When it comes to birthday parties, few can top Billie Bloom's recent celebration. A parade marched up her street and to her front door to...

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When it comes to birthday parties, few can top Billie Bloom’s recent celebration. A parade marched up her street and to her front door to serenade her with “Happy Birthday.” She turned 79.

Bloom has long been a volunteer at Bennett Elementary, a mentor through the VIBES (Volunteers in Bellevue’s Education System) program. The Bellevue school sits near the Redmond/Bellevue border, which explains how two dozen second-graders could march from their classroom to her Redmond home. The area also has sidewalks that kept this particular parade safe.

Teacher Sandy Eschen led the march to an improvised version of “Camptown Races” — “Oh, the Bennett kids sing this song. Doo Dah, Doo Dah. To Billie’s house we walked quite long. All the Doo Dah day.”

Children delivered cards and birthday wishes to Bloom. Esophagus cancer has, at least temporarily, forced her to give up mentoring Eschen’s class.

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“We had a good time,” Bloom said. “I showed them my huge back yard, which is really Tam O’Shanter Golf Course. My husband told the kids he had to mow all the grass.”

She and her husband, Allan, share the same sense of humor that has earned her the love and affection of numerous students as she teases and encourages them.

“We cannot spell without Billie,” Eschen said. “She’s been in charge of helping students learn to spell words for years. We miss her for so many reasons.”

Bloom misses the students. She started volunteering as a mentor to just one student but switched to become Eschen’s classroom mentor because she wanted to spend time with more children.

She’s getting that wish in another way these days.

“My whole family of eight children have been coming to visit one at a time,” she said.

Live wire

Aberhet “Abby” Gurmu of Snoqualmie officially becomes Puget Sound Energy’s 1-millionth customer today.

In a 10 a.m. ceremony, Steve Reynolds, president and chief executive officer of the Bellevue-based utility, will personally thank the immigrant from Eritrea.

Reynolds will be bringing quite the housewarming gift to the new resident in the Habitat for Humanity East King County development at Snoqualmie Ridge. Puget Sound Energy is presenting her with an energy-efficient washer and dryer.

Art walk

Miriam Stiefel recently collected art supplies for Gilda’s Club Seattle. (Gilda’s provides social and emotional support to cancer patients and their families.)

She attached a flier to paper bags, distributed them throughout her Juanita neighborhood and went back to pick them up a few days later. Neighbors contributed more than 30 pounds of art materials.

This is the third time Stiefel, a ninth-grader at University Prep, has collected art supplies for Gilda’s.

No one in her family has cancer. But her parents, Sheryl and Mark, have encouraged their daughters to be involved in the community.

The concept took hold with Miriam.

Twice now she has grown her auburn hair long, and then had it cut off and sent to Locks of Love, a program that makes human-hair wigs for children undergoing chemotherapy.

One last grin

The latest e-mail joke making the rounds gives you a good excuse to forget spring cleaning and reorganizing your desk. It reads: “Organized people are just too lazy to look for things.”

Sherry Grindeland: 206-515-5633 or sgrindeland@seattletimes.com