My Big 7-0 Birthday Month

(March, 2015) It was one innocent conversation that changed my thinking. Talking with my friend, Betty, who would reach the same birthday milestone as me later this year, we commiserated about turning seventy. Moving from one decade to the next seemed ominous. Then, she wisely reminded me how lucky we are. Relatively active. Moderately healthy. Retired and enjoying it. Just think of all the people we know who didn’t make it this far, she said. And oh, was she right. From there I decided to meet life’s inevitability with a smile. I’m going to have a birthday party, I told her.

Childhood memories resurfaced of how in my family, we got to have a birthday party only once, when we turned twelve. Sure, we got a cake and ice cream at dinner with our family each year, but the big thing was when we turned twelve. Then it was a real party, inviting friends, complete with hats and games. With so little attention paid to these days when I was a kid, many adult birthdays passed with little notice. Time for a change.

I recalled my friend, Carolyn who each year celebrated a birthday week. Each day of that week, her husband knew he was expected to plan something sweet. Not anything big, just something to mark the occasion. Carolyn was my inspiration and planning seemed to take on a life of its own. I realized I had several groups of friends who didn’t know each other so it made sense to plan something with each of them. Soon, I had scheduled four events. Before I knew it, I was having a birthday month. I sure never thought I’d out-celebrate Carolyn!

T022he group of women I went to Door County with since the late 1980’s had a long history of game playing and porch sitting traditions I wanted to replicate. On Saturday March 7th eight of us (me, Betty, Patty P, Pat H, Kathy, little Patti H, Diane, and Sandy), (Bonnie, Trish and Ginny wanted to be there but couldn’t) met at McGinn’s in their side room surrounded by pictures of Robin Yount and old County Stadium. Some got glassy eyed, recalling spring training adventures of the past and opening day parties.

tiara 001Diane Marie (our “new best friend” sitting at a nearby table), took our group picture. When our Diane revealed that she was also a “Diane Marie,” major bonding ensued. When new friend Diane Marie declared that I didn’t look 70, I tipped the traveling tiara toward her and wore it proudly all day! “Karin Trivia” was played with gusto. My trivia questions were pretty basic with ten queries about my family, school history and special interests. No one remembered how I and all first time attendees at Betty’s annual Christmas party had to mime the Twelve Days of Christmas. Or the part I played in the maids-a-milking debacle. We laughed a big one.

024Little Patti H and our Diane Marie tied “Karin Trivia” with a score of five. The two light-up chicks, the prize, was awarded jointly to them and then deemed great toys for little Patti H’s granddaughters. I loved all the cards, Betty for the nuts (no need to steal cashews now), little Patti H for the “few little things,” Trish for the books, (now we know that reading is my second favorite hobby).

On March 18th, the Plain and Simple Book Group met at my apartment. I’d belonged to this group for ten years before moving to Eagle River and when I returned to town, they found me and made me feel welcome once again. That night, it was a small group (me, Jane, Susan and Mary Beth) due to several others being off on spring break, out-of-town adventures.

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For this regular monthly meeting, I’d gotten a small cake and candles, wine and snacks. In one hearty puff, I blew out the candles (7, one for each decade). It seemed so fitting that the book under discussion was The Alchemist. The meaning of life’s journey was fully examined.

70th birthday 00670th birthday 005

On March 26th, three of the four stankin’ ho’s (Julie, Stephanie and me, Chris was recuperating) met at the Cheesecake Factory. Though we haven’t worked together for over fifteen years and our age spread makes Julie and Stephanie young enough to be my daughters, we can laugh and talk for hours. Which we did, of course! Julie’s card included a hand-written John Lennon quote (“You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.” ); it almost made me cry. When our handsome, young waiter, Derrick, took our picture he insisted I couldn’t possibly be seventy. In fact, he thought I was fifty! Needless to say, he got a very big tip!

birthday lunch 002

On March 30th, I ended the month with a cocktail lunch with my niece, Jujee, at Eddie Martini’s. By far, the classiest place, the waitress overheard it was my birthday and delivered a chocolate treat complete with candle. My lunchtime Manhattan was especially flavorful. Great atmosphere, great food. Great conversation, as always.

And so the month ended with wishes fulfilled and parties that will be a fond memory forever. I’m so lucky to have such wonderful friends who shared this time with me. And perhaps I’m getting wiser in my old age. Oops, that’s not what I meant to say! Let me try again. Perhaps I’m getting wiser as I learn to have more fun in this next phase of my life. Not wanting to be mushy, I have to wonder if I’ll make it to the next decade. If not, I can at least say that I had a blast marching into my seventies. Happy birthday to me!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Diana Schramer
    May 11, 2015 @ 21:36:40

    What a fabulous post. I felt like I was there with you at each one of your celebrations!

    Like

    Reply

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