Community members commemorate birthdays

NILES — On Thursday evening, before the sun made its reappearance, the chilly, grey weather did not keep a family from their outdoor celebration plans. Ted Majerek’s family celebrated his 94th birthday with a parade outside of his downtown home on Sycamore Street.

With continuing concerns surrounding COVID-19, the Majereks did not want to risk family members’ health. Putting together a family parade is one way that people have found to maximize physical distance, and still celebrate their friends and family.

Tom Majerek was on hand Thursday evening to help his parents. He was also a player in coordinating the celebration as other family members gathered in a parking lot nearby to get ready for the mini-parade.

As Ted and Marie Majerek, bundled up in coats, sat in front of their porch just after the church bells ring at 5 p.m., their family members in cars were waiting just down the street. Everyone waited for the signal of a phone call to begin the socially distant party.

The Majerek family then took turns driving by the home slowly, honking and waving to both Ted and Marie. Some of the cars had “happy birthday” banners and Dr. Seuss characters on display.

As the family’s cars passed the home and made it to Fourth Street, participants pulled into the parking lot across from Ted and Marie’s home. Many of the family members, including five of Ted’s eight children, nine grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren, got out of the vehicles. They lined up on the sidewalk to sing “Happy Birthday” to Ted, holding signs and making noise.

They took turns crossing the street to greet Ted and Marie from the sidewalk, handing off gifts quickly.

On Tuesday, Marie Majerek turned 92. The family had put together a birthday parade for her as well.

“It was just like five cars,” Tom Majerek said of his mother’s parade. “We thought, let’s get more out there for dad.”

With smiles all around, and Ted and Marie greeting their family, Tom said he was very happy with the turnout.

“It gave them a reason to dress up,” he said.

The Majereks formerly owned bookstores, rental property and other businesses in the Niles area and have been involved in the community through civic clubs, local government and business organizations.