By Cheryl Brown
Too often people forget or don't think about a person who
just gives and keeps on giving. That was not true with the 80th birthday of
Mildred Tyler. Close to 200 of Tyler's
family and friends enjoyed an evening of fun, food and dance celebrating her
Mildred is greeted by her pastor Rev. J. Rhone,(l) and Mayor and Mrs. Ron Loveridge.
Tyler was overwhelmed by the
quality event that brought out some of Riverside's
finest citizens. The "White Linen" party held at the home of Jalani and Angela
Bakari was the highlight event of the summer season.
A perfect birthday cake for a perfect lady.
The Master of Ceremonies Richard Jones kept everyone
laughing with jokes about everyday things that everyone could identify with.
But the jokes that had Mayor Ron Loveridge and his wife, Lorna and the audience
rolling in laughter had to do with age.
Emcee Richard O. Jones
worked over Loveridge at UCR and he honored her with a proclamation. The joke
goes like this, "The husband was going to the kitchen and his wife asked him to
write her order down so he wouldn't bring the wrong thing. She wanted 3 cubes
of ice in her tea and a grilled cheese sandwich. When he returned with a glass
of milk she said I told you should write it down, you forgot my slice of cake."
When the crowd recovered from joke after joke they were
entertained by Desiree Brown from the award winning Bre Dance Studio, owned by
Clifford Breland. Her interpretive dance was intense, outstanding and
Jazz singer, soon to be Karen Wilson, Ph.D, sang a
contemporary jazz number that moved Tyler and the others.
"A Quilt of Love" an original work by Jean Denny was read
and presented to an overjoyed Tyler.
Before the food was served by a group of volunteers from her
church, Allen Chapel AME, its pastor Rev. Jonathan Rhone blessed the food.
Oliver and Mary Welch present flowers to hosts Jalani and Angela Bakari.
After Romanie Arterberry read Tylers bio, Mary Welch (formerly Lowe) and
Jean Denny explained how the celebration came about. Denny has known and worked
with Tyler on
various community projects and said she met Mildred in the store one day as her
birthday was approaching. "Mildred proudly announced that she would be turning
80," she said. The historic way of the south dictated a woman didn't tell her
age, but Mildred was so proud. "I thought I'll get her a card.
Jean Denny presents her Quits of Love to Mildred Tyler as Reggie Strickland, Clifford Breland and Al Garrett await their turn to greet her.
Then she was
speaking to Mary Welch, she said we have to get her some flowers or a plant so
they will not let the opportunity go by to show her she is appreciated. As they
continued to speak the idea came into focus. And the germination of the 80th
Birthday celebration grew with the addition of Harriet Stuckey to prepare the
wonderful invitation that will truly be a collector's item and Jalani and
Angela Bakari who volunteered their beautiful home.
Karen Wilson sang an outstanding Jazz number.
Arterberry said she met Tyler
in 1978 when she went to work at the University
of California, Riverside. They shared an office and Tyler's name is still
mounted outside of the office they shared.
Mildred was born Mildred Geneva Cabness in Luling, Texas.
Desiree Brown performs magnificantly.
She moved to California
in 1962 with four of her five children. The youngest was born in Riverside. In 1967 she
began her UCR career as a receptionist for the Dean of Students. She followed a
career path to retirement, through the Assistant Dean of Ethnic Studies her
final retirement was 1996.
She has been active in the National Council of Negro Women,
YWCA, Community Action Agency, Fair Housing Council, Coalition for Alternatives
to Domestic Violence, and a member of Allen Chapel
Church. She is a
professional storyteller and loves to travel.
She lists motherhood as her greatest achievement in life.
All five of her children are professionals and most went into law enforcement.
Her son Dwight, speaking for the siblings, said she was and continues to be a
wonderful mother who always knew what was going on with her children. "We still
don't know how she always knew what was going on with us," he said.
Mildred and her five children: Gwendolyn Jones, Dwight, Douglas, Tommi, and James Tyler.
Arterberry said she is a phenomenal women, mother, mentor,
friend and role model.
In accepting the honor a very humble Tyler said that she was overwhelmed with how
large an event this turned out to be. "I just hope I am worthy of this," she
said, recalling "this is the second birthday party I can ever remember having."