I am Meta Adler a born and raised Savannah girl with a penchant for getting into culinary adventures. In fact, my career in food began at the tender age of three, when I lectured my grandmother on the proper way to cook grits. She rightfully recalls that I was “quite a bossy little girl,” or what you call “sassy”. It is safe to say that I am still that same way today, especially in the kitchen. So, you can call me, Meta Sassafras Adler.
After graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in nutrition, I started a small catering and private chef company, and later opened a restaurant on Broughton street, called Dept. 7 East. Today, I specialize in food styling and events, and I have the great honor to work with the famous Susan Mason. If you do not know her, you should, she is sort of a big deal, and one of the best caterers in the country.
But enough blabbing on about myself, let’s get down to the real reason I am reaching out to you today. My grandfather, Lee Adler, suffered from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This year marks the 5th anniversary of his passing. I am deeply honored to be competing as a 2017 Alzheimer’s Association Dancing Star of Coastal Georgia, as I cannot think of a better way to celebrate his life and legacy.
Big Lee, as we called him, was quite the character and whole heartedly loved Savannah. He was an ardent ambassador for historic preservation here and around the world. He was the recipient of many awards, including the National Medal of Arts for his work in preservation. He loved adventures, especially those involving deep sea fishing, dove hunts, driving his BMW well above the speed limit, and fireworks. Mischievous should have been his middle name, and I loved getting into trouble with him. He was notorious for his practical jokes. At a very young age, he taught us how to flip spoons into our water glasses at fancy restaurants and to sing the “family song” which ended in a very inappropriate word that rhymed with “bowl”. All of these shenanigans horrified my grandmother and parents, but made my grandfather’s eyes light up with glee. I often wonder how many water glasses were broken all over the world by my grandfather.
My grandfather has a special place in my heart. I can credit him for my determination, enthusiasm, and love for this city. For better or worse, I get my fondness of fireworks and my sassy side, from him as well. I moved back to Savannah, after graduating from college so that I could be close to him in his final years. At this point, he was under the care of the wonderful people at The Oaks on Skidaway Island. I was very fortunate that it was not until his final weeks that he did not recognize me as his granddaughter. However, I will not soon forget watching him slowly lose his vibrant personality and that devilish sparkle in his eyes to this disease.
My grandmother often recounts that my grandfather’s love of dancing and music was one of his many qualities that made her fall in love with him over 60 years ago. I fondly remember him spinning me around to his favorite Johnny Mercer tunes, and our last dance together at the Cotillion Ball. I look forward to making my grandfather proud as I perfect my dance moves and work toward my goal of raising $20,000.00 for Alzheimer’s Association. I will also be dancing in memory of Page Hungerpiller, in support of Nita Vereen, and friends near and far affected by this disease.
I ask you to please join me in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Whether or not your family has been directly affected by this disease, I am sure we all have friends who have or will be in the future. It is with these people in mind that I ask you to consider making a donation to my campaign, and help me reach my fundraising goals. For Big Lee, and the millions of others who suffer from, or are affected Alzheimer’s disease, let’s join together to make this fundraising event the best yet!
See you on the dance floor!
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