Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Best Birthday Ever

As a parent, you always hope that your child is filled with great memories of their childhood. I'm sure that my mom, who became a parent at the ripe old age of 17 years and 3 months, had that in mind when she threw me a birthday party in our dinky, 800 square foot home on Cedar Crest Circle.

To the right is the only picture I have of that day. My three best friends from first grade were there (counter clockwise) Ericka Couch, Lisa Smith, and Beth Fruechtenicht. There's a board game sitting in front of us...but I couldn't tell you what it was and without this picture, I wouldn't even have remembered that I had The Flintstones for birthday hats and blowers. I couldn't tell you what was on my cake - if I had one number candle or seven.

What I do remember - as though it was yesterday - is that I was a very happy girl. I don't know if you can see that from my face, but gosh, I was happy.

And why was I happy? Two specific reasons - the guests and the best birthday present that I've ever received in my entire life.

The guests were my three best friends from Indian Village Elementary school and also, members of my family (aunts, uncles, cousins + my mom's cousins and their kids). All of us, squeezed together in that small amount of space sounds claustrophobic, doesn't it?! At the time, it didn't seem anything but fun. I'm sure that my mom, though, was frantic and worried because later on (much later on as an adult), she told me that she ran out of cake and food because so many people showed up that she wasn't expecting.

I probably received a fair number of birthday gifts that year but you know what - that's a blur to me. The only gift that really mattered is what my parents got me.

For the big event, I was shuttled out on to the front porch area (this area wasn't a "porch" per se as much as it was an enclosed part of our house - like a mudroom - with no heat). I was instructed to face the outdoor window and no peeking!!! That window had a view to my neighbors houses across the street - the Wooden's and the Boice's.

I remember the crowd of people who were all standing behind me, waiting for the revelation of the big moment. And then my mom said, You can turn around now.

My smile was the biggest smile you can ever imagine and I squealed with delight. It was everything I ever wanted - a big girl bike. It was a lime green bike...equipped with a white flowered basket, multi-colored plastic streamers hanging out of the handle bars, and a banana seat.

That bike stayed with me for most of my childhood. If it would have had an odometer on it, it would have had thousands of miles racked up on it because as a kid living on Cedar Crest Circle - that's what we did. We rode our bikes. We didn't have to have a destination...we just rode them. Sometimes we rode them by ourselves (in a circle - Cedar Crest, Pinecrest, Cedar Crest) and sometimes we rode in a pack....taking the same route, perhaps stopping at Scott''s Court to play a game of kickball, or sneaking off to play in the forbidden ditch (catching tadpoles), or making our way up Sandhill to play in the area that would later take the life of our friend Delores.

There was a third reason why this was the best birthday ever. It was the last birthday I remember where I wasn't conscious of my father's drinking issues. At my party, I didn't remember that he wasn't there until just before the unveiling of my bike. I didn't remember that he was drunk off his ass and he brought people to my party that I didn't even know.

And why didn't I remember these things? Because my mom made sure that I was distracted so as not to notice. She wanted my birthday to be the kind of birthday that all little girls deserve to have....one filled with lots of happy memories. It worked.

Mommy, it was the best birthday ever and as long as I live, I will never forget how special I felt that day.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wish you would update your blog every day with stories like these!! I enjoy hearing these stories....they are so much like mine growing up in the Fort. All the best to you.

Anonymous said...

Nice you have you back blogging-I missed you!Great story and photo! Thanks!

ida said...

i dont know about you. but, when i relive my past history to people or blogging. it puts a drain on me. it enriches me. but, it drains me. i'm happy for any additions to your blog. its a good blog. brings back different personal memories of my own. thanks for sharing your past with us.

SecondAnonymous said...

Welcome back to blogging! Seriously we missed you. This was yet another great memory.

RSA Course said...

That's sweet :) ever notice how the "bests" are always the ones that haven't been planned to death?

Anonymous said...

My memories of Indian Village was not as good as yours. My name is Diane and i was born in Fort Wayne Indiana. My family stayed there till I was 10 years old. My dad got transferred from Tennessee by GE. our family left in 1971. My opion Mrs Ballinger and Miss Crosuse they where not good teachers at all. Frist of all I had Mrs Ballinger as a kindergarden teacher. I was only 4 years old when I was in her class. Which was to young to be in school. Mrs Ballinger let me go on a balance beam unattended. I broke my arm and I can remember this to this day. She put my coat on and told me to go home and stop crying. My mother noticed my arm turning black and blue. She took me to the hospital and they told her it was broken. She would always tell vistors in the class do not pay me no attention because I was a cry baby. I was only 4 years old. My mom called the school and Mrs Ballinger told her my arm was fine when I left. That was not true my mother never forgot that. Then she failed me and it went from bad to worst. Miss Crosuse she was the meaniest teacher ever! I never got anyting right in eyes. She would yell and scream at me all the time. If that didn't work she would spank me with a ruler. I can remember one time I picked her some daiseys from outside and I thought she was going to crazy. She said it bothered her hay fever. Nothing I did was good enough for Miss Crosuse. I failed again and then I was shipped off to SunnyMead. Okay these are good teachers I do not think so. Then my dad got transfreed to Tennssee from GE I was never so glad to leave Indiana. My memories of those 2 ladies are not good memories. When I moved to Tennessee I got left behide 2 years because of the school system in Indiana. As far a a teacher of a year award they do not deserve it in my eyes. I would never move back to Fort Wayne for any reason. The area I was from looks like it's been through hell and back.

Anonymous said...

My memories of Indian Village was not as good as yours. My name is Diane and i was born in Fort Wayne Indiana. My family stayed there till I was 10 years old. My dad got transferred from Tennessee by GE. our family left in 1971. My opion Mrs Ballinger and Miss Crosuse they where not good teachers at all. Frist of all I had Mrs Ballinger as a kindergarden teacher. I was only 4 years old when I was in her class. Which was to young to be in school. Mrs Ballinger let me go on a balance beam unattended. I broke my arm and I can remember this to this day. She put my coat on and told me to go home and stop crying. My mother noticed my arm turning black and blue. She took me to the hospital and they told her it was broken. She would always tell vistors in the class do not pay me no attention because I was a cry baby. I was only 4 years old. My mom called the school and Mrs Ballinger told her my arm was fine when I left. That was not true my mother never forgot that. Then she failed me and it went from bad to worst. Miss Crosuse she was the meaniest teacher ever! I never got anyting right in eyes. She would yell and scream at me all the time. If that didn't work she would spank me with a ruler. I can remember one time I picked her some daiseys from outside and I thought she was going to crazy. She said it bothered her hay fever. Nothing I did was good enough for Miss Crosuse. I failed again and then I was shipped off to SunnyMead. Okay these are good teachers I do not think so. Then my dad got transfreed to Tennssee from GE I was never so glad to leave Indiana. My memories of those 2 ladies are not good memories. When I moved to Tennessee I got left behide 2 years because of the school system in Indiana. As far a a teacher of a year award they do not deserve it in my eyes. I would never move back to Fort Wayne for any reason. The area I was from looks like it's been through hell and back.

RSA Australia said...

Glad to read your best ever birthday celebration. Cherish it!