I met Claudia almost 30 years ago at Top of the World Elementary. She was the receptionist extraordinaire, and I was a single mom school teacher. We rotated in and out of each other’s workday and, with time, became friends. Our big breakthrough occurred on a blind date she arranged for me. It did not go as planned, and my potential suitor is long gone, but Claudia and I realized how much we liked each other.
At school, Claudia was a powerhouse. She was efficient, organized, determined, and could get anything done. In grade-level meetings, when there was a seemingly impossible task, I liked to jest, “Let’s ask Claudia to do it”, because she could do anything. Her name was synonymous with getting the impossible done. A staff member once remarked, the school will be fine without us, but if Claudia leaves, it will fall apart.
Claudia may have been intimidatingly competent on the outside, but she has a huge heart on the inside. If you are lucky enough to call her friend, you are fortunate, indeed. She plans all sorts of activities, adventures, and parties for her friends. When I retired from teaching, she insisted on hosting my retirement celebration at her beautiful home. She, Diane, Lois, and Margaret cooked up delicious food and served it at the event, making me feel like a queen. When she found out I was bidding farewell to LBUSD at the school board meeting, she came along so I would not be alone. When she learned I had written a book, she arranged an interview with the Los Angeles Times. And when she thought I was alone for my birthday, she organized a party!
Recently, Claudia added pickleball to her activity repertoire. I am sure all the players want her on their team, and she is dominating the courts, breaking records, and making all sorts of new friends along the way.
Claudia is definitely part of a life well-lived!
Happy Birthday, Claudia!
M.J. Minerman writes for spinsters around the world who have "not found their lids and are pursuing lives well-lived."