At the age of 95, Helen Abraham has met her fair share of prominent figures, including the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Shirley Temple. For her birthday, however, Abraham wanted to dine with someone who isn’t quite world famous, but Turlock famous: Mayor Gary Soiseth.
Abraham first met Soiseth at a Christmas benefit thrown by the Turlock High School ROTC department. Having just relocated from San Francisco to Turlock, Abraham was greeted by Soiseth who welcomed her to the city. Abraham wanted to do something different for her birthday this year, she said, and remembering Soiseth decided to invite him to dinner at Toscana’s.
“He’s a beautiful human being,” said Abraham. “I told him that if he likes politics, then don’t give it up because eventually you could become president.”
While at dinner, Abraham shared with Soiseth stories and pictures from her life. Abraham was born in 1921 on the very day that her parents arrived in Seattle after fleeing persecution in Iran, and grew up in Chicago. A hotel located around the corner of her childhood home in Chicago allowed her to meet many famous football and baseball players, she said, and as an adult living in San Francisco her good fortune with celebrities continued. Abraham worked for PG&E as one of their top receptionists, and worked at various restaurants in her spare time, allowing her to meet the likes of Temple and Henry Ford. She also met Hillary Clinton at a book signing, and purchased a meet and greet with Elizabeth Taylor as part of an AIDS fundraiser.
“I was fairly lucky,” said Abraham. “I tell everybody that when I go to my grave, I’ll have met two of the most famous women: Elizabeth Taylor and Shirley Temple.”
Abraham also values volunteer work, and has donated her time to the United Nations and the Red Cross. She also has a soft spot in her heart for veterans, and hopes to soon travel to Palo Alto to donate her time to wounded veterans.
Abraham credits her long, fruitful life to the fact that she never smoked or drank much. She also believes her love for working hard has contributed to her good health.
Soiseth enjoyed his time spent with Abraham, and was impressed with her experiences over the past 95 years.
“It was an honor to spend Miss Helen Abraham’s 95th birthday together,” he said. “She continues to live a full life, having worked at restaurants all over the country, met movie starts like Elizabeth Taylor, served drinks to GIs as they headed out to fight in World War II and now she drives back and forth to her apartment in San Francisco. Even though Miss Abraham asked me to dinner, the pleasure was all mine. I wish her all the best.”
Abraham had advice for Soiseth, pleading with him to make her selection for president in the upcoming election easier.
“I told him to hurry up and grow up so that I can vote for him.”