To say that Ursula Sorgel Rotondi has a unique and perhaps unmatched birthday tradition would be an understatement.
“We always celebrate with her family,” said Rotondi’s daughter Sharon King on a recent Sunday evening inside Spain Restaurant in Cranston. “But it’s only been for mom’s 85th birthday – and tonight for her 90th – that all her seven children could be home.”
Thus, dating back to when Rotondi celebrated her 65th birthday, her family – mainly the seven siblings – established the tradition of celebrating their mother’s many milestones every five years.
Back when Rotondi turned 65 and was still working as a cashier at Gregg’s Restaurant on Post Road in Warwick, King hosted her mother’s birthday party at her home in Cranston with family and friends.
“We did her 70th birthday at Spain [restaurant] in Narragansett and number 75 at the Islander Restaurant on West Short Road in Warwick,” King related. “Mom’s 80th was at a place in Warwick that began with a ‘P’ that’s no longer in business and then we went to Governor Francis Inn – also in Warwick – to celebrate her 85th birthday.”
But number 90, as King noted while welcoming all her brothers and sisters to Spain, “made the night extra special for our marvelous mother and just may have been her biggest and best birthday party” of Rotondi’s event-filled life.
For example, all seven of her children – John Rotondi, Mark Rotondi, Richard Rotondi, Linda Forbes, Rita Antone and King – were there.
“We have 36 guests in all tonight,” King went on. “In addition to mom’s children, she has 14 grandchildren and 12 are with us this evening; she also has nine great grandchildren and one is here tonight.”
King then paused before adding: “It’s really special; mom is now part of a second fifth generation and got her first great grand child this year and we’ll soon be doing a celebration fort that as well as having a special photograph taken.”
That’s because King’s son won’t be home in Rhode Island until the end of January and Rotondi will see her great, great grand child who just so happens to be King’s grandson.
Thus, Ursula Sorgel Rotondi, who as noted worked as a cashier for 30 years at Gregg’s Restaurant and retired at age 85, has been as King wanted it known: “the best mom ever! She’s a grandparent, friend and mentor to everyone!”
Moreover, as King said with excitement ringing in her voice: “Mom used to bowl, she love to knit and crochet and is fantastic cook and baker. She also enjoys reading and or course her main devotion is to her fantastic family – each and every one of us – who love our mother dearly.”
King then quickly paused before adding with a special smile on her face: “Tonight was special; mom was born on January 28, 1930 but we celebrated early due to the holidays so everyone could be home. We’d love to believe there will be a 95th birthday party, but one never knows.”