Righting 89 wrongs

A few days ago, I got together with my brothers, uncle and aunt to hold a 90th birthday party for  HBirthday my dad (My dad is on the right).

It was a great night, replete with remembrances, surprises and the requisite number of hugs and kisses. My dad was tickled pink. He pulled me aside afterwards and said, "You did a nice job pulling this together. Did you know this was my very first birthday party?" I was stunned. I distinctly remembered giving him gifts over the years, but figured he must have been given a party by his parents at some point in his life. Not so.

In fact, a more in-depth discussion revealed that my dad was the only one of his five siblings to have not been given a birthday party in his youth. As the middle child, he'd been consistently overlooked by his parents. I felt really bad for him. But, the story got worse. When he was 12, my dad's parents 'forgot' to give him a Christmas present! He sat around the tree that long-ago Christmas morning and watched speechlessly as his brothers and sister unwrapped their presents and shrieked with joy. Can you imagine? I asked him why he hadn't spoken up. He said he was too embarrassed. Plus, as he put it: 'In those days, children were seen and not heard.'

I'm really glad my brothers, uncle and aunt had an opportunity to right 89 wrongs. As for my grandparents, shame on them.

16 thoughts on “Righting 89 wrongs

  1. I still help sacrifice the turkey on Thanksgiving morning too. My beloved simply leaves the house.

  2. Good for you, Peter. I know Ed and his family still sacrifice a turkey on Thanksgiving morning. The kids positively love.

  3. I wouldn’t know. I gave up any practices that involve sacrificing of live animals or eating of red meat in late 2006.
    This came right after a week of several steak or BBQ dinners, one of them involving Ed Moed. That experience, plus dating the vegetarian I’m now married to changed my perspective and stomach for the better.

  4. Thanks Art. Great story. It was obviously a different world when our parents grew up. I was tempted to comment on today’s 12-year-olds, and speculate as to how well they’d deal with either a forgotten birthday or a holiday without presents. My guess is not very long on either count

  5. Thank you for sharing this.
    A few weeks ago my first cousin had a 90th birthday party for his father, my dad’s older brother. When he was around, my old man said they never had a childhood, partly due to the Depression, and Uncle Bernie confirmed what that was like. He was moved too.

  6. Wow Rep. A great story. Can you believe this used to happen to my mother, as well? My grandparents were wonderful people, but because my uncle shared a birthday with my mother, and he was the oldest boy, he often got the parties. My mother told me that’s the reason she made sure we had birthday parties. She also told of one Xmas where grandmom completely forgot to get my mother a gift. Fortunately my mother was a teen, so was able to laugh it off. Plus my grandmother made it up to her with a gift the next day. But I can’t imagine forgetting one of my kids birthdays or Xmas presents.

  7. Having met Pop Pop just this summer, I can attest to what a great guy this gentleman is. Still mows his own lawn, does his own work around the house and truly takes care of himself. A joy to be around. Wish I had met him sooner. Good going Steve. The title of the post was perfect.

  8. Amen to that, Lunch! And I add my belated Happy Birthday wishes to Steve’s Dad- a wonderful man and honored member of the Peppercom family.

  9. what a shame, but job well done, son!
    we’ll never have as much time as we did yesterday and Mr. Cody was obviously moved by the event and that it finally occured.