Birthdays — I’ve spent so many of these all alone!
Not because I wanted to, but because on January 31 the weather in Texas is usually freezing, snowing, sleeting, raining, or way too cold to stick your nose out-of-doors! And for about fifty years, I lived on a hill.
My mother used to tell the story of the day I was born. She expected me to arrive around the middle of March, but I evidently had other plans. My dad was working for Dallas Power & Light Company climbing poles and repairing electric lines during that time. He had been called out on an emergency job and she couldn’t reach him. Her best friend came over and together they boarded a bus, transferred to a streetcar, and got to the hospital in the middle of a snowstorm. DP&L got word to my dad and he managed to get to the hospital just before I was born.
I remember maybe five birthdays in my life when the sun was shining so I consider today a gift! The picture above was my tenth birthday. Mother always planned a party to celebrate the day, but this was one of the two birthdays we were able to spend outside. I look at this picture and remember so many fun times. My best friend to this day is on the far left middle row. Another close friend is on the far right middle row.
It was also special because I got to choose my birthday dress. And yes, it was black—I still like to wear black. Mother and I took the bus, transferred to a streetcar and went downtown Dallas to Neiman Marcus. Now, times were different back in the 1940s, money was scarce and we didn’t buy anything at Neiman’s. We walked around and looked then I showed mother the dresses I loved and she made a sketch of them. Next, we went to a department store where I choose fabric. This is what we did for my tenth birthday. Mother was an excellent seamstress and she made it just like the sketch. It was a black velveteen dress and I was thrilled. I thought I was so grown-up! Happy memories of a sunshiny day in January!
Another birthday stands out in my memory. My daughters and husband planned a huge surprise birthday party for my milestone birthday of 50 years! They invited over a hundred people, had chocolate cake and Asti Spumenti for all. It sleeted that day—the streets were solid ice. You know how it gets in Texas and I was scared to drive home from work. My husband drove to my office, had me follow him, and over the CB he talked me through icy streets to home!
Now remember, I lived midway up a hill and my driveway went up even higher, and it was all iced over. The party wasn’t exactly as planned! It was my daughters and several neighbors who made their way across the yards to my home. We had chocolate cake for supper and Asti Spumenti for years to come!
Usually when I’m frozen in and home alone on my birthday my mind wanders and I write all kinds of crazy stories. Some have been random thoughts about aging, musings about Universal Truths, and stories about “adult time out.” My mind just generally runs amuck! But those are stories are for another day and time when I get frozen in. Today the sun is shining and I see it as a very special birthday gift from God.
Through the multitude of years I’ve lived, I have come across a number of birthday quotes I love and since you’re reading this and I have your attention, I’m going to share my two of them:
“Age is a case of mind over matter,
If you don’t mind, it don’t matter!”
— Satchel Page
“Today you are you!
That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”
And now I’m going out to dinner with my family and I just might order the most expensive entrée on the menu! So Happy Birthday to me and to everyone else who is celebrating today!
I have to close, my granddaughter is picking me up for dinner, but I can’t leave without giving you a thought to ponder …
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”
— Satchel Page
Happy Birthday, Betty! We really enjoyed our visit with you the other day! Love, Leska
I read your “Birthday”memoir aloud to Larry & we both enjoyed it.I DO LOVE reading your personal memoirs. I am happy for you that today was bright with sunshine and you could CELEBRATE with family.
I enjoyed this, Betty. Thank you!
I’m loving the last quote/question! That is a tough one to answer. I am so glad you got to have a sunny birthday this year. It was just gorgeous weather. And I cannot believe your mom was so good at making clothes that she could just make a quick sketch in the middle of the store and then go home and make it. That is SO impressive.