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Flashback Friday – Birthday Celebrations Past

Mocha With Linda has started her very own meme. This is how she describes it:

This new meme’s purpose is to have us take a look back and share about a specific time or event in our lives. It will be fun to see how similar – or different – our experiences have been!.

I am enjoying this meme a lot. Grab the button and the link and come play along. Linda’s theme this week is:

What were birthdays like when you were growing up? Were they a big deal or understated? Did you have parties? Get to choose what or where the family ate for dinner? Are there any particular birthday traditions that you remember? Is there any birthday that stands out (good OR bad!), either due to the events surrounding it or due to the particular present(s) you received?

Maybe it is better that I was too busy to post this morning since today (Friday) is Amoeba’s birthday and not the day to focus on mine. The first birthday I recall with any vivid memory was my 6th. I mentioned it in passing on a previous post. I had a wonderful and lavish birthday party. Lots of kids came. There was fun and games and shrieking and laughter. I was dressed in frills and lace. My hair was curled and crowned with satin bows. I felt like a fairy princess.

About half way through the party my dad went out, got in his pick up and drove away. He worked over 100 miles away and always left on Sunday evening to travel back to his bunk in the mining camp. When I entered the house after waving good-bye to my dad, my step-mother said it was cake and ice cream time. I ran to the table with the other kids.

Apparently in my play I had soiled my dress, the curl had fallen out of my hair, and I’d lost some satin ribbons. My punishment was to sit at the head of the table with my hands folded in my lap like a proper lady. I was not allowed any cake or ice cream.

After I went to live with my Gram, I was allowed a “with kids” birthday party every other year. Every year I got to pick my own cake. I always chose angel food cake with strawberries and ice cream. I was also allowed to choose whatever I wanted for dinner. Believe it or not, I almost always asked for creamed tuna on toast.

When my dad remarried, my second step-mom always made German Chocolate cake from scratch, and served it with homemade vanilla ice cream. Usually the whole family was invited to dinner. Again, I was allowed to pick whatever I wished for dinner. I have no recollection what I chose, but I do remember that my birthday one of the few times each year I was released from kitchen clean up.

After I married, my ex-husband always had the first barbecue of the year on my birthday. It was steaks on the grill, baked potato and green salad. My MIL usually made a Boston Cream pie for my cake.

Because of my first birthday memories, I almost always stressed about whether or not my birthday would be remembered. It was important to me that everyone acknowledge it so I knew I was valued. Even after my divorce, all the years I was single, I made certain there was some kind of birthday celebration, even if I had to do it myself.

Now Amoeba is in my life and I find I don’t care that much about my birthday anymore. I don’t think it is because I have gotten older. I think it is because I am celebrated every day, and I know I am cherished. It is a wonderful and precious gift which I treasure.


  1. great story! When we were kids, I always celebrated my birthday with a Portuguese girl who was born on the same day in the same hospital. Our mothers shared the same room, and since both were Roman Catholics, they said the rosary for each other. Little did they know that they lived just a block from each other. I have fond memories of Beverly. She now lives in Arizona and suffers from COPD,

    1. Gigi — my mom shared a hospital room with the mother of a kid who shared my birthday all through school – -and for some reason he hated me for it.

  2. How times have changed ! today no girl would sit in a dress and curls on her birthday, and what a stupid punishment. My birthdays were always the same I have no special memories. Or maybe the one of my 40th birthday, we celebrated at the Belgian sea with lots of friends who had organized everything and 15 (!) bottles of champagne !

    1. Linda — you know it was only 2 years out of my life, and that is the experience that gave me my heart for suffering children. Good came from it, just as God promised it would.

  3. I hate your evil stepmother stories… I want to ring that woman’s neck! She makes me feel all kinds of UNChristian thoughts! But God had a plan… He always does… and look! YOU got Amoeba! Aren’t you blessed!?

    1. Melli — I also think it was the experiences with my first step-mother that gave me my compassion and insight for children. God did use my suffering for good.

  4. This made feel sad to, but also so glad that you found Amoeba. It´s hard to understand why some people have to suffer so much in life, until they are “allowed” to cherish the good.
    My birthday was always on summer vacation. That meant, school was out, no one was around and none of my friends had time to celebrate. This has left me with an insecurity to this day. I don´t like to talk about it, but it´s always there.

    1. Betty — “Beauty from ashes” and God’s ability to “use all things for good” comfort me when I am fuming that life isn’t fair.

  5. Oh…and I’m curious…you mentioned you were headed to your favorite seafood restaurant – are you willing to share where it is?

    1. Shelly — the word “restaurant” covers such a huge range of food service stores. Perhaps I should have said, “our favorite seafood joint” and then you likely wouldn’t have had to wonder and guess. Charley and I love the New England sea-side flavor of the foods at the Hungry Clam, but it really isn’t what one usually thinks of in conjunction with the words, “seafood” and “restaurant”. Sorry!

    1. Thom — my step-mom did same bad things, but I am not the one that has to answer for them — and in the end I was able to put what happened to me to use helping other children.

  6. how cruel of your stepmother to not allow you the goods!
    but i’m glad you still have some fond memories of your b-days

    it’s no news, though, that b-day celebrations (or celebrations of any kind for that matter) annoy me rather than excite me

  7. I also used to always choose Angel Food Cake with strawberries haha. This was another one of those things I was supposed to get yesterday to participate in I guess? I didn’t know about it, but maybe I”ll join anyways haha… As long as I get time, still gotta write my poem for today too, been at work.

    1. Teresa — yeah, Linda posts the prompt every Thursday and we post on Fridays. Sorry for not thinking to give you a heads up.

  8. He gives me beauty for ashes
    The oil of joy for mourning
    A garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness
    That we might be trees of righteousness
    The planting of the Lord
    That He will be glorified

    That song ran through my head as I sat and pondered this post.
    And then I scrolled down through the comments and see that you already mentioned beauty for ashes in your reply to Betty.

    Still, I am so sad for the 6yo girl you once were…

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