BATAVIA — An annual event has returned to 400 Towers on East Main Street, courtesy of Gloria “Midge” Cotter — a Swiss steak lunch to celebrate residents of the building who are at least 90 years old.
Gloria “Midge” Cotter has organized the lunch for about the last 20 years, except for a couple of years when it was not held due to COVID. 400 Towers residents can come every year after the turn 90, Midge said.
“I started this because I lost my mom at 60, my dad at 50 and I appreciated old age, so I asked permission to come and cook a dinner,” she said. This is something she’s done almost every year since.
Midge Cotter, who pays for the lunches herself, said the residents who can come appreciate the meal.
“They all look forward to becoming 90,” she said. “I had a woman who came the other day and said, ‘I’ll be 90 at Easter time.’ I said, ‘You come next year.’ People look forward to it. As they age, who knows how long they’re going to be with us? I don’t think it’s something that’s going to go on after I’m gone.”
And afterward there won’t be any dishes for the residents to do, Midge Cotter added.
“Leave it all to Midge,” she said, laughing.
The five people sitting at the table Saturday got to enjoy Swiss steak, carrots, mashed potatoes, biscuits and homemade cake. The menu stays the same each year — always Swiss steak.
“I was also with the Salvation Army years ago and I was with them when we made our first steak ... We had a success and they’re still doing it,” Midge Cotter said.
Aside from the lunch, Midge volunteers to cook dinners for 400 Towers residents on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and breakfast on Thursdays. Her daughter, Linda Cotter, has helped with the meals.
“She’s an amazing woman and she does an amazing job,” Linda Cotter said, patting her mom on the shoulder.
Enjoying their lunches were 400 Towers residents Hazel Preedom, Julia Scalia, Eleanor Day, Frank Aquino and Donald Hart. Hart is 95 and the other four turned 90 within the last seven months.
“If it’s food, I like it,” Hart said.
Everyone at the table said he or she thought the meal was great.
“I think it’s darn nice of her to do it and a good time to do it,” Preedom said.
What do they like the most about it?
“I don’t have to cook,” Scalia said succinctly, laughing.
She added that she wouldn’t need to have supper Saturday night.
“This is about what I have for supper. I’ll just have a quick snack,” she said.
Hart said he used to be the only one coming to the lunches. There used to be another man who came, but he passed away, Hart said.
“I’ve only lived here, probably, six years at the most,” he said.
Aquino and his wife, Carol, both live there and have been married for 62 years. Carol Aquino, 85, still has a few years before she’s old enough to come to the special, annual lunch.
Scalia says she and her husband, Tony, moved to 400 Towers around 2011. Tony passed away nine years ago, she said.
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