BY AMANDA MOSES
On July 12th, Spring Creek Towers’ (SCT) resident, Mildred Perman was honored at the Vandalia Neighborhood Senior Center (47 Vandalia Avenue) for her 100th birthday. The facility was covered in festive decorations and jam-packed with well-wishers from all over Brooklyn in commemoration of Perman’s century-long life.
Held just two days shy of her actual birthday, Perman was born on July 14, 1919 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1927, she moved to New York with her family and later worked as a fashion designer. At age 23, she married the love of her life, George Perman, and had two children together, Kenneth and Robyn (who now live in Florida.) She became a stay-at-home mother, raising her children with her husband of 50 years. In 1977, the Permans became one of the first families to move into SCT, previously known as Starrett City.
With a century of life under her belt, Perman has faced head on the wonder, sadness, and happiness of the world. In 1995, her husband passed away, and to help occupy her time she joined the Vandalia Neighborhood Senior Center. When she has the opportunity, she also visits JASA Starrett Senior Center in the Brooklyn Sports Club. Even now, at age 100, she walks every day from her apartment to the senior facility to converse with friends, play Bingo, and participate in other projects.
Akin to royalty, the birthday Queen sat atop a white and golden wicker chair and was bestowed with flowers, balloons, cake, and gifts. The event was coordinated by Millennium Development, a non-profit organization that runs the senior center. Many members of their staff were pleased to share stories about their fondest memories with Perman. Some discussed the earrings and purses she designed, while others were always impressed by her witty sense of humor.
Millennium Development Executive Director, Paul Curiale met Perman in 1999 when the organization became involved with Vandalia Neighborhood Senior Center. For the past 20 years, Curiale has always been in awe of Perman’s bright personality and her contagious smile. Kneeling on one knee, Curiale held Perman’s hand and said: “I want to tell you that this is a special day because when we do these events, the birthday parties, this is actually one of the reasons why I like doing my job. I believe that you have enlightened everyone here to live and want to live, and want a fellowship with friends right here at the center and be part of the community.”
Political representatives also attended the event, presenting certificates of special congressional recognition, citations, and proclamations from: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Senator Roxanne Persaud, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, NYC Comptroller Scott Springer, and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
Senator Roxanne Persaud wrote in her citation, “Whereas the great state is only as great as those persons who give exemplary service to their community. The quality of service rendered by Ms. Mildred Perman, is in direct proportion to her commitment and embodiment of strength and courage, doing ordinary things extraordinarily well…She is an extraordinary individual who upholds the meaning of community, takes on intimidating challenges in stride and zeal, and has optimism amongst her peers with compassion and comradery.”
Loyal, kind, and an all-around good person are a few of the model traits that Perman exudes. She is truly a testament of what it means to have a life well-lived. “I feel great today! I feel honored, loved, and humbled. I’m just beside myself,” she said laughing.
Photos by Amanda Moses