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Connections: All Smiles

Wed, 09/18/2019 - 13:07

Months ago, when a friend and I realized we were the same age and our birthdays were only a day or two apart, we agreed to celebrate together this year. Now, however, with our natal days upon us, I say “fuhgeddaboudit.”

The truth is I don’t like birthdays. Now that I am four score and more, birthdays inevitably confirm the fact that I am aging, and why should anyone enjoy that? But there is a photo in the family archives that offers a different reason.

I am about 4 years old and standing off to one side of a party table in a field at my grandparents’ farm at which other children are seated. Oh dear. Memory may have played a trick, setting me up for a sad story. Were there balloons? Had mine broken?

The more I think about birthdays past, the more I come up with another one better forgotten. My mother had taken me to Gimbels, the department store adjacent to Macy’s in Midtown Manhattan. There, she insisted we buy a party dress I hated. There’s no photo saved of me wearing it, so let me just say it had pink felt appliqués surrounding the hem.

A really happy birthday photo has taken its place, thank goodness. It was taken at the Hideaway, a waterfront Mexican restaurant on West Lake Drive in Montauk, about 10 years ago, with my grandchildren on hand, and we are all smiles.

There are only a few days left before this year’s birthday. I have no idea what I might wear except a big smile.