I have always loved my birthday. It's my favorite day of the year. The one day I feel like everyone should be able to look at me and tell that it's MY day, MY birthday. I expect, and frankly, I demand, that a big fuss be made about it. And when it's not, there's hell to pay. And although this year, I'm not really feeling all the love I usually do around this time of year (perhaps it's because my mom isn't visiting like she has for the past 2 birthdays since I've lived in Texas, or perhaps it's because I'm getting older - ahem, 31 - and just don't care to celebrate that any longer, or perhaps it's because I have realized that it really just is another day of the week, month, year, life), it wouldn't be my birthday without the annual re-telling of
The Great Cupcake Story of 1984
TM (all rights reserved).
Before I begin the story, a few notes of housekeeping. To the J, Marcie, Charlene, my mom, and my ex (who shall remain nameless), all of whom I promised I would never tell this story again: I am sorry. Or rather, tough shit. It's my birthday, and I'll tell The Great Cupcake Story of 1984 (henceforth referred to as TGCSo'84) if I want to. To Wonder, Chicken and anyone else who knows me, and knows me well, and has known me for some time, and DOES NOT KNOW this story: I don't know if I should feel proud (that at least I didn't tell it to them over and over and over again, like I did with some people), or ashamed (that you call yourself my friend and do not know this story, this one tale that has shaped who I am as an adult). And so with no further adieu, I give you TGCSo'84.........
Our story begins, obviously, on May 27th, 1984. I am in Kindergarten. It is my 6th birthday. Of course, I am excited. It's the first birthday I will be spending at school, and since it's May, I've seen all the other kids come and go throughout the year with their cakes and parties and whatnot. Now it's my turn. My turn for all the attention. For the class to sing to me. And for the cupcakes.
Oh, the cupcakes.
Cherry Chip cupcakes, to be exact. My very favorite. If you've never had them, you are missing out. They are white cupcakes with little artificial cherry bits in them. And you frost them with cherry flavored icing. They are heaven. Assuming you like artificial cherry flavoring, of course. Which I did. So my mother had stayed up late the night before*, painstakingly making these wonderful, delicious cupcakes for my entire class.
*I have no idea if this is true. She could have made them during the day. I don't know for a fact that she stayed up all night, but it sure makes for a better story.
The morning of my birthday arrived, and I was excited. I was all dressed up in my birthday best, and my mom got me ready and on the bus. I loved riding the bus. I loved my bus driver, Mr. Larry. I would tell him it was my birthday and he would be happy for me. Maybe even let me sit up front with him.
I climbed aboard the bus, clutching my JC Penney box full of cupcakes (we were, apparently, too poor to afford proper Tupperware, so and my mom had put the treats in an old department store box), excited to be going to school. I had no idea what was in store for me, on what would be the most traumatic bus ride, on the most traumatic birthday of my life.
If only my mom had driven me to school that day.
My friend Charlene (NOT the aforementioned Charlene to whom I apologized in this blog, but after reading what you're about to read, you will understand why I had a hard time accepting her into my life) came and sat next to me. Charlene, you see, was not in my class. But she lived in my neighborhood, we had gone to nursery school together, and we sometimes played with each other. In other words, we were friends. The following is our conversation, as I have played it out in my head in the past 25 years.
Charlene: What's in the box?
Me: CUPCAKES!!!!!!!!! TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! MY MOM MADE CUPCAKES!!!!!!!!!! ISN'T THAT GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND THEY ARE CHERRY CHIP CUPCAKES, MY FAVORITE!!!!!!!!!!
(it's possible my mom let me have a cupcake for breakfast and I was already feeling the effects of the sugar)
Charlene: I like cupcakes.
Me: ME TOO!!!!!!!!!!! THEY'RE FOR MY CLASS AND THEY ARE ALL GOING TO SING HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!!!!
Charlene: Can I see them?
Me: OK!!!!!! BUT DON'T TOUCH THEM.
Charlene: Those look good.
Me: THEY ARE GOOD! HAVE YOU EVER HAD A CHERRY CHIP CUPCAKE BEFORE? THEY ARE SO YUMMY!!!!
Charlene: Maybe I can have one of yours?
(this, my friends, is where our story takes a turn for the worse)
Me: (hesitating) No......they're only for my class.
Charlene: Pretty Please? With sugar on top?
Well that did it. I mean, aside from the fact that she pretty pleased me, we WERE friends, and I did want to share them with her (hell, with everyone, the more people I could get on board this birthday train the better), and I wanted her to taste the wonder of the cupcake, and surely one little cupcake wasn't going to make that big a difference, I mean my mom had made plenty.
Charlene: (NOM NOM NOM)
Charlene: (GULP) Wow that was really good! Thanks!
A moment passes as we continue our ride to school. And then, out of nowhere, the unthinkable happens. The one event that has changed me and my birthday celebrations for the past 25 years. The one thing that could have ruined my entire birthday.
Charlene threw up.
All over my cupcakes.
And my birthday dress.
Charlene: (RETCH, SPEW, COUGH, COUGH) Oh.......
I was inconsolable. Mr. Larry asked what all the fuss was about, and someone informed him that Charlene had just thrown up all over the place. Luckily, we were at school. All the kids piled off the bus, including Charlene, who miraculously felt better. But I just stayed right where I was. Covered in vomit and clutching my JC Penney box of ruined cupcakes.
I don't know how, but somehow they got me off the bus and into the Principal's office, where I continued to sob and mourn my lost birthday. I could not be calmed down. I could not be talked into going to class. Nothing could be done with me, so finally my father was called and he came and picked me up.
The cupcakes, I presume, were thrown in the trash. The class never got to sing Happy Birthday to me. I never got all the attention. And to make me feel better, my dad did the only thing he could think of.
He took me to McDonald's and let me eat it while I sat THIS CLOSE to t he TV screen and watched Sesame Street. And since I was only 6, this did work to calm me down and distract me.
But I never forgot.
I still eat Cherry Chip cupcakes on my birthday (a batch just came out of the oven, as a matter of fact). It wouldn't be my birthday without them. And it wouldn't be my birthday if I didn't tell at least one person that story. I'm glad I got to share it with you.
And now, for my birthday present, I've decided to hold another blog contest. This one will run 1 week, and all you have to do is leave a comment on this post and tell me one of your birthday memories. It can be good, bad, sad, funny, vomit filled or vomit free. It matters not. I just want to hear about your birthdays. The winner of the contest will win an apron, made by me! I will choose the winner randomly.
Good luck! And Happy Birthday to me!