or “We request the honor of your presence at the marriage of …”

• An indication of who is hosting the event: Join us as we celebrate our marriage” for a couple hosting their own wedding; “Sylvia Smith and John Jones cordially invite you to attend the wedding of our daughter…”. You can choose to use “Mr. and Mrs. Jones” or Sylvia and John Smith-Jones – use whatever feels right to you and is the custom in your community (again, ask your dealer for help).

• A statement regarding the formality of the occasion: “Black tie” to indicate that formal wear is required; “Business Casual” if khakis and boat shoes are acceptable; “Flip flops welcomed” for a seaside event. (By the way, I believe that an event should be Black Tie or not – the “black tie optional” option is almost guaranteed to make some people feel underdressed and some overdressed – but that’s just my opinion. I am fond of the “Creative Black Tie” option, as well as “Party Attire.)

• An indication of the length of the event: “Join us for dinner and dancing from seven until ten o’clock in the evening” – this is particularly helpful for events where parents may be required to pick up their children at the end of an afternoon or evening event.

If you follow these suggestions, you will be able to create "an invitation to remember" - one that captures the spirit of your event. Which of course you will want to preserve as a framed keepsake of your wedding, which Purple Raincoat will be happy to create for you. See our newest samples of wedding invitation framed keepsakes and bar/bat mitzvah invitation framed keepsakes on our website,

When your friends ask what you want for a gift, be sure to send them to our ordering page so they will get all the information they need to select the perfect gift for you.