Birthday Parties

Everybody loves a party, right? Birthday parties are the best. The majority of birthday parties when we were young were on Saturdays. Our family cleaned house on Saturday mornings but the afternoons were free to go to friends houses to hang out and play or attend birthday parties. My husband, Tim, didn’t have that luxury. He grew up working Saturdays in the family business. I attended lots of birthday parties on Saturdays, but three come to mind and the homes they were held at – Angie Hastings, Maria Rohter, and Natalie Huddock’s parties.

Angie’s house was on the north side of Camelback mountain and you could walk from her backyard out onto the mountain preserve. All of us girls went hiking during the party (Angie’s birthday is in March so it was too cold to use the pool). I remember the first time I walked into her house, I was amazed. Her mom decorated with blues and greens and until this day they are my favorite mix of colors when decorating a house. The time Angie came for my birthday party I remember she gave me a stuffed fat cat animal. I had that cat for years and eventually our Beagle, Clyde, ripped all the stuffing out of it. One of our best friends used to come over and wear the fabric skin on his head and tease our dog.

Maria’s house was on Exeter, a sprawling estate, complete with pool and tennis court. I’m pretty sure you could get lost in her house. The thing that I loved about Maria’s house were all the windows. You know the old saying, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones…well, Maria lived in what I would a call a glass house. Maria’s mom was amazing and every time you called the house, rather than say, “hello” her mom would always say, “Hi.” It gives you an indication of her mom’s personality and how she treated everyone she met like you were their best friend. The whole house had that kind of feel… very friendly, warm, and welcoming.

Natalie also lived on Camelback mountain, but on the Southside. Her house had more stairs, levels and ups and downs than you could count. I remember when we were there for the party, Jacklyn Smith was filming a movie at a house a few lots over. We were all giddy taking turns with the binoculars trying to get a look at the famous movie star. I still remember the toilet seat that was clear and contained coins molded within it. Odd? I wondered to myself what I would do with that little bit of change if you could somehow get it out of the plastic mold. One gift Natalie gave me at one of my parties was a pair of gold teddy bear earrings. I lost one but still have the lone earring in a box in the attic.

As my girls look back at their own birthday parties and those of their friends, I wonder if they will have fond memories like I do. If they will pick up preferences after seeing how someone decorates a house or a mom will touch them in a certain way so that they feel special and important. Tim said the parties he missed didn’t scar him. I guess there are happy mediums and balances in life. Our experiences growing up mold who we are as well as our personalities. I am who I am today because of the experiences I’ve had in life. Tim is who he is because of the experiences he had in life. I’m sure we both wouldn’t have it any other way….I hope one day our girls will look back and say the same thing.

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