It was my birthday last Friday so this is quite topical for me. I didn’t do anything special on the day because Naomi had her volunteer job. We went out to lunch the following day and again on Wednesday of this week when my friend Gillian came to visit from Melbourne. Gillian and I have birthdays exactly two weeks apart so we try to celebrate the milestone birthdays together even though we live in different states now. In case you are wondering how old I am this year, sixty-five.
1) What’s your earliest birthday memory?
I mentioned in my last Throwback Thursday post that I remembered mum making my birthday cake when I was about four. I think that was the first one I definitely remember.
2) What was your favorite birthday and why?
I can’t pick a favourite birthday. I have had an awful lot of them you know; but my 13th birthday was a special one because it was the first time we went on a steam train excursion. I remember seeing the big sign about it at the Adelaide Railway Station and asking mum if we could go for my birthday. She said yes and that was the beginning of our railfan trips.
Another railway related birthday was when I was 23, I think. We were away on a weekend steam trip to a country town. A group of us who were camping in the carriages overnight had a bonfire and I remember that they sang “Happy Birthday” to me. More recently, five years ago to be exact, Gillian and I had our birthday trip to the “Puffing Billy” railway near Melbourne. Ten years ago we all met up for a trip on the West Coast Wilderness Railway and a cruise on the Gordon River on Tasmania’s west coast.
3) What’s the best birthday present you have ever received?
I honestly can’t say. I’ve been given some wonderful birthday presents over the years and I couldn’t possibly pick just one.
4) Did you ever get money as a birthday gift?
Yes, I did receive money as a birthday gift from time to time. This became more common when I became an adult and it was always nice to choose something I wanted although I do like it when I know that someone has gone to a lot of trouble to find out what I would like and get it for me.
5) What did you like to do on your birthday as a kid? What do you like to do now?
I liked having a special outing like the train trip and I liked having birthday cake. I haven’t changed much. I still enjoy both. Eating out is fun too. These days we usually choose to go out to lunch rather than dinner for our birthdays and that’s what we did last week. I did have cake too.
6) Did you have birthday parties with friends or family parties?
I was never big on parties really. I had one when I was thirteen or fourteen with friends and a big 40th but usually I was perfectly happy with a family lunch or dinner.
7) Did you get to pick the food for your birthday? Did you prefer to eat a home cooked meal or to eat out at a restaurant on your birthday?
We didn’t go out to restaurants much so of course it was fun to go somewhere for a birthday meal. That was when I was older though. As a child I don’t remember ever going to a restaurant. Mum would make birthday cake and would usually ask what kind I’d like.
8) Did your family have any fun birthday traditions? Did you continue those traditions with your own kids?
Not that I recall. We liked to make gifts a surprise and sometimes there would be gag presents with many layers of wrapping before you got to the actual present. I don’t have kids so that part of the question is not relevant to me.
9) Did you ever get to take the day off school on your birthday? As an adult did/do you take the day off?
I was extremely lucky as a child because my birthday nearly always fell during the May school holidays. Later, as an adult it often fell on or close to the Adelaide Cup Day public holiday so I often got a day off work anyway. Funnily enough after we left South Australia the date of that holiday was changed to March.
10) Have you ever had a surprise birthday party? Was it a real surprise, or did you know it was coming?
Once, when I was in my early twenties and it was a complete surprise to me.