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Looking Back to 1959-My January Birthday

It's hard having a birthday close to Christmas.

Those of us who are born around Christmas have a raw deal.  Not only is the weather sometimes crummy, but hardly anyone remembers your birthday.  A few of my pals are even born on Christmas. Now, that must really suck, because you’re usually given those two for one-birthday gifts. The explanation usually goes like this:

“Honey, this is your Christmas AND birthday gift,” as if getting one gift was some sort of privilege, when, in actuality, you usually felt neglected because everyone is really celebrating the Santa thing, and not your special day.

Teresa and I were born on Jan. 3. Had we been born a few years earlier, I think my mom would have gotten $600 in tax breaks, but no, we had to squirm around in the womb for a few extra days, sipping on the merlot of the placenta.  Sorry Mom, just couldn’t bear to leave the comfort of that warm abdominal apartment. My sister and I would have these lengthy prenatal discussions about how hard life is on the “outside.” Who wants to leave the womb?

If you’re born in January, especially if it’s close to the New Year, many people often forget your birthday. Usually they’re broke or too hung-over to remember that it’s your special day.  Sometimes you get a card explaining their forgetfulness, or a late birthday phone call. Over the years, I’ve grown to expect it. After all, when you’re a baby boomer, another birthday isn’t such a big deal anymore.  In my mind, I’m 39+.

But those birthdays I do remember as a child are fond ones.  Birthdays are full of glee, candles, cake and tightly wound packages to undress.  The crisp zip of the paper being wadded always made for a colorful toy for our dog Cha Cha, who delighted in batting the ball around, and if she was successful, taking the paper behind the chairs and ripping it to shreds.

As a twin, we often got things that made us look like twins. It didn’t matter that I was four inches taller than Teresa. Still my Mom managed to find many outfits that reminded others that we were actually twins, in case some people wondered why I was so much larger than my sister. 

I remember matching white parkas, which had  a handy zipper in the front where we could store dirt clods, lizards, and dead spiders that we found in the gully at the end of Pacoima Court.  I remember a paisley top that we both wore to Diana Sharpe’s birthday party.  I remember getting matching Mohair sweaters from my Aunt Kaye that we wore to Disneyland.  I remember wrecking that expensive sweater when I spilled a chocolate milkshake all over the front of it.

So much for expensive clothes.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve usually opted for experiential gifts over anything. One year, I swam with the sharks and rays in Bora Bora. Another year, I took a glider ride over Hemet.  My first limo ride was when we turned 30. Once I was even treated to stripper!

Now, I’m usually treated to a nice dinner, and perhaps massage in Koreatown. It’s certainly much safer than skydiving out of a plane.

When is your birthday, and what do you recall?

teresa mcgrath January 03, 2012 at 02:40 PM
great article mary, and happy birthday twinny......from birthday parties at home with a duncan hines cake, and thrifties ice cream, it was fun.....we would have a few kids over, and blow out the candles...donna mann, yvonne barnet westover, marty zimmerman, and wayne coster all shared holiday birthdays with us over the years...dressing alike was fun, but after awhile we wanted individuality....those clothes bring back memories, as mary noted....it was fun....
Mary McGrath January 03, 2012 at 02:42 PM
And watching Sheriff John....Put another candle on your birthday cake, you're another year old today! I'd forgotten about the Duncan Hines cakes...Happy Birthday to all of you born around this time.....Thanks for the memories Teresa....And Happy Birthday!
teresa mcgrath January 03, 2012 at 02:48 PM
chuckles the clown...bozo, and romper room...sheriff john, what a blast...have to google that one, forgot about him...h.b. to you too
Mary McGrath January 03, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Captain Kangaroo, Heckel and Jeckel, Mighty Mouse, Lassie....all our favorite programs growing up, whether it was our birthday or not.
A. Abrams January 03, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Make that birthday triplets - January 3, 1959 right here...ever have a birthday party at Genieland?? Hobo Kelly goes with Sheriff John (who was always shilling for DiMaggio carrots - why do I remember that?) I grew up at the other end of the Valley - Nestle, then Serrania Elementary. Oh, and I'm sure you guys know that our birthday is the day Alaska became a state... Happy birthday, McGrath sisters - have a great day!
Mary McGrath January 03, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Happy Birthday Alexa! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story...I wonder if Sheriff John is on Hulu? I'll have to check it out-
Mary McGrath January 03, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Bozo the Clown! Happy Birthday Alexa and Teresa! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaezjE1uJTw
Barbara Krause January 03, 2012 at 05:53 PM
One of my sisters has a mid December birthday and so close to the holidays that I sometimes shake things up...when we were all together last Mother's Day I gave her a b'day gift basket and a few years ago I treated her to a play on a summer afternoon.
teresa mcgrath January 03, 2012 at 06:06 PM
yes, barbara, that's nice....forgot becky pulmano too today....bozo, wow, great clip....here is sheriff john....no chuckles the clown: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teH91xjNZ2o
Mike Szymanski January 03, 2012 at 06:39 PM
A Happy Birthday to both of you! And remember you can always add photos and video and YOU TUBE to this very story! Just click on UPLOAD YOUR PHOTOS AND VIDEO under the photo gallery above under the pictures....
Mary McGrath January 03, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Oh, love this Sheriff John! I remember these songs.....Thanks for the post Teresa! Perfect clip for my birthday!
teresa mcgrath January 03, 2012 at 11:39 PM
you are the one who reminded me of sheriff john, forgot all about him...thx
teresa mcgrath January 04, 2012 at 10:40 AM
hey suzanne, here's engineer bill...forgot about him too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_y7n20ryX0&feature=youtu.be
teresa mcgrath January 04, 2012 at 10:41 AM
thx mike, for the birthday wishes, i appreciate it...and reminders, i didn't see it til now
teresa mcgrath January 04, 2012 at 10:45 AM
sorry, i meant suzy, not suzanne....
teresa mcgrath January 04, 2012 at 03:44 PM
sorry about the jedi farting instead of engineer bill, i'll try again..
teresa mcgrath January 04, 2012 at 03:45 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzvdlE45XEI engineer bill
Mary McGrath January 04, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Love it! Spunky and Tadpole!
teresa mcgrath January 05, 2012 at 01:09 AM
circus boy with micky dolenz from the monkees
Mark Brendan Hussey January 02, 2013 at 05:24 AM
Mary, there's not a single mention of 1959 in this article! I feel let down. I thought you'd be telling us about the opening of the movie GiGi....about America's acquisition of Hawaii and Alaska....about Eisenhower playing golf, and other exciting events from that year! OK, so here's my suggestion for another "in the shadows" birthday: our cousin Tom Hussey's b'day is the Fourth of July. You should ride up to Montecito with Jack to interview AND videotape Tom and Jack (and you too, naturally). You'd both enjoy each others' company, I am sure. And, btw, I'm a week younger than you and TerriLill, and my Dad had the same aspirations for a big tax deduction back in you know when! This is no bs: he co-erced my Mamma to take petossin, which induces labor, at the local hospital so I could be born like Dec. 29 instead of Jan. 11. That uncle of yours had some nerve, eh?
Mary McGrath January 02, 2013 at 05:42 AM
Oh Mark, you know what a fan I am of history and politics. Those gems are up to you. I did meet the original Gigi a few weeks ago at Duke's Restaurant in Malibu. Her father wrote the book upon which the movie was made. Yours is Jan. 12th, isn't it? My mom invented the rhythm method with two sets of twins and two singles...Obviously, it didn't work. Happy pre-birthday to you and all Capricorns.
teresa mcgrath January 02, 2013 at 10:37 AM
happy early birthday mark...fascinating story....you are indeed special...as for terrilill, you and andy steiner are ramming that one into the earth....hahahaha...happy new year...remember mom was an identical twin, and aunt jackie had twins...how many other twins are in the family? ...that's just the hussey side, we don't know the mcgrath side....you guys crack me up...
Mark Brendan Hussey January 09, 2013 at 01:49 PM
My bird day, or Bert day, whatever ya wanna call it is January 11th not January 12th! "1-1-1" very easy to remember. And say, cousins how did you both get your birth year moved to 1959? Of course I'd take it too, if I could get away with it!
Mary McGrath January 09, 2013 at 01:52 PM
What are you doing on your special day Mark? Welcome to the big 60!
Mark Brendan Hussey January 09, 2013 at 01:59 PM
Cute show. Never saw that before--since I didn't grow up in Kali Forney! If that was "Engineer Uncle Bill" he would have be drinking martinis on the set and yelling at the little kids after 3 minutes! I could just see him saying to Corky, "what do you mean, you don't know why they call you Corky!"
teresa mcgrath January 09, 2013 at 03:27 PM
welcome to the old age club mark! we eagerly await your walk into oblivion....
Mark Brendan Hussey January 09, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Yes, I'll be "6-OH!!" on Friday--but make no mistake about it: I'll be back to 52 on Saturday. I have a signed permission slip from Jack Benny who is still.....uh, let's see now.....yeah, that's right, he's 39 years old!!
teresa mcgrath January 09, 2013 at 04:25 PM
whoop whoop 52!
Mary McGrath January 09, 2013 at 05:12 PM
I'll take the wisdom of 60 and the excitement of 6!

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