Helping my granddaughter celebrate becoming seven years old, yesterday, made me remember how much I wished all during my school years, that I had been born in any month other than July or August. For children born during the other months of the year there is a better chance of having classmates, friends, or cousins, available to celebrate with.
The truth is that because of where we lived, and the circumstances of my schooling, (correspondence, then 7 grades in a one-room school) I had no friends with whom to share a party until I was well into high school. Even then, because I boarded away for high school I returned to camp at the end of term, an hour-long drive over a dusty, gravel road, where only crew and residents travelled.
I remember four significant birthdays:
When I was 3 my mother hosted a Sunday tea party on our float. Both of my grandmothers were present, an aunt and several of my cousins came, along with a few ladies from a nearby camp who brought their little ones. The picture tells the story.
When my 21st birthday occurred, a girlfriend and summer travelling companion, experienced Bastille Day in Paris with me. There were marching bands, military equipment rumbling along, and an overhead salute by war planes spuming red, white and blue smoke.
For the significant birthday of 60 years I gave myself a party. Lunch was a simple green salad with choice of protein accompaniments, followed by two of the most decadent cheesecakes to be found in Greater Victoria. A varied career, three children and their associated activities, and my own volunteer experiences, meant I now had a rich mix of friends. Those who were not available sent notes about our times together; those who were able to come sat around the room and told stories of how we met and what we had collaborated on. From the notes and pictures taken then, and from former years, I made a scrap-book. It is a treasure.
The very best birthday ever was the day I turned 70. On that day my daughter brought home a brand new baby girl, having delivered her the previous day. I learned soon after, when the party began and guests arrived, that while she was fabulously pregnant she had managed to orchestrate the whole thing, even down to slipping notes under bedroom doors, with instructions to family members, as she left for the hospital!
Today I send this message out to everyone with a July or August birthday. Good birthday celebrations are possible – don`t despair – the best may yet be coming!