Fulfilling My Years - CumpleañosFriday, August 31, 2018
|Gabriela, Richard & Olena at Richard Jeha Hair Company, August 31 2018|
Since I had a memory of being an individual I have hated my birthday.
In my boyhood it happened with birthday cakes I never liked and an aggressively talented girl from my class who always broke the piñata, pinned the tail on the donkey and won the bag races.
My favourite nephew Georgito O’Reilly (just a few months younger than this guy) managed to terrorize my other friends and would break my new toys.
|Monica in lights|
Because of a mixup which my mother never explained to my satisfaction I cannot prove that I was born on August 31st, 1942 because my birth certificate stipulates the event happened on April 18, 1943. This mistake which my mother said was my father’s fault has been a blessing. I never forget my Rosemary’s April 19 birthday.
|Georgito bottom row left. Monica below my father at the top.|
Part of the terror of my birthday is that in crossing all those borders (nasty ones at that) I was told by my mother to answer what to me was the incorrect date (and a lie) when asked when I was born by some bureaucratic official.
But a birthday, particularly when I think of the word in Spanish “cumpleaños”, involves that word “cumplir” which means to fulfill. So today I have fulfilled 76 years. That sounds pretty good in whatever official language one may choose.
Because I get depressed on my birthday I follow my mother’s advice on placating the melancholy. This is to buy a new pair of shoes (I have not ), have a chocolate shake (I have not) and get a haircut. That I have, and the picture here proves that.
She also always said to me when I was sad, “Sursum corda” which is from the Latin Mass and it means “lift up your heart.” This I have attempted to do without much success today.
Part of the issue is that I have two brand new metal flats (purchased at Opus) in which I am going to slowly put in my tons of photographs, matted and un-matted. There is a sort of sadness to realize how many times I clicked the shutters of my cameras and how many of the people I photographed will result in my Rosemary looking at the picture and asking me, “Is she/he dead?”
Two days ago when we had our Casi-Casi put down (he was paralyzed by a seizure in the middle of the night) after coming back from the vet (we have to wait until Tuesday to pick up his ashes) she told me, “You must write your obituary.” I would like to keep that obituary short and it would read, “I don’t want a park bench in Cates Park with my name on it."