I want to tell you something about my grandmother, Miriam Harris Goldberg, editor and publisher of the Denver-based Intermountain Jewish News weekly. She turned 100 years old on Wednesday! One hundred. A century. 1916–2016. Please G-d, as the saying goes, “ad me’ah ve-esrim” — till 120.
So many emotions swirl as I contemplate that. What a life! What a woman! What a grandmother! I have the merit to be her granddaughter, and I feel truly grateful.
“Grammy,” as we call her in the family, has always been a source of unconditional love to me, and I know to so many others, too. How she made room in her heart for everyone will always be a wonder.
When the love of her life, my grandfather Max Goldberg, died in 1972, she was left widowed in her mid-50s. To honor his work, Grammy asserted her desire to carry it on as editor and publisher of the IJN. Before 1965, when my grandfather came back into the IJN full time as his partner Bob Gamzey moved to Israel, Grammy was a 1950s housewife. Business? Print journalism? She first got into it in 1965 as an assistant to my grandfather Max.
People silently watched as Miriam decided to step into Max’s shoes, privately concerned that it would be the end of the paper. Lo, with Miriam at the helm of the IJN, not only did she manage it spectacularly, but she contributed new ideas and her own personality, adding special sections and new features, growing the newspaper even more. To me, especially since their ages practically coincide, the IJN (founded in 1913) and Grammy seem interwoven, almost one.
I used to think it was normal to get up at 5 or 5:30 am, prepare a homemade birthday luncheon for your office staff, get your hair and nails done, arrive at work by 7:30, put in a full day of meetings, executive decisions, advertising sales, newspaper layout and a million other things that arise under the pressure of a weekly deadline, then come home and host the most elegant candle-lit dinner party for 10 on a work night, replete with classy table linens, crystal goblets, flower centerpieces and a five-course dinner.
As a young girl sitting at that table, I felt like such a grown-up, feeling part of something important and elegant.