The Value of Laughter with Lillian Hoffman, 93

The Value of Laughter with Lillian Hoffman, 93

The Value of Laughter with Lillian Hoffman, 93

Lives at Waterford Terrace in La Mesa, California

Born Adventurer | Loving Matriarch | Entertainer | Free Spirit

Q: What do you like to do… with your days?
A: Twice a year I get together 30 ladies — no men — and I tell risqué jokes and sing songs for them. Let’s just say I feel more comfortable with just the women. With everybody’s aches and pains, I want them to forget for an hour or two. I love doing it. And if God spares me, I’ll do it for a long time to come.

Here’s a sample: A woman called her doctor and asked, “Did I leave my panties there?” “No you didn’t, Mrs. Brown,” the doctor answered. “Oh,” said the woman, “I must have left them at the dentist’s.”

Here’s another one: A woman took her husband with her to her doctor and the doctor says, “Well, Mrs. Smith, you are all right, but no sex for 2-3 weeks,” and woman says, “John, did you hear what the doctor said?” And her husband says, “Yes, I did, but he told that to you, not me!”

Q: And were you married?
A: I was married — and God blessed me with 6 grandchildren.

Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I was born in Romania, but came to Philadelphia when I was a year old and grew up and met my husband there. During WWII he enlisted in the Marines and we were sent to Camp Lejeune, N.C., and we stayed with him a year, and that’s where my first daughter, Judy, was born. We called her our Rebel, and since her sister, Meryl, was born back in Philly, we called her our Yankee.

Q: What were some of the most important things in your life?
A: Well, when I went to Camp Lejeune, it was an entirely different life there in the South. I came from Philadelphia and I didn’t like the way they treated the black people in North Carolina, and I would ask “Why are the blacks segregated from the whites [on base]? They are giving their lives for their country just the same.”

And I encountered a lot of anti-Semitism, even in school in Philadelphia; I remember one incident out of high school, I took some tests for a job, and you also had to give your religion, and I wrote Jewish, of course. I took all the tests and I know I did well, but no one called me for a job. My mother got very disgusted and suggested I put something in the newspaper and write about how fast I type, etc. The first man who interviewed me asked, “Do you mind if I ask a personal question? What size bra do you wear?” And I said — “Why? How big is your typewriter?” And I left, fast.

My mother told me to try again. “He’s a nut,” she said, and the next interview was to work for an optometrist, and he asked me all kinds of questions; the last one was, “Do you see that cot over there? Will you please go and lie down?” Fortunately, I had my pocketbook with me and I ran out. After that, I took a civil servant test and got a job.

Q: What is the hardest thing about growing older?
A: Getting sick. But I also know that age is just a number and you are only as old as you feel. Sometimes I feel like 150, and sometimes I feel like I’m 40-50 years old. I’m alone now, but not lonely. I read a book a day and we have marvelous books here. Not the silly ones, good ones. David Balducci, like that. Wonderful ones — my television and my books and my daughter, God bless her. She lives in Rancho Bernardo, and every Saturday she takes me shopping. I’m going to buy a bikini next time we go out.

To read more stories like Lillian’s, visit www.TheseEyesHaveSeen.com, or check back for our weekly resident interviews in the Sunshine Stories Blog.

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living