About this time 68 years ago, I was making my Mom feel - at the same time - both physically uncomfortable and greatly relieved. Finally. I was going to make my way into the world.
I've had some pretty cool birthdays in my life. Lots of them actually, but several that stand out.
My Mom made a big deal out of all our birthdays. We had parties, we had cake and ice cream. She made sure we had a special day. My cake of choice was her oh so very delicious banana cake with her special rich, scrumptious butter cream frosting. And because my birthday was often so near Easter, on top of the cake was a bunny.
My bunny was a waxed figurine about 8 inches tall. He sat on every one of my birthday cakes from age 3 until age 18. I skipped a year or two after I went off to college but then happened to be home one Spring break. Mom made the cake and presented it with a flourish except... there was no bunny!! Where the fuck was my bunny??!! Mom casually replied that she'd tossed the bunny. WHAT??!!! TOSSED MY BUNNY????? Sure it was old and dusty and in one move or another the top of his head had melted flat. But, he was MY bunny and she just TOSSED him??!!
About a decade later, I got a fancy box from a fancy place just before my birthday. The fancy box contained another fancy box with a card saying all this fancy had come from Mom. I dug through all the packaging to find...
Bunny 2.0 who now lives with me all year round.
When I was 10, my birthday fell on the day before Easter and my Mom pulled out all the party stops. We had an Easter Bonnet party/tea at the country club. She hand made special invitations that instructed each girl to make her own bonnet. And they did! And there were some wonderful creations. The local newspaper came and covered the event and it filled the front page of the style section the next Sunday. Best hat went to Marion Davis who had taken a cabbage and removed all but the outer leaves. She wore it as a green veined cloche adorned with a green velvet bow.
On March 28, 1965, I turned 16. My Mom took me to the drivers license bureau and I drove us home. My Mom was as excited as I was. My drivers license bought me freedom and bought her a chauffeur for my younger brother and sister.
On March 28, 1989, I lived in Rochester, MN. I worked at an IBM plant on the edge of town. You pulled off the interstate and then turned into the plant grounds. Rochester had this bull billboard. (actually they still do! Google just told me. His name is Snappy.) The bull was stationed all over town announcing pancake breakfasts and basketball tournaments and church suppers and all kinds of weird things. It was always somewhere. On March 28, 1989, it was on the corner and you pulled into the IBM plant and it said:
My friend, John, was the mastermind. He originally had my phone number on the sign, but HR made him take the number off. We were hosting some big clients that day and my job was to stay in the background and make sure the executives and the plant looked amazing. Hilariously, thanks to John, every one of the clients asked for me the minute they got there. And one of them had a gynormous cake with candles delivered for lunch. It was funny all day long. (The wife of one of my co-workers drove over and snapped this photo for me. I send her a silent thanks every time I look a it.)
In 2004, they opened up a Krispy Kreme donut shop a very easy mile south of here. Krispy Kreme was born in Winston-Salem and I not only grew up with those marvelous donuts, but Pat Rudolph - daughter of Mr. Krispy Kreme - was my counselor at camp on year and her brother Carter was my date to the 6th grade Patrol Boys skating party. And, I made a nice, tidy, sum on their stock in their early years of going public. So my ties to Krispy Kreme have always been special and it was really nice of them to bring me my own store for my birthday.
This morning, I celebrated 68 by picking up a half dozen of my favorites.
Some birthdays go by with just me, quietly being grateful for the really amazing life I've had and for getting to have it for another year.
68. It's astounding really.
To Be Continued