The Big Eight – Oh!

birthday candles cake morguefileI’ve been giving some thought to birthdays lately. As most of you know by now, if you have been within ear-shot, I’m looking at a pretty significant one coming up soon.

But why is The Big 8 – OH  Considered a “big one”? Why do we assign any significance to one birthday over another? What does one, particular, birthday signify?

When you really consider it, every day is a birthday.

It would seem to me that the answers to those questions are as myriad as there are people. Something only attains significance when someone assigns significance to it.

So, all that being said, I’ll tell you what I’ve told my friends for many years. I don’t expect you to remember my birthday unless I attach some significance to it. And you’ll you know when I’ve attached some significance to it when you get an invitation to my “do” that I’m putting on. Now, on the surface this may appear to be gracious and magnanimous, but no, let me relieve you of that notion. The fact being that I am not a birthday person (honest, for reals!), I’ve been known to forget my own birthday (my 12th to be exact), and until my kids were old enough to remind me, they seldom had their birthday celebration on their birthday. The upshot of that being that if I don’t require that you remember my birthday, maybe, just maybe, you won’t expect me to remember yours.

And . . . that kinda works.

But, rest your mind. Over the years I have had some doozies. Some of you may recall my 50th,  the idea of which happened a number of years ago my friend and I were diving along a highway in the ever-gray state of eastern Washington talking about funerals (maybe it was because we were on our way to a wedding). I told her that I did not want a funeral. I wanted her and/or my kids to wait until the insurance money came in, then have a party which would include my favorite foods, my favorite music (I would prepare a list) and whatever movies/snapshot/video anyone might have of great times we all had shared.

We drove along for a few minutes when I observed that the non-funeral party really sounded like a great idea, but I didn’t want to miss it.  We drove on a few more minutes and then the inspiration hit me.

I said, “I know! for my 50th birthday we’ll have the “Adrienne Jacoby 50th Birthday/Wake Rehearsal Party.” And we did, complete with my being loaded into a hearse that was pressed into service from one of the local funeral chapels and a parade of my friends, also complete with window stickers, and their headlights on, all the way up Pine Street and up Market Street to my friend’s condo where my friend and the owner of the hearse had set up a casket covered in dead flowers, at which time my friends proceeded with the “eulogies” — more recognizable as a roast.  What’s even more frightening is that I have a video of the whole thing, including the parade up Pine Street.

There have been a number of other “memorable” occasions but I never have been able to top the funeral.

Then there was the birthday when I hired a bus in the Bay Area and loaded about 25 of my friends on the bus, complete with a traveling bar and bartender, for a progressive dinner around the Bay Area. We even had tunes on the bus as several of the guests brought their instruments. Cocktails at my friends’ house in Hayward; salad in Cupertino; pasta in Mountain View; dessert in Los Altos and night caps in the city.

But that’s only once a decade or so . Other than that, I may or may not remember my own, let lone any one else’s birthday . . . .

Then along came the Birthday Alarm app on my computer. I love it. It reminds me a week before the birthday of my friends and family, then reminds me again the day before. It even tells me how old everyone is,  well, if you included that information on the query page I sent around.  Now my friends think I’m so smart and organized to remember their birthdays and even send an electronic card.  Not true, honest.  If you know me at all, you know better!

While I await my upcoming 80th birthday, we can talk about you. What was your most memorable birthday?

Adrienne Jacoby
Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years. A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.
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9 Responses

  1. cheyenne says:

    My most memorial birthday was January when I turned 74.  My next most memorial birthday, hopefully, will be next January.  With all the doctor’s appointments, no surgeries so far, I must be paying for the college education of several health care workers.

  2. CoachBob says:

    Okay, you have some APP that reminds you a week in advance? How come, then, I have this APP that has been reminding me for the past year plus? About your birthday? My APP is call the “AJ” app. Comes with phone calls, emails, letters in my postal box. Every possible method.

    That said, I had to go back and read the part about “25 friends”. Would never have guessed lololol

    In advance of Vegas, Happy Birthday!

  3. I love your Wake Rehearsal – I always thought it a shame that the dearly departed misses all the good speeches and music. Brilliant.

    I’m not one for birthday parties, but my best friend and I – who shares my August birthday – have a tradition of spending several days at her Mammoth Lakes home hiking in the mountains. Last year we managed a 14+ mile hike to remote Thousand Island Lake. We will turn 57 this year, and we love celebrating the fact that we enjoy tough hikes and spending time outdoors — AND that we can still do it with minimal griping. 🙂

  4. Beverly Stafford says:

    You have to be one of THE fun people.  Thanks for sharing you stories and humor.  Party on!

  5. Gayle says:

    My most memorable birthday was my 32nd.  I was very pregnant and having some problems for which I was hospitalized.  My Dr let me go home for my birthday with strict instructions to stay in bed.  My whole family showed up with balloons and cake and all squeezed into my bedroom.  I laid there in my jammies and had the best time with my family!  My healthy son was born 5 days later.  He is 31 today!

  6. Kathy Challe says:

    You’re simply the best. Love everything about you.

  7. Joanne Lobeski Snyder says:

    Great article Adrienne.  Your 50th birthday/wake party was a masterpiece!   I still have a picture of me in my funeral garb and veil sitting on the hood of the hearse.  And it was a relief to turn to see that you were alive and wholeheartedly enjoying the event!

  8. Ginny says:

    Actually, each birthday is worth remembering.  Everyone tends to celebrate my special day:  New Years Eve.  It is not about any one in particular as all are worth remembering.

    On my 22nd, my husband and I were married and it lasted 47 years, and had two celebrations:  birthday and wedding.

  9. A. Jacoby says:

    What a special day that must be for you and your family!! Congratulations on 47 years of triple celebrations.