Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Today is my 67th birthday. The best thing about it is that I'm getting closer to going Home and looking into my Saviour's face.

I did get a great gift from my husband, as I've mentioned before, a Kindle. Great, great gift.

I was thinking about birthdays back when...

We didn't do much to celebrate birthdays. I got a gift from my mother and father, usually clothing or new shoes. When I got to be a teenager, my dad would give me a piece of jewelry -- the real thing! I loved those gifts.

When I was 11, my father got me this really awful blouse with a matching skirt, so that when I wore it, it looked like a dress. What made it awful was the material it was made from. It was a gray background with safety pins holding small daisies to the material. You had to see it. Another thing about it, was that my mom hadn't had any oversight on dad's picking out this gift. When she saw it, she was aghast. However, the good thing was that it didn't fit me -- it was miles too big, so I wasn't able to wear it for a couple of years. And dad, in his nagging way, asked me almost every day, when I was going to wear the outfit he bought me. I'd smile and say, "It doesn't fit yet."

By the time it finally fit me, the material's ugliness didn't matter too much, because I finally had a semblance of a female shape, and the outfit actually looked good on me. I wore that all through my teenage years, usually on Sunday (which made my father happy) when the kids at school couldn't see it. I mean I would have been ridiculed for the material of the dress, but no one at church would have laughed except behind my back, and then I wouldn't know about it.

We usually got our favorite dinner and mom made a cake. I loved my mother, but she really wasn't that good at baking cakes. Her pies, though -- yummy. But whoever heard of a birthday pie?

When I passed the age where candles and hoopla were enjoyed a lot (about when I was 10 or 11) the birthday dinner was a formality, and we just ate our dinner then I got my gift. That was it.

I have to say that my husband didn't fare much better on birthdays. And unfortunately we carried this into our marriage for ourselves and our children. We just didn't make much of birthdays. Until CYNDI!!!!

I put that in all capital letters because my Cyndi wouldn't let birthdays be anything but a large celebration. She started in June to remind us how many days it was until her birthday in late October, and she would remind me, at least, every day exactly how she wanted, and how to celebrate it -- that is what kind of cake she wanted, how many presents she wanted (good luck with that one), and what kind of party she wanted (another good luck with that one). Birthdays were family events, and poor Cyndi didn't get many of those parties she planned. She did get her presents, though, and on time.

I think Alan and I did pretty well with birthday celebrations for the children since we both felt that while our own birthdays were celebrated as well as our parents could afford, we would go a little further to make the day special for our children. That specialness included their favorite supper, their favorite ice cream, a cake (store bought -- I inherited my mom's inability to make a very good cake), several gifts, and the best gift of all -- they could stay up as late as they wanted, even if there was a school day the next day.

Now, Alan and I have 13 grandchildren, and I try to get gifts to them on time -- I'm a month behind on Annie's gift which I have purchased and wrapped -- the same with my own children. Of course, in this day of electronic gifting, that's easy. Just send them a gift card and they're thrilled -- at least that's what they tell me.


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