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April 29, 2011 > Bombshell 80th birthday

Bombshell 80th birthday

By Julie Grabowski

Diamonds might be a girl's best friend, but Marilyn Monroe herself would suit most of the guys out there just fine. And who knew that she is what you get for turning 80?

The special singing telegram was eagerly awaited by a collection of over 60 friends and family members gathered under the trees of Niles Community Park on Saturday, April 16 to celebrate the birthday of their beloved Meryilido "Medi" Sira. Siblings, kids, nephews and nieces, grandkids, great grandkids and friends came from the Tri-Cities and well beyond to surprise Medi with a day - and guest - he would never forget.

A long time Marilyn Monroe fan, Medi attended a performance she gave for troops in the '50s while he was on tour in Korea, but only remembers the beauty as being tiny and too far away to really see. He could never have imagined an encore performance over 50 years later, this time up close and personal.

The iconic blond swept into the party as white and pristine as frosting on a cake, leaving the guy who's never been at a loss for words in astonishment. Smiling in pleasure and disbelief, Medi dabbed at his eyes and tried to respond to Marilyn's cooing banter. Amid kisses she serenaded him with "I Wanna Be Loved by You" and, of course, "Happy Birthday" before departing into the happy land of memory.

Kids and adults alike were then treated to the Magic of Gerald Joseph before a picnic lunch and birthday cake.

Medi began his life in Niles, born to Alberto and Heramedehilda Sira on April 13, 1931. He grew up in the historic town along with 16 younger brothers and sisters, attending Niles Grammar School and making fond and lasting memories along the way. Medi fought in the Korean War from 1952-1954 as a proud U.S. Marine then returned to his local roots. He worked in Union City at Pacific States Steel Corporation for 28 years, and drove trucks for 35 years for Flurdly Trucking and Plato Nursery. He raised children Wayne, Albert, and Bernice with wife Patricia, and is now a grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of 9. Of their 33 year union, Patricia jokes, "He stays on his side, I stay on my side."

Those who know him best call Medi a very outgoing and friendly person, an easy going guy who loves to joke around. Siblings recall him as a troublemaker, and agree that he hasn't grown out of it, always ready to stir the pot for a little fun. Medi is a strong believer in putting family first, in always sticking together and helping each other.

Friend of almost 60 years Charlie Edell remembers Medi letting him use his 1959 Lincoln for the senior ball. "He's wonderful, very, very funny, very caring," says Edell. "He acts tough but he has a big heart."

Son Wayne tells of his dad collecting water from the springs and cutting firewood as a boy, and remembers riding around together in his dad's dump truck. "My grandmother said he always meets a friend," he says. "His personality is so outgoing."

Youngest sister Alice has fond memories of her older brother, recalling how when he came home he'd tell her to get his eddiwaz (slippers), and remembers the smell of Old Spice when he was getting ready to go out. "He's really funny; he just always has something to say," Alice says. "He's the guy at the party everyone's around."

Daughter Bernice's admiration and love is clear and simple. "My dad is the dad everyone would want to have. He's everything," she says.

Though he moved to Newark in 1977 where he still lives, Medi says, "All my memories are in Niles." He thinks of his childhood a lot and marvels at how Niles has changed over the years, as well as the changes in childhood life. "If we wanted toys we had to make them," he says. "We used to make scooters out of apricot boxes." He remembers riding the trains that passed through town and talking to the engineers, flying kites, walking to school, playing marbles and with yo-yos. Medi says those days were a lot of fun. "I had a good life, a real good life."

Retired life finds Medi enjoying long drives, family get-togethers, and watching his grandkids in their various activities. He also spends two days a week at the Union Hall talking with friends about the old days. But now, there just might be some new tales to tell; after all, what can beat getting Marilyn Monroe on your birthday?

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