Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

He's Lovin' It: McDonald's Fan Marks 107 Years with 'Big' Cake; It's Harold Bergman's Third Year Celebrating at McDonald's; This Year Was Made a Little Special

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

He's Lovin' It: McDonald's Fan Marks 107 Years with 'Big' Cake; It's Harold Bergman's Third Year Celebrating at McDonald's; This Year Was Made a Little Special

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN SCANLAN

The Wright brothers were four months away from their first flight when Harold Bergman was born 107 years ago today.

World War I was 11 years away, and Ray Kroc didn't open his first McDonald's until Bergman was 52.

That's OK - Bergman has made up for lost time since then, indulging in regular visits to the Golden Arches up the road from the Jacksonville home he and wife Lillian share at Cypress Village. While he apparently didn't want a lot of fuss made over his birthday, he got it Thursday.

Balloons and birthday decorations flew high in the surfboard-themed dining area at the McDonald's on Beach Boulevard, near San Pablo Road. A huge Big Mac-shaped cake awaited Bergman's arrival at 11:30 a.m. Joined by his wife and home caregiver, he came in carefully on a walker before sitting down, a snack wrap and soda first on his agenda.

"Isn't this nice," his wife said.

As friends and neighbors gathered around him, he said it was a surprise.

"It's very good," Bergman said, looking at his cake. "It's wonderful."

Maybe it wasn't a surprise he wanted, according to caregiver Evelyn Forderling and daughter-in-law Haze Bergman. You see, he normally gets driven to the drive-through to get his food. This time, Forderling fibbed to get him inside for the party.

"We didn't let him know because we knew he would fight it all the way, so I told him 'Wow, the drive-through is closed,'" Forderling said. "He kept telling me for the last week and a half, no parties. He's probably angry, but he's handling it really well."

"It was a challenge getting him here and in the building," Bergman added. "This has been one of his favorite locations for years, and they have been coming here for years. He's amazing and has a lot of strength and determination."

Bergman was born in Bloomfield, N.J., on Aug. 20, 1903. After serving in the Army, he went to law school at Rutgers University and became an attorney, meeting renowned physicist Albert Einstein at a Rutgers-Princeton football game.

He was married for about 50 years to his first wife, Marianne; they had a son, Stuart, and two grandsons, Mark and Ken. When it was time to retire, he came to Jacksonville, keeping active with a decade of pro bono work for Legal Aid. …

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