Dearborn, Mich., May 11, 2020 – Helen Szelc, a resident of Beaumont Commons, Dearborn, was born 90 years ago on May 10, which fell on the same day as Mother’s Day in 1930.
While many people may share the same birthday, probably few can boast the unique family bond Helen Szelc has with her daughter Cindy Kelly and Cindy’s son Peter Kelly. All share the same birthday and were born in years when May 10 fell on Mother’s Day.
Her family of three children and six grandchildren, who all live out-of-state, had planned for a memorable occasion this year.
The family never anticipated celebrating Helen’s 90th birthday and Mother’s Day from afar. To keep everyone safe and healthy during this historic year, travel and party plans changed. “If it saves lives, that’s what we have to do and I’ve acclimated myself to it,” said Szelc, demonstrating an ability to take things in stride and entertain herself in her apartment.
“I was 51 and my husband Richard was 54 when he died of Legionnaire’s disease. I needed to go to work,” said Szelc, who proudly shares how all her children graduated from college and enjoy successful careers. Son Richard Szelc is a money manager in Dallas, Texas; daughter Cindy Kelly is a physician in Norfolk, Virginia; and son Jerry, an engineer who built his own plane, also lives in Virginia.
Rick Szelc describes his mom as a businesswoman. He says, “She’s the reason that I’ve done so well. She taught me empathy, how to care about others, and sales. She taught us the fundamentals you can’t learn in an academic setting.”
He shared how she once locked him out of the house. “When I was young and delivering the Warrendale Courier in our Detroit neighborhood, a big wind knocked me down with my bike, spilling all my papers. I was ready to give up,” said Szelc. “She saw the papers and said, ‘You’re not coming in until you finish your deliveries’.”
After Szelc’s husband Richard died, Helen worked part-time for H&R Block and for Wayne County doing tax audits.
Described as a very social person, Helen enjoyed shopping for clothes at Macy’s, bargain hunting, hosting parties and volunteering at Henry Ford Fairlane.
Three years ago, after Helen experienced a prolonged power outage at her River Oaks home of 49 years in Dearborn Heights, she said, “It was time to move, and I really like it here at Beaumont Commons.”
She knew that family members, who talk with her regularly via Skype, wanted to make a big celebration this year and added, “They’ve made sure I can’t forget it’s my birthday. I’ve received so many cards, notes, plants and flowers for both inside and outside that you’d think I was a florist.”
Her son Rick Szelc even considered hiring a small plane to fly by with a happy birthday banner.
When asked one wish Helen would like to share for Mother’s Day, she replied, “I wish all mothers to be as fortunate as I am and as happy as I am with my family. I’m the luckiest mother in the world.”