Friday, April 09, 2010

Happy Flashback to Me, Happy Flashback to Me ....

I have got to get pictures from my mom's house if I'm going to keep at this meme.

This week, Mocha With Linda asks: 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?

Well, I grew up on the blue-collar side of town, so if I said we did my birthdays up big, you might get the wrong idea. It was big to me, and my mother certainly thinks we went over the top, but mainly it was just balloons, a few decorations and store bought cakes, which I thought were beautiful works of art. I could NOT wrap my mind around those icing roses. It seemed a sin to cut through them. Coming from my mother's background, this was a bit extravagant, but I was "spoiled," and she didn't like to bake, so what was she gonna do?

We didn't do special dinners or have traditions. I did have parties, but I don't remember a specific one. Usually we just invited the kids on my block, a motley crew to be sure, but that's how we rolled. (Yesterday, a few people described me as "down to earth" in comments after the post, and now you can see the genesis of that earthiness. It's south-side-of-town, blue collar, salt-of-the-earth earthiness.)

Here we are in our blue collaredness in my parent's living room November 6, 1962. I'll tell you in a minute why Donnie was trying to kill me.

Cue John Mellencamp's "Small Town."

Anyway, below is a pic of my brother, Donnie, and me in 1966. In living color! I am four, and he is 12. His birthday is October 5th. For eight years, he was the baby of the family. Then, in 1962, my mom had me on October 4th. He would never have a birthday celebration unto himself again until he married! I became his nemesis! He has never let me forget this!

Note how I am admiring the royal icing flowers of delight. I am laughing as I type this at my bruised, pale little knock-kneed legs and sagging anklets. I do not know why my mother started my bangs half-way back on my head. I was determined, when I became a mom, not to commit the helmet-bang travesty. I never did, but I'm sure my girls could pick apart their pics, too, and blame me for something. (Giant bows of the 80s, for instance.)

Here is a birthday party circa 1973. Everybody do the purple pants dance! Please note the white ceramic cat in the background to the right. That was as close to a real pet as I ever came in my young life. The cat still lives in my mom's living room, and that's a post I've been meaning to write for some time. Also note my little party guest sitting there having a grand old time watching me dance. Ho-hum.

I wish I could remember a single gift or my 13th or 16th or 18th or 21st birthday, but they are all merely misty water-colored memories. The best birthday I ever had was probably my 40th, though. My friends took me out to dinner and bought me gag gifts, and Jorge bought me the Camaro. I was in car heaven.

And then I had to learn how to drive a stick shift at 40 years old. But that's another story!

Thanks, Lid!


Loui said...

I can so relate!!


I loved this trip down memory lane...and I too grew up in a blue collar family....but thought I was rich until one day in the 6th grade a little boy told me otherwise. My dad was so precious...and explained to me that there were rich poor people in this world...and poor rich people...we were the later. We were rich in the things that love. I loved that man.

Mocha with Linda said...

What fun memories!

So didn't your brother realize that you had to share YOUR birthday celebration as well?!

The mirror above the TV - we had the exact same one in our house, only it was in the "dining room".

Joyce said...

I had the bang thing happening in some of my photos. I love the purple pants...I'm sure I had a pair : )

Great memories!

Melli said...

Great birthday memories Linda! I forgot to mention my 50th! That's when I found out I was getting LUZ! That was definitely my BEST!

Jeanie said...

Kids birthday parties are a favorite with me so I loved this post. I remember my 5th, probably because I have pictures of the party and a very fun circus cake. I also remember my 8th which was at an amusement park. It is hard to beat a Camero birthday, though.

Angel Muly said...

Great memories!! I know I have some wonderful pictures of bruised legs and baggy socks. My birthday is March 16 so I always got the pre-St. Patricks day cakes. (green, green, green) I swore when I grew up I would never have a green b-day cake again even if I had to make them myself : )
Love, Angel

Thena said...

Love the camaro.
I don't have any pictures of my brother and I like that.
Makes me wonder if he ever resented sharing his birthday with me. But he was the oldest not the baby when I was born. I was born on his 11th birthday.

Carmen said...

It has become clear to me that we are the same age. Well...okay, so I'm a few months older, but who's counting?
Okay. Stop. Counting. :-|
I had plaid 'elephant' pants with nice bright colors (in case you're wondering). Oh, and the lovely matching ponchos mom made for my sister and me. Bright orange, Bright green, Bright Yellow and Black...big bold stripes repeated twice down the width of them. Ugh!
But, I loved your trip down memory lane, minus the memories it provoked. You were actually happenin'. :)

skoots1mom said...

the purple pants pic cracked me up...i've got to pull out some pics and scan them.

Anonymous said...

One of my closest friends had purple crushed velvet pants.

I can't remember any of my specific birthday gifts, either, and only a couple of vague specific memories of celebrations, but I do remember birthdays being special.

Catherine said...

Oh, the purple pants -- I'm pretty sure I had them too!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how simple birthday parties were way back when? I tried a few homemade parties when my own children were younger, but I eventually caved to the pressure of having these shindigs at the roller rink or bowling alley.

Too bad. This generation's children are missing out on a lot of home-grown fun!

bp said...

Great birthday memories! I need to get some pictures from my Mom's too!

Susanne said...

I'm like you birthday memories are a little misty. But I do remember my cakes. My mom always made my favorite cake for me. It was a sponge type cake baked not in a cake pan but in jelly roll pans so the cake ended up with about 8 very thin layers. And she made the chocolate icing out of unsalted butter. It was heaven. I used to sneak the left over icing out of the freezer by the spoonful. I still think of those cakes.

Love your 40th birthday present!

Cathy said...

Such great memories!!!

rita said...

Love your background and your photo!
I haven't visited your site as often as I'd like to. Every time I do I enjoy your writing!
Digging out the old photos has been great fun!
Hope to 'see' you again soon.