I don't remember my birthday being such a big deal since I was in kindergarten. Back in Miss Lyden's 1963 kindergarten class at Franklin School, Bergenfield, every one's birthday was a big deal in between finger painting, taking naps on little rugs on the floor and hiding under our desks for Civil Defense drills (in case we were nuked, which at 5 didn't mean much to me) and fire drills.
For about the last thirty years, birthdays were a day I heard from my siblings and my parents all on the same day. There would be cards in the mail box that made me laugh, like the one my brother Michael sent this year, pictured above, and make me feel loved and remembered. My wife would always be especially loving that day. At work, there might be a cake and cards and an excuse to take an extra break.
If it was a milestone year that ended in 0 there might be a bigger celebration. During years that ended in 9, I always seemed to take inventory and make major or minor life changes. 39 was very tough, as I wasn't happy with the inventory. The major changes made then yielded tremendous results that kept me too busy for 49 and 50 to really notice another milestone had passed.
Last August 12 I was really surprised that I had about 30 birthday greetings on facebook.
This morning I had 31 birthday greetings when I logged in at 7 AM. My blackberry kept chirping every minute or so while my wife and I were enjoying our morning coffee. During my drive to work a friend called to wish me a Happy Birthday. Linkedin reminded him. Now that I think of it, a former State Senator wished me an advanced Happy Birthday at the Gala last week. He knew via Linkedin too. His was the next day, which I knew via Linkedin.
Today, via social media sites, I have heard from classmates from Miss Lyden's 1963 kindergarten class, cousins I am connected with via the Internet that I have never physically met, and members of my high school and college graduating classes. The Governor's brother wished me a Happy Birthday. So did an congressional candidate and his wife. Members of the State Legislature, pundits and pollsters, and many, many readers of this blog. Political allies and foes. Real life friends, facebook friends. The chirping on the blackberry was getting to be a bit much so I put it on vibrate for a while. Eventually I had to silence it.
Last year I spent an hour thanking each well wisher on facebook.
Today, I'm issuing this heartfelt thank you to each and all, all at once. It is nice to be remembered and thought of kindly.
Now I have to get back to work paying the bills and getting Anna Little and Scott Sipprelle elected.
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Pallone's Town Hall Meeting, Red Bank, August 25, 2009