So, just who does Marjorie Weintraub think she is — George H. W. Bush?
“No,” she answered somewhat curtly. “Absolutely not!”
Although her politics apparently are far afield of the 41st president of the United States, Weintraub conceded that she was inspired by his decision to take a flying leap for his 75th birthday, when he soared in the skies on his first-ever effort at sky diving.
“I like what he did, thumbing his nose at old age,” the Blue Bell resident said.
On June 14, it was her turn. The septuagenarian — she turned 75 on April 29 — took to the skies to celebrate her birthday as well as her granddaughter’s graduation from high school.
She was calm before, during and after, she said.
“I did expect to be nervous but I really wasn’t,” the retired educator said after her jump at Vermont Skydiving Adventures, near Vergennes, where her granddaughter, Alison Kahn, lives. “I wasn’t scared; it was fun feeling like you’re flying like a bird.”
“My friends think I’m crazy to do this,” she continued, “but I’ve always been a daredevil.”
Sky diving isn’t even at the top of what she calls her “Jewish bucket list.”
“I want to do even more,” she said, and continue advocating for adventure at any age.
For her four grandkids’ Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, she and her husband, Dr. Sheldon Weintraub, took them each on a special trip, several of which included elements of adventure. During an Alaskan cruise with one grandchild, she went ziplining — soaking in the sights as she traveled by cable and pulleys suspended high above land. On another trip, she rappelled down a waterfall in Costa Rica.
And for their golden wedding anniversary last year, the Weintraubs packed their trunks for an Oriental adventure that included riding an elephant bareback and getting inside a cage with a tiger in Thailand.
She can barely contain herself talking about a lifetime of challenges that includes surviving breast cancer, undergoing surgery for a pacemaker last summer and writing a book of advice for teachers that she is attempting to get published. She taught for decades on a variety of levels, from fifth grade to graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania.
To pursue her love of animals, she recently completed training and has become a docent at the Philadelphia Zoo.
But perhaps there is a limit to her lifestyle of the fast and furious.
“I’ve thought about paragliding,” she said, but her cardiologist advised her to take a breath before considering it.
There is one thing that she admits to fearing: “My greatest fear is of being injured and being incapacitated."
Although her husband watched the sky diving adventure, he declined her invitation to “Come Fly With Me.”
“My husband,” Weintraub said, “is a nervous wreck, he’s a worrier. He grew up in South Philly — he’s not comfortable unless he has cement under his feet.”
As for granddaughter Alison, it was an ideal way to bond with Grandmom. Weintraub said she made her an offer she couldn’t refuse: “I’m paying; it’s her graduation gift.”