Here WE go again.1/9/13
I didn’t have a twin. But I always shared my birthday. As far back as I can recall. And I was always happy to share it. Truly. Maybe it is because I share it with my Grandpa, or Papa as I call him. I am Jan. 10th, and he is Jan. 11th. It was fun to see how many candles we could get on the cake. I suppose it was sometime in my teenage years I realized I wouldn’t always be sharing my birthday. I put that thought away. It became a little more special every year after that.
This Friday we celebrate my Papa’s 90th Birthday. He is the Papa who built me a doll house when I was 5 yrs old. We are not talking just any old dollhouse. It has a wrap around porch with a swing. It has hard wood floors and wall paper. Real drapes, and little framed pictures on the walls. The front door has a stain glass window. Every detail down to the toilet paper on the toilet paper roll. . It is my dream house. It will always be my dream house. All done by hand. His hands. With love, for me. I watch my daughter play with it, and even my son. They are transformed as I was.
As soon as I could ride a bike we would go for rides. Papa rode his red bike with a big horn that he would gladly blow at anyone in our way. We rode down what now is a huge four lane highway, and I wonder how in the world he was brave enough to take a wild child like me with him. We would ride 4 miles. That was a lot. And now I get it. He was trying to tire me out! We would arrive home to a home cooked meal and table set by my nanny. It was always good.
It was the teenage years I recall receiving the beginnings of his many newspaper clippings. I will never forget the one he sent me on teenage driving and speeding. I still think about that article. It was the first time I actually thought- “maybe I don’t know everything, maybe my brain is impulsive” These were pretty deep thoughts in a time when all I could think about was driving my parents car, and that included driving fast. And being stupid. For a longtime- I thought about that article everytime I put on my seatbelt. He made me think. When I wasn’t doing much thinking.
He wrote me letters while I was in college. Real letters. Through the mail. He wrote them in cursive. Catholic School cursive, and I keep every last one. He wrote me one when I graduated that I still can’t read without tears about how proud he was of me. He isn’t a sap my Papa. But he loves me a lot.
He loves me enough to say a Hail Mary every night while I was going through chemotherapy. I am not sure if I said a word when he would call me to see how I was doing during those months. I would listen. He was wise. Calming. He told me he hasn’t said that many Hail Marys since The War. Now he was thinking ‘who would he share his birthday with.’ No, he never said it. But I knew.
This Friday WE will celebrate our birthdays. Again. It never does get old, even if we do.
Happy 90th Birthday Papa. I love you.