Tag Archives: Birthdays

Soliciting nifty ideas for a big birthday

Guess who’s celebrating a milestone birthday on Tuesday?

My Beloved is turning an age that rhymes with nifty.

A lot has changed in 50 years. Here’s a look at the world in August of 1962:

  • Beatles drummer Pete Best was fired and replaced by Ringo Starr. Bob Dylan and Chubby Checker were popular singers.
  • Actress Marilyn Monroe, 36, was found dead in her home from an overdose, and famed Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens was born. Brian Piccolo, a running back for the Chicago Bears whose battle with cancer would be dramatized in the 1971 “Brian’s Song,” was playing college football in North Carolina.
  • Abortion was illegal, and John F. Kennedy was president, very much alive. Events in August led to the conflagration that eventually became the Cuban Missile Crisis later in the year.
  • Nelson Mandela was arrested in South Africa, and lost his freedom for more than 27 years, serving time in prison until February 1990. Mandela would be elected the first black president of South Africa in 1994.
  • Cost of a first class stamp was 4 cents. A gallon of milk? Forty-nine cents.

Keep your over-the-hill jokes to yourself. I detest those black sentiments. Being over the hill is far preferable to being under the hill, in my estimation. I only met him five and half years ago, so I’m convinced all those years before our couplehood were relatively sub par — the best of life is ahead.

A milestone like this deserves not black partyware and balloons, but fanfare and celebration. I’m entertaining any ideas here for birthday gifts, special treats and other ways of making my Beloved’s day special. Got any ideas?

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Grandma’s blessing

One of the best birthday cards I received this year was from my spunky 95-year-old grandmother who stills lives on her own in a cozy little apartment in a sweet little town in the middle of Minnesota about 15 miles from where she was born.

The card was personalized, just for me. The words on the front began with my first name and then, “Know what’s nice about a granddaughter like you?”

Printed inside: “Everything! It seems like a perfect time to tell you when I’m thinking about you on your birthday … hope it’s a good one! Best wishes and lots of love from Grandma Laura!”

Obviously, someone gave Grandma a box of personalized cards so that Grandma has card to remember each of her 10 grandchildren’s birthdays. It was a brilliantly useful gift for a woman who has pretty much everything that makes Grandma look like a star (Judy, I hope you’re making money with this concept!). Sorry, cousins, if I’ve ruined the surprise for you (Paula, your card probably says inside “Almost everything!” (just kidding — you know I tease because I love).

So the card was customized just for me and arrived right on my birthday, but those aren’t even the best parts. Inside, my grandmother who is normally stingy with praise, wrote a note. Usually, she discusses the weather, who visited recently and her plans for the coming week. She covered that, too, but the card apparently opened the door to some uncharacteristic kudos. Her note began like this:

“This card is right — you never forget about me. While on a trip, I always get cards from you.”

Aw, Grandma thinks everything is nice about me. What a sweet birthday wish.

Thanks, Grandma, for saying so.

Labor of love

On this day, 44 years ago, my mother was serenaded by Christmas carolers as she walked the halls of the hospital. She was in labor, and the way she tells the story now, those singers made being in the hospital so close to Christmas a joy.

I emerged into the world at 11:30 p.m., nearly a Christmas Eve baby, but not quite. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the Donner and Blitzen snowstorm was raging for three days that year across the southern Plains states to New England. When my father came to visit on Christmas Day (new mothers stayed in the hospital longer four decades ago than they do today but for the record, she is 5-foot-3 and I was a 9-pound-8-ounce baby, so decide for yourself if she might have needed a little extra recuperation time), a nurse brought me from the nursery tucked into a Christmas stocking. What a Christmas gift! A bawling, poopy baby unable to eat, dress or talk and who would someday require a college education.

Fortunately, my parents didn’t see it that way and took me home anyway.

Minnesota Transplant celebrates her birthday today, grateful for Christmas carolers, warm stockings and the gift of loving parents.