Monica & My Awful BirthdaysThursday, August 31, 2017
|Helianthus annuus August 31 2017|
Since one of my first birthdays that I can remember, I recollect that they were awful.
My birthday is on August 31st, 1942 but for reasons that have never been suitably explained my birth certificate states that I was born April 18, 1943. If you calculate the difference, that is almost 9 months. My mother’s explanation for the discrepancy was that my father had forgotten to register me until months later. She further added that the only proof of my real August birth was to be found in the records of the hospital (Hospital Anchorena, Buenos Aires).
So for the rest of my life, particularly when applying for important documents or crossing borders (terrible when I was a small boy) I had to “lie”about my birthday.
A further problem is that my mother married my father (who she says was divorced) in a country that did not accept divorce as legal. She told me that they were married in Uruguay where divorce was legal.In all my documents I am Jorge Alejandro Waterhouse-Hayward and in my mother’s it was always Filomena de Irureta Goyena.
Furthermore I hate cake. I hate cake because I had to eat cake at the birthday parties my father and mother organized in our Melián 2770 garden in the Coghlan neighbourhood.
The horrible birthday party often had to be postponed as around August 30 there is a bad storm in Buenos Aires called La Tormenta de Santa Rosa (St. Rose of Lima).
|Mónica & Alex top row fifth from left|
But the most horrible factor of all was a girl called Mónica who was in my class at school.
She always broke the piñata, my new toys and invariably put the tail on the donkey and won the potato bag race.
I got even with her on her birthday party. I was picked up by her father in what was an almost brand new Chevrolet (1949). It had a beautiful gray cloth interior. Because I suffered from acute motion sickness I threw up on the way. It was awful and smelly. When we got to Mónica’s party I became hungry and asked to eat a few slices of the birthday pizza. You can imagine the negative reaction!
Here in Vancouver today at age 75 August 31st is about the back to school ads on TV and in the papers. I am melancholy that my daughters are mature and over 40. I am melancholy that my 15 year-old granddaughter Lauren is too busy getting ready for school to call me and wish me a happy birthday. I am melancholy that the older granddaughter Rebecca, 20 has not been taught (could that be the reason?) the propriety of calling a grandparent to wish him a happy birthday. Would a text have sufficed? I cannot give a conjecture as the text never came.
But the worst melancholy is the decline of my garden with the idea that summer is over and fall and winter are around the corner. Only spring will determine if I will live for another birthday. This is a longstanding Native Canadian idea that I adopted many years ago as it seems to be universal as far as the tip of South America.
This melancholy does not prevent me from noticing the beauty of our Helianthus annuus as it fades into the fall.