Showing posts with label birthdays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label birthdays. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Of Holidays, Memories and Birthdays by Konnie Enos


Something someone said recently was one of the ways you remember things, events, is because you’re emotionally connected to them. Basically their traumatic or dramatic to you.
The specific example he gave was that anybody alive when Pearl Harbor was hit can remember exactly what they were doing when they heard the news.
I know our grandma could. She told me not only what she was doing but what she was thinking about. Or rather who she was thinking about. First was her brother-in-law who was stationed at Pearl Harbor. Needless to say she was concerned about him. (They later learned the initial blast knocked him backwards onto the dock, off the ship and to safety. He outlived Grandma.)
Second was her unborn child. She was about seven months along with her fourth child. He was born February 1, 1942. Old enough to serve a stint in Vietnam, after fathering four children. Two of which are Bonnie and I. (It should be noted he had two more children after he served in Vietnam.)
I’ve also spoken to people who could remember exactly what they were doing when they heard JFK was assassinated. There are others who have never forgotten the day Ronald Reagan was shot.
Personally one of my earliest memories, and most traumatic, is accidentally dropping a couple of potted plants right into my hands on my birthday. I still remember accidentally bumping the shelf (a not so stable bookcase) they were on and being terrified the owner would be upset if I let those plants fall without at least attempting to catch them. Both hit my hands plant down, then of course I dropped them. Not that either was very big. They weren’t. But because both were cactus plants.
Not only were both my hands full of little nettles but being my birthday, and therefore the middle of summer, I was barefoot, so at least one of my big toes got hit too.
The worst part of the day came later, when it was time to open all my birthday presents.
I could not touch a thing. Bonnie had to open each and every one of our gifts.
She picked up one up and excitedly opened it. “Oh look what I got!” Then she picked up my gift of the same size and shape, opening it. “Here’s yours.”
Rinse and repeat, three times. Our mother bought us, two little chairs, two alphabet books, two miniature china tea sets, two sewing card sets, and two jump rope and jack sets.
Each and every gift told us we were a set, two of one. Never separate, always together. Always the same. Just like our rhyming names told us we were a set. Of course the fact people around us couldn’t tell us apart already gave us that information.
The problem was even at six years old my sister and I already knew some differences.
For one thing, Bonnie didn’t find that tea set appealing. And I know I didn’t care for the jump rope or jacks. In later years I learned to use both, but at six I couldn’t. Plus neither of us liked the sewing cards which were meant to teach eye and coordination to preschoolers.
As much as we hated getting all the same gifts that year, the events of our next two birthdays solidified our resolve to rebel against identical gifts.
The next year our father’s girlfriend and her mother gave us each a baby doll. Only unlike every other time we’d been given such a gift, these dolls weren’t carbon copies. One, just like the mother, had short, curly brown hair, and the other had long blond hair, like Dad’s girlfriend. AND his girlfriend could tell us apart!
Yes, we treasured those dolls.
The next year Momma gave me a baby doll and Bonnie a teddy bear. She was finally getting the idea. However, every single other gift we got was carbon copy gifts except the badminton set we had to share. We even got tea sets, jump ropes and jack sets, again.
We threw a fit!
We did everything we could to make people see us as individuals. We still got gifts we were supposed to share, but I think that was the last year we got carbon copy gifts.
Anyway, the conversation about how you remember traumatic events, and it just being the season, it brought up one of my earliest memories, those plants landing on me.
I believe I stated our birthday is in the middle of summer. We’ve been told, our mother went into labor while at the fireworks display. So we weren’t born on the Fourth, but the stands going up let us know our birthday is coming soon.
Happy Birthday (just a bit soon) Bonnie!
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July Birthdays by Bonnie Le Hamilton



I wrote the poem below way back in my high school days, and I wouldn’t say I yearn for today all year anymore, quite the contrary, but I thought about this old poem when it came to writing this post.
Dawning on the horizon

So beautiful and bright,
A new day, but just any day,
Today is the day, the very day,
That special one,
That comes only once,
The day of all days!
The day that I always yearn.
Yesterday was for fireworks,
Today is for ice cream and cake!
It’s here! It’s here! It’s here, today!

I’m not the only one with July birthdays; I know a great many with birthdays this week, Actually I know people with birthdays from the first through the sixth, four today including myself, and several others scattered throughout the rest of the month.

And the other day I learned a few things about July.

July’s flower is the water lily. According to Buddhism, enlightenment is associated with this blossom. Brides choose it as a bouquet, since it represents chastity and purity of heart and soul. In Western cultures, water lilies represent eloquence and gracefulness.

July’s bird is the Eagle! How great is that? I personally love eagles and have a collection of them. (I also love Naiveties and owls, but those are other issues). Native American’s see the Eagle as a symbol of strength, leadership, and vision.

And finally, July’s birthstone is the ruby. This gemstone represents passion and love, it is as resilient as sapphires and only slightly softer than a diamond, plus some consider the ruby to bestow harmony, success, and emotional balance and contentment to its wearer.

And I really need to me a ruby ring! J


And Happy Birthday to all July babies! And happy writing everyone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Celebrations by Konnie Enos


It’s December.
Everywhere you go you see and hear all about the gifts that have to be bought for the Christmas season. (Or Hanukah, or Kwanza, or whatever giving celebration you have at this season.)
In all this hubbub people, lots of people, with December birthdays, are forgotten.
Everyone else gets presents for their birthday and Christmas.
People with December birthdays often get just one gift in December sometime.
Everyone else gets a birthday present wrapped in birthday themed paper.
People with December birthdays often get just Christmas wrapped gifts.
People such as Charlie Puth, Holly Marie Combs, Daryl Hannah, Sara Bareilles, Kirk Douglas, Rider Strong, Mayim Bialik, Dick Van Dyke, Taylor Swift, and list goes on and on. There are lots of people with December birthdays including Walt Disney and Patty Duke.
For anyone who is fortunate enough to have a birthday no way near a major holiday you can’t possibly understand the problem. I however have some idea how people born in December feel.
My mother went into labor at the fireworks display. Since the bicentennial fell on a Sunday, we celebrated, you guessed it, on our birthday. Since our birthday was so close to a major holiday our birthday parties generally had sparse attendance, if at all. Everyone had holiday plans.
Having a child actually born in the month of December, I’ve tried really hard to make sure he has a birthday AND Christmas.
So in celebration of the arrival of my first born son, seventeen years ago today happy birthday Tony. And happy birthday to everyone else with a December birthday whom I’ve known throughout the years. (This means you too William Parker.)

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Birthdays and Holidays part 2

As I stated in my last blog post, Konnie and I were born on July 5th, a fact that does affect how we think and feel, but there are lots of other people born on or near holidays. I know quite a few.

And I’ve heard a lot stories, and or complaints about this fact of life, everything from never having friends in town, or available, on their birthday because of the holiday or one girl who griped that everyone always expected any party held on her birthday to be a costume party. These things exist, and, when possible, we should incorporate them into our stories.

After all, for our characters to be realistic, they have to have a birthday, don’t they?

I admit, sometimes the timeline of a story doesn’t lend itself to including a birthday. If it doesn’t span an entire year, it might not cover the time when the birthday is. And there are people who just don’t make a great deal out of birthdays, but what if they do, or what if the character was born on or near a holiday?

Or what if, like that bit I witnessed on The Big Bang not too long ago, a character would rather ignore his birthday for some reason. What is the reason? And how do his friends respond to it? If the writers of The Big Bang can make entire episode based on that subject, it should make a good brief story line too.

Or you could have a character born near a holiday that isn’t on the same date every year, and in the story, that date happens to be your character’s birthday. How will they react? How will they feel?

I can help you with a family’s reaction to having to deal with a birthday and Thanksgiving on the same day. I could even ask my brother how he felt. And I already know Mom’s reaction to going into labor just as soon as she finished eating that yearly feast. She never let us, or more particularly Ben, forget it.

And in my late teens when my youngest brother made his entrance into the world, I heard a lot of jokes about being in labor on Labor Day, not sure if he still hears them, but then how many of his friends know he was actually born on that very day? Though it might be fun to have character give birth on that day. :)

And that complaint about friends being unavailable for birthday parties? Well, I recall once commiserating with a couple of friends over that shared problem. They were born on July  4th, but I’ve later heard it from a friend born on Christmas day.

I personally know of three people born on Christmas day. (I feel sorry for those poor souls. Gifts only once a year? How awful! :))
I already mentioned the Halloween birthday complaint. I can see how that would affect the attitude of someone about birthdays. But it might actually be fun to add to a story. :)

And I know a lady was born on New Year’s Day, however, I think she enjoyed being able to have a sleepover the night before her birthday. At least she was having fun at the one such sleepover I attended.

And there is one day on the calendar, which isn’t really a holiday, but it does affect the people born on that day a great deal. I happen to know of several. And that’s February 29th. Just two of these souls that I know of are a cousin and one of my teachers both in high school and later in college.

As I recall my cousin complained about having a birthday party just once every four years, but I think that might have been his mother’s doing, we didn’t get a party every year either. But our one time teacher liked to joke he was younger than his students were. He insisted he was only twelve when he was teaching us back in high school but had celebrated a birthday by the time he moved up to teaching college, so he was thirteen then. And he milked that both times. He was a fun teacher, one of my very favorites.

Anyway, when we were born can affect our attitudes about birthdays, and when our characters are born might do the same for them. Do any of your characters have a birthday on or near a major holiday? And how does it affect your story?


Happy writing, everyone. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Birthdays and Holidays

This past Sunday morning started out like any other day. I went through the same routine I always do, but things were a bit different when my computer informed me that my twin had finally connected to the internet, which isn’t unusual in itself, its just generally when this happens each morning, we either exchange hello’s or good morning’s. This past Sunday morning we each said, happy birthday.

Again, nothing spectacular, it’s not as if we’re going to forget when each other’s birthday is. But I thought it was kind of funny when over hour after we exchanged this greeting, Facebook saw fit to send me an email reminding me that it was Konnie Enos’ birthday. Duh!

I think Konnie put it best in her Facebook post later that day:
Thanks Facebook for reminding me that today was Bonnie Le Hamilton's birthday, I might have forgotten otherwise. I mean it's not like we didn't share a womb for eight months or celebrate the last past 52 years in some fashion together so I'm bound to forget that today marks one more year we've both lived on this planet. Not that I've ever forgotten it's my birthday. All that ruckus people make the night before the big day makes sure I never forget.
Happy Birthday America. I love July.

As for all that ruckus the night before, I can remember a time when we thought all that ruckus was for us. Of course, kids are self-centered by nature, but we grew up. We do know better, however, having the fifth of July for a birthday can be fun sometimes, or down right annoying.

Growing up, our mother often mentioned that the year we were born with the first boom of the fireworks display that July 4th her contractions started, a month early. Our parents left the display and hurried to the hospital, and Konnie and I came into world the next evening. And mother spent the rest of her life complaining about it. J

And then there was the year I took a summer band class, the summer of our bicentennial. That year The 4th fell on Sunday and our hometown planned to have the parade on Saturday. My band class was going to march in that parade, but my problems started when my fellow clarinet players learned two things, first I’d never been on the receiving end of any birthday spankings, in part because my birthday is in the middle of the summer, and that my birthday was on Monday.

The girls in the class, which was all but one of my classmates, decided my height deficiency was due at least in part to the fact I’d never received a pinch to grow an inch. So they were going to make sure they each gave me my birthday spanking, and a pinch to grow an inch. A terrifying prospect considering the number of girls involved and how old I was going to be.

Then we marched in the parade. When we reached the end, our bandleader announced to the whole group that there would be no classes on Monday. While the rest of the band cheered, our bandleader stared dumbfounded at the clarinet section where all but one of the girls responded in some form of, “Uh darn!” and the remaining girl sighed and sank to the ground in shear relief!

Do any of your characters have a birthday on or near a major holiday? How does it affect their life or their attitude? Do you show this in your story? It could be happy, sad, anything. Birthday’s happen in real life, why not in our character’s lives? Think about it.


Happy writing, everyone. J