Sarah Rosenberg, an advocate for children and lover of music

Feb 5, 2013

Sarah Rosenberg of Wellfleet, died on Dec. 31, 2012. She was 88 years old.

Maybe lots of people know there are three verses to the Happy Birthday song. Sarah Rosenberg knew. She knew all three verses, as well as the words to hundreds, perhaps thousands of other songs.

Her family says she probably spent half of her days singing. As a student in New York City, Dan Rosenberg says his mother would study lyric sheets as she road the subway from Washington Heights to Brooklyn College. Broadway musicals and Big Band standards were her favorites.

"Music was a very big part of her life," Dan Rosenberg said. "Not professionally. She was a school psychologist, and I think one of the people she really touched and influenced is going to be coming by."

It was an act of kindness 45 years ago that first brought the Rosenberg family to this secluded, four-bedroom home along Wellfleet's unfrequented High Toss Road. 

"We were renting every year in the summers until '67," Dan said, "and the house we were in, while we were at the beach, caught fire and burned down. We came back and it was in ashes." 

Members of the Wellfleet Volunteer Fire Department gave the Rosenbergs clothes to wear and a place to stay -- this place, a house now warmly brimming with books and well-labeled file folders. 

There's a piano in the corner and photographs all around. It's a home on two acres that Sarah and her husband Bernard paid 12,000 dollars for the summer Wellfleet's volunteers came to the family's aid.

"The Rosenbergs from New York City immediately became, what's known as washashores here, but Wellfletians. And to this day we have an amazingly strong identity. And my mom loved being part of the community here."

(This is a partial transcript. You can hear Sarah Rosenberg's full story by clicking on the LISTEN button.)