by: Sandi Durell
As a member of the 100+ year old Dutch Treat Club, I sadly announce the passing of the funny, remarkable, centenarian Bel Kaufman, who died peacefully at home at the age of 103.
A DTer for 14 years, her entertaining talks always drew a large crowd. We surprised her and celebrated her 95th birthday at our annual dinner in May 2006, and had the good fortune to enjoy having her as our luncheon speaker on May 10th, 2011, a particularly special day for us all – Bel’s 100th birthday. If they ever erect a monument to Bel it will probably have her in a Tango pose wearing her amazing high heels, with perhaps, a kitty in her arms. I’m not sure when she stopped, but I think she was still taking tango classes when she was 100 years old.
Bel is probably best known for her classic novel, “Up The Down Staircase,” but she wrote so much more. Her humorous poems written for special speaking occasions left you in stitches. And who else, but Bel, would be signed up to teach a college literature class at the age of 100? To say she was “remarkable” barely comes close. She was one-of-a-kind.
It was Bel’s wish not to have a funeral and for family and friends not to sit shiva. Her brother says there will be a memorial for her at a later date and I will keep you posted when I know more.
I had the honor of interviewing Bel when she was a mere 99 years old and will post that interview at a later date.