This past weekend I ventured into my sixty-sixth year of life. Yes, you read that right…sixty-six years! I spent the day eating way too much good food, laughing and just goofing around with family and friends at a Christmas get together that also included a bit of a birthday celebration. With a December birthday, one becomes quite accustomed to spending the day celebrating Christmas, St. Lucia Day, Hanukkah or some other fete that happens around that time of year. Not a new thing to me, it seems that my first birthday was celebrated along with my brother’s fourth – he was born in October, so perhaps in 1949, it was just easier and more cost-effective to share a day in common.I uncovered these old pix recently and luckily my mom carefully wrote, in white ink on the black pages of the leather-bound photo album, the event and the date of most pix included. This party took place in November and since we lived in SoCal, tables and chairs were dragged out to the backyard and the fabulous fashions of the day reflect the warmer weather. Sorry for the quality; but sixty-five year old black and white images that have gone unprotected for so many years are faded and fragile; but I did my best.
In case you wondered, that is me in what was called a Taylor Tot in those days. I do remember riding and sitting in it and I still remember the details of it. It was turquoise, with a row of beads to keep me entertained I suppose; and it was made so it could be pushed like a stroller or, with the bottom panel removed, I could push myself along which gave me some mobility before I could walk on my own. Just for the record, I was a very late walker, due to some weird round-heeled shoes that kept making me tip over. Once my mom discovered that it was the shoes not the kid and changed them up, I was zipping around town! Back to the Taylor Tot, one of my favorite stories that my dad liked to tell involved him working in the garage and me in the Taylor Tot, which was tied with a short rope to an anchor nearby. Seems I started walking down the slightly angled driveway, gaining momentum very quickly. My dad caught me just before I would have run out of rope and perhaps been catapulted from my seat! (Shades of Saturday Night Live?)
But back to the first-year party, I love that all my aunts are floating around the table – and, of course, I love the fashions of the times. My guess is that all of those dresses were handmade considering the strong “fashion designers, tailors and exquisite seamstresses in the family” trend. And, it tickles me that there is at least one dog in attendance. I don’t remember that pooch so I am thinking it might have belonged to a cousin or a grandparent and was just along for the celebration. I've never met a dog who didn’t like birthday cake! One thing though – where are all the uncles?
Back to the present – Saturday was fun. With the advent of digital technology comes the fun of photography. Lots of pix were snapped – this being my favorite. A “classy” me stretched across the laps of three of my nieces who live in this part of the world. There were other pix; but I’ll spare you having to walk through the stack! As I drove home along the back country roads, enjoying the beautifully manicured 100-year-old farmhouses looking so festive with their holiday lights, I had time to reflect on all the birthdays over the years – that’s a lot of reflecting! Most of those days were spent with friends and family – a few surprise events, a few planned events and several casual days with no real plans.
I know, most of you are thinking “what a granny!” But the reality of it is that I am so grateful for reaching sixty-six. Granny that I am...many of my friends and family did not get to see this age – so as startling as it is at times to see the old woman who looks back at me in the mirror every day, I honestly give thanks for every wrinkle, bag and sag. You see, it means I have been given the ultimate gift of growing older year by year…and, as my dad would always say, it sure beats the alternative. So, to the universe, I toss out a great big “thank you” for giving me all that I have experienced over my lifetime and all that I have shared with friends and family. And, on that note I end with a boisterous “happy birthday to me!”
P.S. Yes, even on my birth announcement card from the hospital in which I was born, I noticed people were having a really hard time spelling my last name correctly! So I suppose that marks the official start of the Spelling Bee that is my life!