Day of Infamncy

Over the weekend, I got a birthday card from my mom, and tucked inside was a reminiscence of the October days in 1949 surrounding my birth. My mom and dad met at Ohio State, my mom a year or so out of high school and my dad a veteran attending on the GI bill. My mom tells of how intimidating it was as the university culture was transformed by this flood of vets, predominantly older and all male, and how the faculty seemed to gravitate to them and became dismissive of women “pursuing their MRS degree”.

My parents married in September of 1948, and I was conceived within sight of Ohio Stadium, a product of malfunctioning contraception (sorry, Mom!). They spent the summer of 1949 living with my paternal grandparents, and my dad returned to OSU to graduate at the end of fall quarter while my mom remained in the clutches of her inlaws. In her words:

This lovely October day brought back so many pleasant memories, I wanted to share them with you.  Whenever I experience a warm autumn day, the memories come flooding back.  That summer, your dad’s dog died.  He had had this Scottie since he was the age of 12.  The dog was 15 and going strong until the night he went after a ham bone and in the process of bringing it home, was hit by a car.  We were coming home from visiting some friends when we discovered him on the road.  This was so sad for your dad.  He cried like a baby. 

It wasn’t too long until he found another Scottie puppy.  The rest of the summer, your dad really worked training him.  However, since I was home with the dog and since your dad had to go back to OSU for another quarter, the dog and I became great friends.  When I came home from the hospital after you were born, the dog was so happy to have me there that he ran around and around me so I could scarcely move. Much later, I felt really bad as that was the end of my total commitment to the dog as I was busy trying to learn the ways of motherhood.  So I forgot the dog. 

Your dad left for school and then when you were about to make an appearance, the grandparents took me to the hospital.  Grandpa was so excited (on the way to the hospital - ed.) he had a slight accident by running into the back of a car.  The fellow told him to go on as it was just a bump.  Your dad was on his way home for the weekend and didn’t know what great things were happening.  When you and I came home from the hospital, your aunt Margie (Mom’s sister) came up to stay with me.  Good thing, too, because your grandma and I were really ignorant.  Margie had stayed with a friend of hers who had had a baby, so she knew what to do.  Therefore, we all survived.

Thus I lurched into the world 59 years ago today, raised on love and, apparently, hearsay, with the good fortune to slip in between two beloved dogs.  Thanks for making the effort to write that, Mom (as well as the effort to have me)!


  1. Your birthday celebration is far more interesting than mine! Of course you’ve had four more years to plan your blog post, too! Hope yours is a happy one!

  2. What a lovely tribute to your mother.


  3. Brian:

    Happy Birthday ‘little’ brother!!

  4. Carroll:

    Well hey hey…HaPpY bIrThDaY pHiL!!! Hope it’s been a good one. Did Mrs. P create another of he fabulous cakes for the occasion? Enjoy it while you can, Mister — after this coming Saturday, I’m thinkin’ you may be crying in your beer!

    (Mwahahahahahaaaa ;-)

  5. Ms.Lea:

    What a Wonderful story, and family…………. Happy Birthday!!

  6. Phil:

    Thank you all for the good wishes.

    Springer - you could give me 25 years and I couldn’t come up with a good blog post.

    Teresa - She certainly earned it

    Brian - You’re shrinking - we might have to recalibrate in November

    Carroll - No cakes - she’s been under the weather. She did get out to buy some excellent halibut, and cupcakes from Trophy Cupcakes a couple of blocks away. And Saturday? Bring it ON.

    Thanks, Ms.Lea

  7. That cupcake place looks pure evil!

    Hope you had a great birthday. The last 50-something one! Ack!

  8. Happy birthday! Hope you had a wonderful day, Phil. You mom writes a very good letter of a wonderful remembrance.

  9. happy birthday young feller.

  10. beatriz:

    I’ll make a cake a bit later. However, now that we’ve seen those cupcakes, I don’t know if the old homespun will compare…
    (Happy Happy, my sweet)

  11. Happy Birthday Phil! The best is yet to be.

  12. Carroll:

    Bring it on, you say? Oh, I think we will, Phil. I think you can count on it being seriously brought!

  13. Phil,

    happy returns, Phil! What a wonderful story by your Mom.

    And burn that AARP card, you are about the un-geeziest 59-year old I ever saw.

  14. Molly:

    Happy Birthday!

  15. Happy Birthday Phil!~that note from your mom is just about the sweetest thing ever. No wonder you turned out so nicely!

  16. Carroll:

    Mz P, might I respectfully suggest that instead of cake, this year you consider creating a nice tasty Humble Pie? Here’s hoping he’s gonna be wanting some of that for a midnight snack with his caffeine tonight :-)

  17. Phil:

    Thank you all! Start bracing yourselves now for the melodrama next year.

    And look what ends up dumped in your driveway when you don’t live in a gated community. I might have to close comments tonight if Penn State wins - Carroll will suck up all of my monthly bandwidth allotment.

    I actually do think it’s PSU’s year, Carroll - our qb is a horrorshow when he has to pass, and tonight he has to pass. And, yeah, come on back here after the game and burn a couch or something! I’ll leave a couple out on the porch.