ANTIOCH (KPIX) — The coronavirus has been spoiling a lot of parties these days but the celebration of Teresa Conley’s 100th birthday wasn’t one of them.
For her centennial, Teresa thought she would have a quiet brunch with her daughter and son-in-law at their Antioch home.
“In fact, I was about to take a nap and my daughter said, ‘you can’t, there’s something going to happen outside,'” Conley told KPIX.
That’s when her normally quiet life got a little louder as an honor guard of firefighters, police and veterans on Harley Davidson motorcycles rolled by outside. Conley served in World War II — mostly in Alameda — and achieved the rank of a Navy chief petty officer. That is most of what her family knows about her service.
“Truthfully, we don’t know a lot about what she did,” said her grandson Ken Greenwald. “She took an oath of secrecy — she won’t share!”
Five generations of family and friends offered their drive-by affection, as Teresa tried to exhibit the hallmark stoicism of the “greatest generation.” Her great-granddaughters, 10-year old Emily Greenwald and Emily’s 8-year old sister Lauren, honked horns and held up signs as they passed by.
“I hope she’ll like it and I hope it makes her feel special because she is special,” Emily said.
After bestowing a special blessing on Teresa, her pastor, Father Robert, appealed to a higher power as he violated social-distancing guidelines.
“I know I’m not supposed to touch you but I’m touching you anyway!” he said, hugging her. “We love you!”
The whole celebration took about 10 minutes and, although Teresa’s “oath of secrecy” endured, a crack in her voice spoke volumes.
“I just — don’t have the words,” she said.
Saturday’s drive-by celebration was organized by American Legion Post Number 9 in Antioch and included veteran riders from across the Bay Area.