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Looking Back to 1959-My January Birthday

It's hard having a birthday close to Christmas.

Those of us who are born around Christmas have a raw deal.  Not only is the weather sometimes crummy, but hardly anyone remembers your birthday.  A few of my pals are even born on Christmas. Now, that must really suck, because you’re usually given those two for one-birthday gifts. The explanation usually goes like this:

“Honey, this is your Christmas AND birthday gift,” as if getting one gift was some sort of privilege, when, in actuality, you usually felt neglected because everyone is really celebrating the Santa thing, and not your special day.

Teresa and I were born on Jan. 3. Had we been born a few years earlier, I think my mom would have gotten $600 in tax breaks, but no, we had to squirm around in the womb for a few extra days, sipping on the merlot of the placenta.  Sorry Mom, just couldn’t bear to leave the comfort of that warm abdominal apartment. My sister and I would have these lengthy prenatal discussions about how hard life is on the “outside.” Who wants to leave the womb?

If you’re born in January, especially if it’s close to the New Year, many people often forget your birthday. Usually they’re broke or too hung-over to remember that it’s your special day.  Sometimes you get a card explaining their forgetfulness, or a late birthday phone call. Over the years, I’ve grown to expect it. After all, when you’re a baby boomer, another birthday isn’t such a big deal anymore.  In my mind, I’m 39+.

But those birthdays I do remember as a child are fond ones.  Birthdays are full of glee, candles, cake and tightly wound packages to undress.  The crisp zip of the paper being wadded always made for a colorful toy for our dog Cha Cha, who delighted in batting the ball around, and if she was successful, taking the paper behind the chairs and ripping it to shreds.

As a twin, we often got things that made us look like twins. It didn’t matter that I was four inches taller than Teresa. Still my Mom managed to find many outfits that reminded others that we were actually twins, in case some people wondered why I was so much larger than my sister. 

I remember matching white parkas, which had  a handy zipper in the front where we could store dirt clods, lizards, and dead spiders that we found in the gully at the end of Pacoima Court.  I remember a paisley top that we both wore to Diana Sharpe’s birthday party.  I remember getting matching Mohair sweaters from my Aunt Kaye that we wore to Disneyland.  I remember wrecking that expensive sweater when I spilled a chocolate milkshake all over the front of it.

So much for expensive clothes.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve usually opted for experiential gifts over anything. One year, I swam with the sharks and rays in Bora Bora. Another year, I took a glider ride over Hemet.  My first limo ride was when we turned 30. Once I was even treated to stripper!

Now, I’m usually treated to a nice dinner, and perhaps massage in Koreatown. It’s certainly much safer than skydiving out of a plane.

When is your birthday, and what do you recall?

Mark Brendan Hussey January 09, 2013 at 01:59 PM
Cute show. Never saw that before--since I didn't grow up in Kali Forney! If that was "Engineer Uncle Bill" he would have be drinking martinis on the set and yelling at the little kids after 3 minutes! I could just see him saying to Corky, "what do you mean, you don't know why they call you Corky!"
teresa mcgrath January 09, 2013 at 03:27 PM
welcome to the old age club mark! we eagerly await your walk into oblivion....
Mark Brendan Hussey January 09, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Yes, I'll be "6-OH!!" on Friday--but make no mistake about it: I'll be back to 52 on Saturday. I have a signed permission slip from Jack Benny who is still.....uh, let's see now.....yeah, that's right, he's 39 years old!!
teresa mcgrath January 09, 2013 at 04:25 PM
whoop whoop 52!
Mary McGrath January 09, 2013 at 05:12 PM
I'll take the wisdom of 60 and the excitement of 6!

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