The coronavirus pandemic and social distance guidelines has put a dent in birthday festivities but this best friend duo refused to break their two-decade streak of celebrating together.
Margaret Jones’ rang in her 91st birthday with her friend Lucy Cavazos by her side like the previous 20 years but with one unique addition: a 30-foot construction lift.
The lift raised Cavazos to the second floor window from the courtyard of The Kensington Redondo Beach, an assisted living community near Los Angeles where Jones’ lives. The friends used walkie-talkies to celebrate through the glass of Jones’ window, obeying social distance guidelines while honoring a long-time tradition.
Their friendship started in 1994 when Cavazos rented an apartment from Jones and quickly became her close friend. Despite a 44-year age difference, their friendship grew as well as their birthday tradition.
“Margie insisted that we celebrate each of our birthdays for the whole month,” Cavazos said. “April was her month and July was mine. Every day of my birthday month I’d come into the office and we’d go on a different adventure.”
“She is really like a second mother to me,” Cavazos said. “And when my two children were born, she became like a grandmother to them.”
Since Kensington assisted living community had to close their doors to visitors on March 10 in response to the virus, family members have been allowed to visit residents on the first floor through the ‘Courtyard Visit’ program where they chat through the glass using walkie talkies.
The second-floor residents could not partake because of their location but now the construction lift is here to take visiting their loved ones to new heights.
“We announced [the construction lift] last Friday night and the response has been overwhelming,” said Robert May, the Kensington’s executive director. “Already families have signed up to take the airborne trip up to see their loved ones on the second floor. We are particularly excited that Margaret’s 91st birthday celebration will be the first.”
A trained operator will raise the visitors to safely join their friends and family for 15 to 30 minute visits.
May said in the midst of this outbreak, it is rewarding to bring happiness to the community.
“We are overjoyed to be able to keep Margaret and Lucy’s two-decades-long tradition alive,” May said. “It’s going to be a great day for smiles. You might say that piece of construction equipment is about to give us all the lift we’ve all been needing.”