by Patria Baradi Pacis
I first met Nolda at the Montauk Senior Nutrition Center, fifteen years ago. We also worked together as volunteers at the Montauk Community Church’s Rummage sale, and had a lot of fun. Later, we found out, that we had met before, at McBurney’s YMCA on 23rd Street, New York in the 1960’s. Nolda, dancing the Mexican Hat Dance accompanied by her father, me as a young girl, dancing the Philippine Bamboo Dance or Tinikling with brother Joe, as members of the Philippine Dance Company. We even exchanged old pictures and giggled as teenagers.
When my home town, Marikina, was devastated by floods and many lives were lost, Nolda showed her generous nature by making a donation to my brother’s Rotary Club, to help those affected. During the Center’s Annual Over 90’s luncheon, Nolda showed her artistic talent, by decorating clam shells and giving them to each celebrant as momentos. She also drew beautiful posters, to make the room more festive. ‘
“Anyone who met Nolda was impressed by her positive energy, generous caring, happy spirit, helpfulness, creativity and sense of humor. She was also legendary as a selfless daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother,” relayed to me by Nolda’s sister, Ana Celia Zentella.
Nolda was born on May 9, 1932 and was raised with her sister, in South Bronx, New York, by a Puerto Rican mother, Mónica Elias and Mexican father, Ahmed Zentella. She married Salvador Vivó and had four children: Sallyann, Nancy, Frances and Sal Jr.. She was a lab technician in NY hospitals and earned her BA at Queens College and her MA at City University, in Education. Nolda loved children and taught English and Spanish in kindergarten for 24 years. She also spoke Korean and learned how to drive at the late age of 74. She enjoyed making people laugh and won the NYC Comedy Club teacher’s contest in 1997 and the audience contest in 2002, to appear on stage with comedian Yakov Smirnov in Missouri.
Nolda died peacefully, in her sleep, at her Port Royal co-op in Montauk, on July 2, with her loving, caregiver, Girlie by her side. She was 90 years old. Although she battled cancer for three decades, she never complained. She loved life and was always grateful for what she had. She leaves behind her sister Ana, children, Sallyann, Frances, and Sal Jr., grandchildren, Leslie and Andrea, and two great grandchildren, Valentina and Javier.
There will be a celebration of Nolda’s life on Monday, September 12 at St. Therese of Lisieux Church at 10:30am together with her daughter Nancy Vivó-Alfieri, who passed away, three days before, on June 29. A private ceremony aboard the Viking Classic will follow, to disperse their ashes on Fort Pond Bay, Nolda’s favorite place.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested a donation to benefit low income students pursuing a degree in bilingual education named, The Nolda M. Vivó Scholarship. The address is Comite’ Noviembre, 45 E. Hartsdale Ave, Suite 3L, Hartsdale, NY 10530.
May you rest in peace, my friend. You will be missed.