On a Friday afternoon, Weinberg Campus resident Millie Mufford was working on a 1,000-piece puzzle when she looked up and spotted her eldest son, Tom, walking toward her. Alongside Tom was another silver-haired gentleman carrying a huge bouquet of long-stem roses. He approached the table, knelt beside Millie’s chair and asked, “Do you remember me?”
“LOU-EE!” Millie squealed with delight, her eyes brimming with tears.
Her surprise guest was Louis Materon-Munoz′, the American Field Service exchange student from Bogota, Colombia, who at age 16 spent the 1963-’64 school year with the Muffords in their Middleport, New York, home. At the time, Millie and her husband, Harold, were raising three children: Tom, Ron, and Linda. Their fourth child, Lisa, didn’t arrive until 1966, so she never knew Louis well – but she’s heard lots of stories from her siblings.
“I know that Louis really became a part of our family. He was always so grateful to my parents for the opportunity to live here,” Lisa says, adding that he kept in touch with the Muffords year after year, sending holiday cards and notes.
Millie remembers Louis as “a good boy who fit in well with our family.” He wasn’t a fussy eater, she says, but his eggs had to be well done and would drink only coffee he’d brought from his native country.
After earning his college degree back in Colombia, Louis returned to the US and permanently settled in Texas, where he is a professor of biology at the University of Texas. When Louis and his wife began planning a trip to the Buffalo area to attend Middleport High School’s 55th class reunion, his top priority was to visit his American mom, who turned 96 this year.
“One of the first questions Louis asked me was, ‘Mom, do you still have your apple pie recipe?’ I told him, ‘I’m not sure what happened to that!’” Millie explains, “but what he really wanted to know what kind of apples I used.”
Millie and her late husband, Harold, shared 70 wonderful years of marriage prior to his passing two years ago. She’s proud to share that Harold served as mayor of Middleport for six years. “Best mayor they ever had!” she exclaims.
Today, Millie – who recently became a great-great grandmother – is happy to call Weinberg Campus home.
“I love it here! The people are very nice. I love them all – and I think they all love me,” she says.
Affectionately known as The Puzzle Lady, Millie’s love of doing puzzles has inspired many fellow residents to take up the hobby, prompting the addition of several puzzle tables throughout the building.
“Puzzles are good for us. They keep us young!” Millie says with a cheerful grin, pointing to her head.
If you have any questions, and/or want to learn more about Weinberg Campus, please email Anna Jacobi at email@example.com.