Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December 16--My Birthday

It's my birthday today. I was born in Berea, Ohio.

I was remembering birthdays past while drinking coffee this morning. I saw a picture of my 5th birthday while sorting through some of my father's old slides--a chocolate cake in our kitchen on Franklin Drive. No Christmas decorations in sight as my mom always waited until after my birthday to usher in the season.

When I was in fourth grade, I got a catcher's mitt (I've been trying all morning to remember who signed it--maybe Russ Nixon, I think) for my birthday and during show-and-tell at school, I threw up on the floor. That's the first birthday I really remember. The school, without the vomit, is pictured to the left.

The day after I turned 14, I became an Eagle Scout.

When I was 16, my mom took me over to the DMV in Fairview Park to get my learner's permit. Woo-hoo, I got behind the wheel and drove home! She was brave, that mother of mine.

When I was 18, I had three final exams at Penn State and then caught the overnight milk-run Edwards Lakes-to-Sea bus home. For most of the trip, I was the only passenger. That night Tom, Bruce, and I went out and I had my first legal beer--a Stroh's redcap (that means 3.2% alcohol). The next day I went downtown and registered for the draft. Then I went to Syracuse and visited Bob. That's the last time I had peppermint schnapps...

Nineteen seventy-one found me in the snow and cold of the Ditchbanks near Cloquet, Minnesota (home of the Frank Lloyd Wright gas station) with my friend and colleague, George, changing charts on weather stations in black spruce stands. I remember the roads were horrible on the way home and I arrived a few hours late for the first birthday dinner my new wife cooked for me--I think it was ham loaf, an old favorite.

In 1976, the day before my birthday was commencement at the University of Minnesota and I received a Ph.D. In 1978, there was a big party in Newfield. In 1989, there was a small party in Newfield.

In 1996, I was blessed by a Cardinal in St. Peter's in Rome. While I was in the restroom at a restaurant, Nancy managed to explain to the waiter that it was "il compleanno di Giovanni" and I got a piece of cake with a candle in it! In 1997, I got a cell phone on my birthday--Frontier Cellular, $19.95 per month and 10¢ a minute. In 1999, there was a big party at Oxbow.

In 2007, I went to Portland Meadows and bet on the ponies. Unfortunately, mine didn't come in.

Lots of birthdays found me getting a haircut. In Ithaca, I often went to the Ithaca Diner for a meatloaf lunch on that day. For a number of years, I've taken the day off for work, and Nancy finds things for me to do, often related to the Post Office. Most years just remain mixed together in the past, which is fine with me as I don't like to make a big deal out of my birthday. It's just my day.


Ronna said...

Happy Birthday to you Johnny!! Hope you have a great day.

Newsman said...

Bonne fête John!
In Québec we sing a birthday song....
Mon chèr John, c'est à ton tour...
d'en parler de l'amour...
which literally translated means that this is your turn to speak of love.
A nice thought, even if it does no come across that well in the langue de Shakespeare.

The birthday thoughts were fabulous.

As for the Peace Tower photo, I am not sure how Ronna and I squeezed off any decent shots because it was so frickin cold.


Karen said...

Happy birthday John. Loved reading about the memories. You share the day with my brother Lance and my niece Lauren.