Other People’s Birthdays and a Minnesota/Iowa Roadtrip

The end of May to mid-July were bitter times for me growing up.  All three of my siblings celebrated their birthdays during that time and I had to wait until October.  They all got presents and all I got was an extra-large piece of cake, big enough so that I wouldn’t whine.

Jean’s and Jeff’s birthdays were usually bearable, filled with lame presents I didn’t really want like Cabbage Patch Dolls and Iron Maiden albums.  Jacob’s birthday, however, tormented me every year.  He made sure to ask for whatever I wanted most:  He-man figures, baseball cards, and Legos.

June of ’83 rolled around.  I had finished 2nd grade with respectable Es for excellence in  Citizenship and Physical Education; a U for Unsatisfactory in work habits; and a S for Satisfactory in everything else.  I turned my attention to my baseball career.  All I wanted in life were new batting gloves.  And to be a superhero.

For his birthday that year, Jake asked for a new pair of batting gloves and Superman Underoos.

“Mom, this year, Jake really wants a Cabbage Patch Doll and some Care Bear figures,” I told her.

“Really?” she said, “Then he’s going to love what he’s going to get!”

I smiled to myself.

Jake put on his baseball uniform to open his presents, sure he was going to get batting gloves.  I laughed on the inside, knowing that he was going to get a Cabbage Patch Doll.

Mom placed a box in front of him, he tore the wrapping paper off and tore the box open.  I was giddy.

He got batting gloves, Underoos, and Legos. See how smug he looks.

Mom smiled at me.  Jake put on a batting glove and blew out his candles.

What kind of person wears a batting glove to blow out his candles? A spiteful little brother, that's who.

I took an extra-large piece of cake.  And pouted.

This week, we loaded up the truck again and took off for the north.  I thought about how far off my birthday was and how Jake would probably be asking for a daughter for this birthday.

And then it struck me.  I instituted half-birthday celebrations in our family for all fathers.  I wrote to the family we would be staying with, who I had only briefly met once, and made it seem like it was a long-standing tradition.  I was subtle:

“Hi Kerry!  Kris mentioned that you’ll let us stay with you.  Thank you!  Not sure if she mentioned it, but April 12th is my half birthday (the big 36.5).  Could you please let her know if you have an angel food cake pan, or if we should bring ours?  Thanks again!”

And they went all out!  I got two cakes, a sign, and a slammin’ dinner.

I can’t wait until July 12th… 36.75, here I come!

About Jimmy

The stories herein are about a sentimental 80s child who cried at every showing of ET (the sad part where he was lying in the wash) and his families, then and now. His wife, son, parents, and siblings play their parts well. They have their exits and their entrances. Sometimes their exits are sad, but not as sad as ET.
This entry was posted in 2nd Grade, Baseball, He-Man, memoir, Nostalgia, Topeka Dr and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Other People’s Birthdays and a Minnesota/Iowa Roadtrip

  1. inkline says:

    Aren’t you glad I refused to write to Kerry and ask for anything half-birthday related? My request wouldn’t have been nearly as bold as yours and you probably wouldn’t have gotten half the reception!

  2. paralaxvu says:

    Whoa! 4 cakes a year! I am so going to start that right after my full-year 67th birthday on June 8. Hint, hint…

  3. kerry says:

    It was the best half birthday party we ever had! Of course it was the only one but from now on we will make it an annual event! In honor of your half birthday, Jimmy, we will have chocolate angel food cake with real whipping cream, rasberries and chocolate syrup every April 12! Oh and we won’t forget the “hinkles” either! And by the way, subtlety, along with your keen sense of humor must have been two of the qualities that Kristi loved most about you.

  4. Mom says:

    You’ll do just about anything for a piece of cake, won’t you? As you get older though all those half birthdays will add to your waistline as well as your age. You should also remember that your sibling’s birthdays were long forgotten when October rolled around.

  5. Bryan says:

    Ingenious! Must implement this immediately.

  6. granbee says:

    What a great idea to get more cake–celebrate every quarter!

  7. Smart thinking! Now, let’s hope your brother doesn’t send you a Cabbage Patch doll for the big 36.75…

  8. 1smiles says:

    I’m voting for the Cabbage Patch Doll!

  9. Dianna says:

    Once again, your Mom’s comment is spot on!

  10. Maxi says:

    You are a hoot, Jimmy … with a great imagination. Zach thinks so too. Blessings – Maxi


  11. Love this! Cannot believe you scored a half-birthday party. I should try that….mine is….darn! It was in March. Guess I need to plan a 40.75 for June. 🙂

  12. Sarah says:

    Best half birthday party ever! It was fun to see you guys and meet little Zach!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s