happy-birthday

Today I sat here in my 50 year old body, thinking with my 50 year old brain about birthdays of my past. I don’t have rock solid memories of many of them…after all, I’m 50 now. Remember?

But I do have little snippets of memories from as far back as 6 or so. They are not really stories – at least not all of them, but they are worth sharing (in my 50 year old opinion anyway).

My earliest birthday memory was turning 6 or so. I remember being home alone with mom…all the other kids and chauffeur dad were at Tuesday night Sokol. We were in the kitchen and my mom gave me my present which I eagerly opened. It was a 45 record of Ernie from Sesame Street singing “Rubber Duckie.” At least I think it was “Rubber Duckie.”

I was heavily into Sesame Street at the time so I was thrilled – plus I had just obtained my very first record – something I could play on our little 45 phonograph. But thinking back, I realized how hard times must have been for my parents if all I got for my birthday was a record that cost less than a dollar- and why such little fanfare was made in the way of giving me my present. In retrospect, I’m so glad I was happy with my gift.

Money must have been better a year or two later. I woke up on my birthday to find a Baby Tenderlove Doll in my arms. She was all I had wanted, and she was what I got.

I don’t know when the birthday dinner theme took off in our family, but if it was your birthday you were able to choose what you wanted no questions asked. For the longest time I had my dad take me to the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant on Rt. 46 for the turkey dinner. I don’t know why I would choose that. I had just had turkey at Thanksgiving the week, or sometimes days before. But there was something about that HoJo’s turkey platter that called to me. Maybe it was the yellow gravy.

Years later my tastes changed and my birthday dinner of choice was ravioli. Still is.

I can remember one birthday where we had to travel. We had been visiting my mom’s best friend, known to us as Aunt Dorothy, who had moved to Wayland, Massachusettes. December 1st was our travel back day, and I have to admit I was bummed – stuck in the car all day…happy birthday to me.

So my mom catered to me the whole ride home. I got to pick the lunch spot, I got to sit up front, I got to pick the music….because it was MY BIRTHDAY. Oh, and I took advantage of it too. By Connecticut my sisters wanted to kill me – I had been chirping about it being MY BIRTHDAY all day long. I think they were secretly planning on ditching me at a gas station somewhere south of Mystic Sea Port.

My family wasn’t big on throwing birthday parties, but I can recall two. One when I was in first grade – my husband’s brother was invited. I had a huge crush on him in first grade, and he didn’t seem too happy to be there. I think he gave me a dress up set. Hubby thinks it’s hysterical that his mom had to go out and shop for a birthday present for me 25 years before we knew each other existed.

The other party was when I was in 7th or 8th grade. That one was a blast – boys and girls and every single present I got was an album. Chicago’s Greatest Hits, Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl, and ABBA Arrival. Ah, ABBA. I played that record a thousand times.

And here I sit – 50 years old and thinking back on all those birthdays. If I’m still writing this blog when I’m 100, I guess I’ll reminisce about the fifty still to come. That would be pretty cool.

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