Monday, July 11, 2016

Five years ago

Another birthday passed this weekend.  I considered writing something about my experience with summer birthdays, and illustrating it with a well-remembered photo of one party.  This morning I arose early with that composition in my mind.  Wondering if I had already posted that photo on this blog, I typed "summer birthday" in the search box.  Fortunately, that search function works well.

Yes, I had posted the photo AND written a column in summer 2011.  

Unfortunately, the link to the Danvers Herald column no longer worked. Nor could I find it easily via the newspaper's online site (   I did find my original on my own computer, dated 5/30/2011, and here it is:

Summer birthdays and a reunion
By Sandy Nichols Ward

I was born in July, an inconvenient month for celebrating a birthday with school friends. I felt a bit jealous of my friends who had birthdays during the school year. Recognition of their special days came more easily, or so it seemed to me. I don't recall whether our teachers made announcements of birthdays or whether word just spread informally among the students, but I know that I felt left out of the school-based loop for communicating about birthdays. By July there was no one around to pay attention to a birthday, except my immediate family and a few neighborhood friends. 

My mother was not in the habit of planning big parties for birthdays.  Birthdays in our family were usually simple affairs: a homemade cake, a few sensible gifts, and the singing of "Happy Birthday to You."  It was rare to invite guests. 

I can only remember one large party organized for my birthday.  My friends and I sat outside around a large table set up under the trees near the big barn.  I've found a few photos of this party; I count fourteen children around the table, including myself and my sister Jean.  The photos are not dated, but from various clues I've decided that this was probably my 7th birthday, July 1950, the summer after first grade, or at most one year later.  Raymond Dirks is on my right, and I recognize the faces of Janet Hoberg and Gordon Lindroth.

Coincidently, I hope to see some of these SAME friends in Danvers this summer, not because anyone is organizing a birthday party, but because my classmates are all invited to the BIG FLING, the 50th Class Reunion of the Holten High Class of 1961!  I look forward to attending this reunion, which actually falls on the weekend of my birthday, July 8-10, 2011.  At last! A school event on my birthday! 

I'll bring along the old photos of the 1950 party, hoping that others may recognize faces and have fun identifying the guests at that long-ago party.