Remembrance of Birthdays Past

FirstBirthdayHere it is: my first birthday! The War had ended the previous year and things were looking good. (Happily, that green wallpaper and those drapes were soon to come to an end, as well. Very ’40s.)

I’m apparently very skeptical of the whole birthday business, even though my mom seems to be enjoying it. It also must have been hot as I’m apparently not wearing a lot of clothes (this was pre-air conditioning).

I don’t remember this; but I do remember my third birthday, celebrated in the kitchen with my neighbor, George Dormody (4), and his mom and my mom. George and I were enthroned in separate high chairs, and we each received a huge (by our standards) pinwheel lollipop. He got the red one that I wanted: and it was my birthday, too! I still feel that was unfair. I’ve never been partial to green, especially in non-vegetable food. But mom insisted that George was my “guest.” Ah, life! (Later that same year, George pushed me down the basement stairs, so he could have the chance to say, “If that’s the worst that ever happened to you, you’re lucky!“)

Another memorable one was my fourth or fifth. A big box arrived, and my 20-year-old brother opened it and set me into it. Then he lifted me out, and I was sitting in a little Pennsylvania-Dutch rocking chair! It was black with gold trim; and I loved it right up until I had to give it away in 1992 when we sold our house.

Being born the week of the 4th of July meant that many years were bad for parties, as people went away for the holiday. I thought this year would be no exception — except things are looking up. I spent the Fourth with friends who barbecued for me; and will spend tomorrow with Tony, my best buddy for 17 years (where did the time go?!?) I suspect his “surprise” gift will be a big bottle of Jack Daniels, which we will both sample liberally. Should be fun!

I also remember a 16th birthday where my mom made a great lunch for me, my then-boyfriend, and another couple. We were all dressed up, but mom sensibly used paper plates to minimize dish washing. When she handed Bob a cup of hot coffee, however, the handle failed, and it ended up in his lap. He was as gracious as one could be under the circumstances: I wonder to this day if he’s ever been able to have kids!

In addition to parties with friends, there was always a big do with the family (grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles . . .) After my cousin Joyce married Steve Picchietti, I shared my birthday with him (or was it one of their kids? Oh dear!)

One year when I was in high school, I hitchhiked across the country with another girl, ten boys and two English teachers (plus a wife of one of them). When we got to Yosemite, the boys made me a cake. But they didn’t read the high-altitude instructions, and it collapsed into a mess of crumbs. They found a paper bag, poured the cake into it, stirred in some candles, and added the contents of a jar of peanut butter as “frosting”. It was the only do-it-yourself cake I ever received. What a mess! I’ve never enjoyed a cake more.

And last year, my Persian roommate took me out to a Persian restaurant (and that weekend, with his girlfriend, to one of my favorite French restaurants). We enjoyed a great meal: and then a famous Persian singer walked in! He apparently is a huge celebrity (maybe on the scale of Beyoncé) in Iran. He spoke with us graciously and then met a friend for dinner. Great fun!

At the moment, I can’t remember too many other birthdays. But perhaps Mimsey, Gill, Sylvia and Linda can come up with some others. Meanwhile, Happy July 7th!

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