Friday, April 9, 2010

Flashback Friday - Birthday Memories

Welcome to Flashback Friday! In honor of my sister's birthday today, we're taking a look back at the birthdays of our childhood.
What were birthdays like when you were growing up? Were they a big deal or understated? Did you have parties? Get to choose what or where the family ate for dinner? Are there any particular birthday traditions that you remember? Is there any birthday that stands out (good OR bad!), either due to the events surrounding it or due to the particular present(s) you received?

I have always loved my birthday. Even today, when I'm much less excited about the addition of another digit to my age, the day just has a special feel to it. And it's not because I had lots of parties or anything; I've just always loved a "special occasion," as we called it in our family.

My mom did not like birthday parties. It was fine for me to attend them, but she couldn't handle sending what she considered a "bring me a present" invitation. (I'm thinking she also was a little concerned about what kind of gifts I might give, as she hated Barbie and most other trendy things.)

(I realize some of my posts make my parents sound like real ogres. They were nice people; they just had definite, ultra-conservatively Christian views about many things. But I digress.)

(I'm the first one on the left end of the couch.)

We (my siblings and I) were each allowed one party, which was for our 5th birthday. I remember being so excited that a friend gave me a Liddle Kiddle; they had just come out that year. But one thing completely puzzles me now. There was no such thing as preschool, so school was the beginning of the social environment for me (other than church activities). And our neighborhood had few kids my age. So looking at the picture, I have no idea how we knew to invite them since I hadn't gone to school yet! Only two of the kids that were there were from church. It's driving me nuts, and I can't even ask my mom about it! (For those new to my blog, she passed away about 18 months ago.) So that mystery will remain unsolved.

One major thing I remember from my birthdays was how mean my big sisters were. Oh, I kid. Sorta. See, my brother and both of my sisters were a good bit older than me (11, 9, and 7 years older). And all of them were born in the wee hours of the morning. However, I was born a little after 10:00 pm. So my sisters delighted in telling me each year that I wouldn't get to open my presents until the day after my birthday because I didn't change ages until after my bedtime. Of course, my mom didn't succumb to their wishes, but it still aggravated me to no end!

I remember that we generally got to choose the meal that my mom would fix. I almost always chose hamburgers. It was very rare for us to ever go out to eat, a treat generally that only happened when we were traveling. But there were a few years in my elementary days when I remember us going to Kip's Big Boy restaurant because my birthday hamburger was free and then heading to Baskin Robbins for my free ice cream cone afterward.

(Wow. I didn't know there were any Big Boy restaurants left but there are still a few left, although I think all the ones called Kip's are gone.)

The most memorable present I ever received was also on my 5th birthday. Although it's a wonder I'm not in therapy because of it! That was what I always called "my 5-year-old bed." I was so excited to get my very own twin bed. Because you see, um, I was still in the crib! When I got older, I teased my parents mercilessly. (And rightly so!) In their defense, we had a TINY house. (Is it an oxymoron to type tiny in ALL CAPS?! Gee, I've either turned into random Lid or My ADHD Me/Monkeys are Funny!) Anyway, it was about 1100 square feet, and my folks raised all four of us there, not moving until that time when I was in high school and the only one at home! I had apartments bigger than that house after I got out of college! It had three bedrooms. My brother had one, and he had a double bed. (My crib was in that room.) My sisters shared a double bed in their bedroom, and then my folks had theirs. Where would I go? I couldn't share a bed with my brother. I've said I guess they were hoping I would last in the crib until he went to college, when I would be seven! But finally, on my 5th birthday my dad came home from work and brought in a twin bed, which went in my sisters' room. There was hardly room to walk between the two beds, but it fit. It was also a bit of a problem because my sisters were 12 and 14 by this time, and they would need to study and it would be my bedtime. Many times I remember going to sleep on my brother's bed (I guess he was working at the grocery store.) and then being moved to my bed later. I did move into his room once he left home, but I slept in my 5-year-old bed all through high school and my parents finally got rid of it when I got married.

So that is more than I'm sure you ever wanted to know about my childhood birthdays, but I bet no one can top that birthday memory!

But I still want to read yours, so link your post here!


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Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Bits-n-Pieces said...

I LOVED Shoney's Big Boy growing up. lots of good memories of the one in Memphis, as it was the halfway point between our house and my grandparents when we'd make that 400 mile journey!

It's nice to meet you..Cathy sent me! I did a birthday entry and linked it, too!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

ohmygosh, we have some similarities again. I wish I had time to say more, but late for work. Loved the post.

Joyce said...

I loved this. I love that looking at the pictures is like looking at my pictures. I definitely think, no matter the economic status, that our parents just didn't go crazy with the parties. There's a lot of pressure associated with birthday parties today. And I'm not sure they are any more fun than ours were!

Kiddles were my favorite. I had a kiddle house (it was small, not like a Barbie house) and when you pulled the lid down there was a track for a car. I had Babe who came with a little yellow sports car and my sister had Lola who came with a little sailboat that you could set in the fake lake. Obviously they were a lot of fun since my memory of them is very detailed : )

I linked today...thanks for hosting!

Melli said...

Oh wow! This could be MINE too... a lot of it anyway. I did love those Liddle Kiddles! I bet those other friends at your party were the children of your parents' friends! Or maybe just kids from the neighborhood?

I slept in a crib til I was FIVE too! But I didn't get a new bed then... my oldest sister moved out and I got HER spot in the double bed! Our house was the same size as yours and we had SEVEN children in it! The boys had bunkbeds in a room only big enough to really be a closet today! The girls had the Master bedroom with a double bed and a set of bunks. And my crib was in my parents room! No WONDER they divorced! LOL!

So... I do have a bed in one of my birthdays... but my story is WAY different than yours!

Barbara H. said...

We have a lot of similarities in our birthdays! No beds in mine, though.

Unknown said...

That was a great birthday flashback! I felt like I was right there with ya! Thanks for stoppin by my blog. I enjoyed yours and it is great to "meet" you as well. Have a wonderful weekend! :)

CeeCee said...

Oh wow! I'm so sorry you had to sleep in a crib until five. Makes you appreciate your grown up bed much more! Love reading your flashbacks!

Kim said...

Had to laugh at your story -- I think you're right: no one can top THAT birthday! LOL

bp said...

Great flashback, Linda! I'll post my memories soon. I like you have always loved birthdays.

Nel said...

What fun memories. And oh my gosh, I had forgotten about Little Kiddles. I had the little house that Joyce was talking about. And they had Pocket Kiddles. What a flashback. lol
I am going to see if I can't find a picture or two and link up. Thanks for hosting.

until next time... nel

Cathy said...

Great birthday memories Linda. We have a Frisch's Big Boy in our town. Love it! said...

I just hopped over from my TSMSS page and saw this. Oh my goodness!! In California, growing up, it was BOB'S BIG BOY, and I still dream of those cheeseburgers and fries. Whenever we had some spare money in high school, we headed straight to Bob's.
Right this minute, I could devour one of those burgers!!!

quilly said...

I slept in a crib in my parent's bedroom until I was 3. Then I got the bottom bunk in my brother's bedroom.

We had a Shoney's Big Boy nearby when I was growing up. There is still one on Oahu.

riTa Koch said...

Enjoy your stories very much.
I'd never heard of a Liddle Kiddle.
Tje crib-till-5 reminded me of the little house we lived in when we first came back to the USA with three kids and the daughter slept in a small room on top bunk way past outgrowing it, had to curl up :(
Thanks for stopping by.
Yes, a father's handwriting becomes a treasure when he can no longer write. He just turned 89 and does not have very long on this earth.
Sorry about the loss of your mom.

My ADHD Me said...

Whew, I left such a long comment just to tell you I was leaving you a comment here, that I am exhausted. I'll have to come back later.


First of all, I have to say that I think that every single picture (with groups of kids) taken from that era looks exactly the same.
I have a few from when I was around that age. They all have the same white border, the same color tint and all of the kids look alike. I think we were even wearing the same outfits.

I think I am one of the only people in our age group (yes, I think we are close in age) that doesn't remember Liddle Kiddles. I have a friend that still has hers. She loves them. For her birthday, I surprised her with 2 that I got off of e-bay. opps....rambling....

BTW, funny how a special treat for kids was Big Boy. Things haven't changed. Last year I told Alberquando he could go anywhere he wanted for his birthday...he chose McDonalds. haha.

I'm trying to get back in the "Blog Groove" and then I can start take part in some more of your Flashback Fridays. They are fun.

One more thing....Me? Ramble?
Surely you must be kidding!
(And don't call me Shirley)

Unknown said...

Laughing at your story, and your "five year old bed." Wow - they grow up so fast. *grin*

Lisa Spence said...

Love the snapshot! And the shot of Big Boy himself--brings back lots of memories!