Friday, June 20, 2008

Weekend 3-Way


Thinking so much about a certain little someone who turned 7 yesterday, I've been thinking a lot about my own 7th birthday, and birthday party, and realized I can't remember it. Nor can I remember my 8th birthday party. I do remember my 9th, because of a classic photo my Dad took of me in my little blue-and-white polka-dot coolat/tank-top one-piece number, with my hair in a bun on top of my head, just about to blow out my candles, but of course that photo is buried in a box somewhere. So never mind.

What I remember, though, is the pure joyous excitement of those birthday parties. My birthday's around Labor Day, so it was always that bittersweet end-of-summer, but exciting-beginning-of-school-year (I know, I know: geek) time of year. We'd either go miniature golfing or bowling, and go to John's Best Pizza afterward. I always invited a collection of girls from both my summertime life, and my school life. I was the princess for the day, the center of attention, I got to bask in the love of my pals, and there was just no better thing than a birthday.

Well, except for my 6th birthday. I got the perfect yellow dress. It was kind of fitted in the body (i.e. a straight shift), with pleats at the bottom which, of course, flared out when I spun around. And, it had a belt. It was fab. It was perfect. My mom gave me a strawberry popsicle since I was, you know, the birthday princess. I guess I was less than well that day, because I barfed that red popsicle all over that fabulous dress. Which I then had to change out of. Which ruined my day. And somehow ruined the dress forever. And I've never gotten over it.

And I've never worn yellow again.


I think most people’s memories of their childhood birthdays run together, become blurred in some festive mix of cake, sticky faces, and ripped wrapping paper. Mine certainly do, except for my 5th birthday. I remember my 5th birthday, but this may be, at least in part, because it was heavily photographed and partially video taped. It was also a year that I had an actual birthday party, which was not an annual occurrence in my household.

What I remember most were the wooden circus animal candle holders that adorned the top of my homemade cake. I loved them. I could not believe my good fortune. Cake candle holders? How fancy, how frolicsome; how lucky I was. They looked amazingly similar to these (although my cake was double decker):

Groovy, huh?

Another thing that sticks with me is my nifty birthday outfit. It was May of 1973 and I had on a brand-spanking new white skort with a yellow and pink dove pattern. I had a matching, very feminine, yellow T-shirt. I was looking good, which was important, because John Sokolowski was invited. I had a small crush on him, you see. But interestingly it’s little Paul Radcliff’s gift that I remember most – a barrette set from Mac’s, the town’s only drug store. I’d seen the set before in there, it being the only place for miles that sold any toys or other gifts, but I loved the barrettes. They were so girly and nice, and so perfect with my birthday outfit. Did Paul have a crush on me?

In stark contrast to all the frosting above, the party’s game portion (at least the only one that I can recall) consisted of one of us kids standing at the top of the backyard “shooting,” one-by-one, all the other kids as they walked up the hill. After you were shot, it was your duty to enact the most theatrical death you could muster. This portion of the party was video taped, and seems to go on and on forever during playback, but it’s funny. Very funny. Watching a bunch of 5 year olds pretend to die sounds macabre, but it’s not. It’s just plain silly.


Enough with the wholesome shit about barfing and being shot. I don’t have a childhood birthday memory that stands out specifically enough to write about! Isn’t that sad? Is this post-traumatic birthday syndrome? I know that almost all of my parties were either at the skating rink or the bowling alley, no pool parties for this girl of winter. I’ll tell you one thing, though. I am going to stop worrying about my kids’ parties, they won’t remember them anyway! Remind me to leave the video camera at home…

One birthday that I do remember is my 19th. That was more than half my life ago (barely more, damn it), so it should still count as childhood.

Ellie and I were in month three of our cross country trip. We drove the hell out of this country, camping or invading visiting homes along the route. On my birthday, we were in America’s Finest City itself, and it was determined that the best way to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of this angel was to take her to Tijuana.

It was a relatively calm affair, compared to the experiences I had with Ms. Tj after I moved here. We went to a restaurant with friends who knew their way around, and it was all very mature and refined. And then the whistle blew.

Anyone who has reveled in Mexico knows what that whistle means. It makes me gag a little just to think of it! The whistle means that some unlucky fool is about to be accosted from behind by happy Mexican terrorist armed with tequila in one hand and sour mix in the other. It’s a shaken margarita, and the vessel for the shaking is your mouth. So they squirt these toxins into your maw, and then cover your mouth with one hand the other hand grabs the back of your head and they SHAKE YOUR HEAD to mix your drink, and then you swallow.

If I had more time, I would find a you-tube of this for your viewing pleasure, but I have a more wholesome event to go host.


Musings from Myopia, AKA John said...

I just realized I don't remember your early birthdays either, Ellie and Beth! Holy crap, now what are we going to do?! Jacquie, I do recall your 19th birthday, though. At least I think that must have been you.

Beth said...

I bet you would have put on a really good death scene, aka. I'm sorry you missed it.

Ellie said...

Aw! What sweet girlhood memories.

And now we know who that handsome stranger across the bar was...

Hey, Jacquie, we went cross-country in 1988. That means you must have turned 20 that day. Which actually will be half your life, come November.....

Pretty cool.