Victoria’s Diary: A one-of-a-kind Mother’s Day

Celebrating Mother’s Day has never been so fretful and fearful, wanting to be close to my children, but knowing the dangers. For me, quarantined since March 12, I was grateful for the sun-filled Sunday to bring my family together. 

My son, two daughters and their children were able to keep their distance, wearing masks and gloves as we gathered together in my backyard. The grandkids, six of them, joined me keeping their distance, which meant no kisses or hugs but many smiles and laughs.

Spencer, Blake, Morgan and Samantha brought their own germ-free chairs to the gathering.
Hudson has a blast on the trampoline!

But I do have one enemy besides the deadly coronavirus: cellphones. I get it — I’m a victim of “phone-phobia,” bringing my phone with me wherever I go, like an appendage to my body, and feeling “naked” if I am separated from it.

Here we were, finally together, but everyone was carrying a phone or iPad in their hands. I have tried to force everyone to leave their phones in their pockets or another room. Sadly I’m mostly a failure when it comes to that.

I recently saw a hysterical, but shockingly true eye-opening episode of Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Larry, portraying a version of himself, was on the set of a reunion episode of the iconic show “Seinfeld,” of which he was the chief writer. 

Everyone in the living room was on their phone and Jerry said to his friends (cast mates), “Why are you on the p

On a Zoom call with my grandchildren.

hone? Would you carry a magazine and open it when you were talking to me?” The visual of that made me laugh! 

And here we were, on this glorious day, and half the group was on their phones texting or reading.

For me, the pandemic we are all living through does have a silver lining. I’m now a “Zoomer”! I Zoom with my staff, I Zoom with my friends, I Zoom with clients — I almost Zoomed with a blind date! But best of all, I am “Zooming” with all my grandkids.

One of my life goals is to keep each of them connected to each other and, of course, me. So I asked my oldest grandchild Blake,14, to host the gathering and my 11-year-old Jonah, who lives with me, to be my guide.

We had what I would call an organized chaos hour on Zoom. All six grandchildren were on the call, popping in and out, crying, screaming, singing and dancing — what a visit! 

I decided that our next call needed more structure, so I called in the cavalry for help: my daughter Samantha’s school teacher mother in-law, Susan. She set me up with some great ideas including, a riddle session, a joke session and a scavenger hunt.

I searched online for ideas and found a web page called “203 Fun Riddles for Kids with Answers.” And I stumped my grandchildren — ages 4 to 14 — with this one: “What has a face and two hands, but no arms or legs?” Another one that left them perplexed: “What has a neck, but no head?” Stay tuned for the answers.

Next week is my virtual scavenger hunt. It was precious to spend time with them all to myself. 


Death of a dedicated businessman

Another victim of the deadly coronavirus hit home.

I was sad to learn that Michael Halkias, the proud owner of the historic iconic Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn (where my parents were married in the ‘30s), had succumbed to the disease.

Historic Grand Prospect Hall loses co-owner Michael Halkias.

He and his wife, Alice, saved the historic hall from the wrecking ball in 1984 and restored it to its days of glory. I selected it for many of my Power Women and Kings of Brooklyn events, with Michael greeting me before each one with his big smile and outstretched arm of friendship.

The husband-and-wife team became famous for their 20 years of running the same commercial under their crystal chandeliers hanging brightly over their grand opulent marble staircase, saying in their charming Greek accent, “The Grand Prospect Hall, where dreams come true!” My dream of impacting lives and acknowledging community leaders at their unique setting was made true by Michael.

Like any business leader, he told me of his worries, but also shared his great joy of the opera. After my husband died, I always appreciated that Michael and Alice invited me to see “La Boheme” at the glorious Metropolitan Opera House.

Michael made Brooklyn a better place, helping thousands of people make their dreams come true. May he rest in peace.

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