Maria Siani of Laguna Beach celebrated her 96th birthday Wednesday by cutting the ribbon for a car parade on Dolphin Avenue.
Wearing a pink birthday hat and surrounded by balloons, Siani waived at the visitors in two dozen cars that drove by her home to share their birthday congratulations.
“I didn’t know all this was going on,” she said. “I would have had my nice makeup on.”
Sandra Siani, Maria’s daughter, asked neighbors and friends from as far away as San Pedro to drive by for the birthday surprise.
Fire Division Chief Api Weinert blasted the siren on his white emergency vehicle and wished Siani a happy birthday through its intercom. An ambulance crew from Doctor’s Ambulance Service also drove by Siani’s house to wish her well.
Several of Siani’s neighbors clapped as they watched the parade from their balconies and stairs Wednesday evening. 2020 Citizen of the Year Sande St. John also dropped-off a birthday present of face masks and toilet paper.
Sandra Siani said it was the first time her mother left her apartment since March 16, besides going onto her balcony or walk down the block.
“I like my fresh air, I like to walk,” Maria Siani said. “Who wants to stay in the house?”
Incredibly, Siani said ran the Corona del Mar Scenic 5K just two years ago.
Maria Siani said her family immigrated from Italy during the Great Depression and she lived through World War II but she’s still experienced nothing like the coronavirus in her 96 years. She has missed going to her local park and seeing her friends during the stay-at-home order.
Sandra Siani planned a special birthday dinner of crab legs for her mother after Wednesday’s parade. She added that she found the motivation to organize the event because of the inspiring upbringing she enjoyed from both of her parents.
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