My parents, my sister, and two brothers, had fled from a German enclave in an area near Warsaw, Poland, when the Russian army started advancing westward towards Germany. Along the way, my two brothers died, my father got separated from the rest of the family, and there we were, in Germany. My family had no money, no prospects, and no place to live. I had no brothers and no father. At least the fighting had stopped.
My father eventually found us. Tired of the state of affairs in Europe and needing to get away from all the bad memories, my parents decided to emigrate to Canada. We arrived here in May or June of 1949.
Being a forward looking sort of guy, I really don't remember all that much about the past. I do have some childhood memories, both good and bad, and I have written about some of them before, both here in this blog and elsewhere. Hearing about what my parents endured in their lives, then watching them cope with life as I grew up, showed me that human beings are incredibly resilient and strong, when they need to be. My parents never whined or complained, and I have developed a contempt for those who go through life complaining about how tough things are, and always expecting others to 'do something' about it. Then: another law, another tax, another snippet of freedom lost.
I am grateful for what I have. I love every day that I am privileged to live. I don't want anything from anyone. I just want to live my life and take care of my family.
Still, I have attained geezerhood, so I guess I deserve something to celebrate my birthday. But what?
Glad you asked. On my birthday, I expect to come home to:
- A beautiful birthday cake, with a creamy, but not-too-sweet filling, baked by an Italian bakery nearby. It will have one candle, to remind me that it is my birthday. It will not have the actual number of candles necessary to indicate the years that I have attained. They wouldn't fit on the cake, and when lit they might set the house ablaze.
- A card that wishes me the best for the occasion, but doesn't rub in how old I actually am.
- Sincere best wishes from my wife and son. I don't need any more toys or gadgets. I can't think of a single thing that I really 'need.'
- Luciano Pavarotti, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Boston Pops Orchestra performing a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday in my back yard. They would all easily fit back there. They almost certainly won't fit into the back yard of wherever we end up moving to next, so this would be the perfect time and place for them all to make an appearance. This opportunity will likely not ever exist again.
Now, I will wait until Tuesday to see what will actually happen. Don't tell my wife and son about my expectations, though. I want to see what they come up with on their own.
I'll keep you posted.