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Sixth Birthday Parties

Posted on: August 1, 2011


I recently attended my grandson’s sixth birthday party, complete with pool, slip & slide, pinata, and helium balloons. It brought to mind my own sixth birthday party. My foot had been injured in a bike accident and caused me to miss six weeks of kindergarten. I missed my friends, so my mother invited my little classmates to our home for my birthday on March 24th. It was my first birthday party! Mom put a flowered tablecloth on the dining room table and decorated it with crepe paper streamers and balloons (not helium.) I remember being so excited when my little friends arrived and hopping around on my good foot while my injured one wore a white bandage.  Mom served vanilla ice cream and homemade cake with pink frosting. There was no digital camera or flash bulb to capture me blowing out my six candles.

We played “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” and dropped wooden clothespins into a milk bottle. Mom had hidden peanuts all over the house and the children loved finding them. Do children today know what clothespins are? Would they recognize a glass milk bottle? Heaven forbid exposing children to peanuts! Luckily, no one died that day.

I loved opening the gifts, of course. Several little girls brought me hair ribbons, which were fashionable for my age group and pleasing to my hair- sylist mother. I don’t remember any other gifts except the one that caused all the excitement. One little girl, whose mother was to be our first grade teacher in the fall, brought six colored baby chicks. When I opened the box they peeped and ran in all directions while the children sqealed with delight. Yes, they were colored by someone who didn’t think the chicks would mind being dipped into dye. They were pink, blue, yellow, green, lavender, and red fuzz balls with legs. Sorry to say, they only lived a few days. My farm grandmother, who raised chickens, was horrified with the whole business.

Waiting for Jennifer's Mother

The only picture I have is this one of me and a little girl named Jennifer sitting on the back porch steps squinting into the sun, while we waited for her mother to pick her up. The others had gone. I’m sure Mom was too busy chasing the chickens around and trying to control the children to think of taking a picture until it was almost over. I wonder where Jennifer is now. I hope she’s happy.

P.S. Click on the word “Comments” above if you want to know more about the foot injury.


5 Responses to "Sixth Birthday Parties"

What a sweet story. Life was surely simpler then. And don’t you love the little things the mind remembers?

I enjoyed reading this story!

About the foot injury…An older cousin set me on the back on her bike, then whizzed off to catch up with the other kids. My little foot slipped into the spokes and was badly lacerated. I remember the pain and lying in the street weeping, the other kids surrounding me, so scared. A kind man saw us in the street and thought I was hit by a car. He picked me up and carried me to his car, asked his wife to drive, and told the other kids to bike home so he could follow. He carried me into my grandparents’ home where we’d had Sunday dinner. I remember the man’s suit felt scratchy against my face and I hid my eyes so no one could see me cry. My parents laid me in the backseat of their car and drove me to the doctor’s house where he sprinkled my foot with sulfa and wrapped it in gauze. The next day we appeared at his office and his nurse yanked the gauze off- more pain than I ever remember. My prescription was a daily soak in Epsom salts water followed by sulfa and more gauze. It took six weeks to heal. I learned to hop well. My story was repeated for years by the school principal when she addressed the students on bicycle safely day.

My, my what a darling picture of a sweet little girl who became such a lovely and talented lady. You haven’t changed a bit. Very sweet story. Things were simpler and more exciting when we were young. Many children of today are missing out on the joys of simpler and quieter times and events. So sad. But as long as they have us to tell them the stories of growing up in the simpler, sweeter, gentler times perhaps they’ll treasure them and retell them to their children. Keep writing my dear and sharing the sweet memories of yesterday.

My birthday is the 25th. Interesting. Nice story.

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