The stain from that day will be sketched into my soul and reside on the “Birthday parties for 6 year olds” page in my heart. I woke up early that morning having spent the night tossing and turning because I was so excited about my birthday. It had been about a year since leaving the Big Apple on Riverside Drive and the five-day Amtrak trek across country to L.A. We lived in a temporary house next to a Hawaiian family that consisted of a loving grandmother and her two grandchildren. Leilani her granddaughter was my closest friend. We would play together in the backyard while her grandmother baby sat us until my mom and dad came home. We would have healthy snacks of juice and cut up lightly salted cauliflower, carrots and celery. It was a lot of fun. We had just moved into our new house on Wilton Place a few months earlier. I jumped out of bed and padded to the bathroom. My mom braided my hair the night before, I remember my dad always teasing my mom when she made the two pigtails, the braids were so tight, my father would ask if he was my father because my eyes went from big brown inquisitive eyes to almond-shaped squinting eyes because the braids were too tight. She wanted to ensure the style would be fresh in the morning, of course, I never complained about the slight headache I constantly had. My favorite red and white polka dot dress was carefully laid out on my chaise lounge. My mom and I went especially to pick out the dress and white patent leather shoes for my birthday. It was going to be on the patio. I sent the invitations out 2 weeks before. The balloons were strewn high up on our apple, avocado, orange and lemon trees.
Mom was in the kitchen making my favorite foods … fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and the pièce de résistance pineapple upside down cake. I can still taste it. My grandmother didn’t allow my mom into the kitchen when she was growing up, so when she married my dad, she brought a recipe box filled with cakes, cookies and pies. My father told me that it was a fact that my mom did not win his heart through his stomach, he said, Marian, where is the food recipes, I see cakes and pies? She looked at him and smiled and replied, your father has been telling that story for ages, what he failed to admit is that just like you pineapple upside cake is his all time favorite. Looking at him smiling, she asked isn’t there something you could be doing on the patio? It seems like the chairs and table want attention. We all laughed. My grandfather had called me from New York and I could hear my grandmother in the background trying to get the phone from him, with little success. I ran back upstairs to finish getting ready. Time was approaching and I returned and sat by our large picture window in the living room waiting for my friends to arrive.
It was bright and sunny and clear July 30th day, I was on top of the world. It was around 1 pm and no one had called and no one had arrived yet. But I was still hopeful and cheery. I moved to the patio, my dad had my favorite music playing on the stereo and I sat patiently waiting. My mom was now sitting on the couch knitting and my dad was reading Downbeat magazine. My brother was up in his room playing with his toys. It was now 3 pm and not a word or a guest showed up. My temperament had become solemn. I was reading Charlotte’s Web for the hundredth time. My mom face began to show some concern and my dad was getting upset. I sat there for another hour. No one called or showed up. I finally gave up, I came inside, my mom said, Honey, come sit by me and your dad. I fashioned a smile, stood there for a few more minutes until I couldn’t hold my tears back, I shook my head no and ran upstairs to my room, closed all the curtains and plopped onto the bed face down.
That was the first and last birthday party I ever had. Don’t get me wrong, it was disappointing, but, it neber effected my friendships or my joie de vie c’est Dieu.
That’s it for now, till the next post, Peace Out!