Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dad Has A Birthday Party

A Saturday night in San Jose (the 10th largest city in America--bigger than San Francisco, Detroit, and Washington, D.C., among others--did you know that?) is not like a Saturday night in, say, Chicago or Los Angeles. A Saturday night in San Jose is more like a Saturday night in Cleveland or Milwaukee. In other words, the perfect time and place for a gathering of family and friends for a 75th birthday party.

Dad's birthday party was a terrific success--he said so himself. All of his children were present and a large gathering of friends at a San Jose restaurant. Included were one of his high school classmates and a married couple he and my mother have known for more than fifty years. Another guest was a man who was also born in January 1932 and lived on the same street Dad lived on in Houston. Strangely enough, this fellow and my Dad didn't meet each other until about three or four years ago at the VA hospital in Palo Alto, California.

Of course, a number of the Bay Area Browns Backers turned out as well.

One of Dad's passions is music--jazz, specifically. I put together a couple of CD's of his favorite artists, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Charles Brown, Clifford Brown. Dad also liked Dinah Washington, Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, and the (very early) Beatles. I also found and put on the CD's radio news bulletins of significant events of the past 75 years, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor. My sister (who was largely responsible for the success of the evening) found some vintage film footage of the artists.

Dad recalled that in 1948 when he went to spend a year with his father in California, the first day they were in Los Angeles, they went to the Million Dollar Theatre downtown and saw a movie, a newsreel, and a live show. The live performer was Dizzy Gillespie.

A 75th birthday party for a parent is both fun and trying--yet you never want the music to end.


Jasia said...

Nice party and a nice article, thanks for sharing!

Craig Manson said...

I should have had added that there were no funny hats--but my sister did exhort the geriatric attendees to get up and do the "Tighten Up," a dance introduced in the late 1960's by Archie Bell and the Drells from Dad's second hometown of Houston!

Randy Seaver said...


Thanks for the party recap - I know everyone had fun!

We had 80th and 85th birthday parties for my father-in-law at my brother-in-laws house in San Jose. They were great fun, with many relatives, ex-neighbors and work friends of Papa Lee.

The most memorable was when Lee's brother Harold met my daughter Tami and said "Linda, I haven't seen you in 30 years." Linda is Lee's daughter, Tami is his granddaughter. Funny how minds work - he thought Tami was her mother...

We had a 90th party at a restaurant, but Lee died soon after in 2002.

These types of events are wonderful if the elders get to talking and sharing about old times, and about each other.

May he celebrate many more -- Randy