Birthdays are the time of the year that we celebrate life. Sometimes we are celebrating a milestone, like a son or daughters first birthday or a kids tenth birthday. Most people make a big deal out of their 16th, 18th and 21st birthdays as they come with driver licenses and entry into adulthood. We often celebrate other milestones like a 25th birthday as a person is now a quarter of a century old, the 30th, 40th, 50th, etc.
Each birthday I have ever celebrated have been special. As I prepare for this years birthday, I recall fond memories of some of the most memorable birthday moments of my life.
My tenth birthday.
I turned 10 on a Wednesday. After school that day I ran down to my best friend’s house, Jamie and eagerly rang his doorbell. His mother, Elaine, who was not only the unofficial neighborhood mother, but was like a second mom to me, answered the door.
Instead of greeting Elaine warmly I proudly proclaimed, “I am ten years old today!”
Elaine, who had a great sense of humor was quick to reply “you will never be a single digit again”
That was the first time in my life I felt old.
A visit to KMOX Radio
A year or two after I turned 10, I got my best birthday gift of my childhood – and it didn’t cost my parents a dime.
My best friend Jamie, his dad was an engineer at KMOX radio in St. Louis. My childhood dream was to work in broadcast radio (A dream I did fulfill as a young adult despite disabilities).
One year for my birthday my parents had arranged for Jamie’s dad Jim to take myself, Jamie and my father to visit KMOX radio and get a private tour of the station.
I remember sitting at a table across from Jamie. On the table were microphones and we got to talk into hem as if we were doing a talk show.
I also remember Jim going into a small studio – we were not allowed to go into – and come out with a commercial cart. He showed us how it gets played at the radio station. About halfway through the commercial the guy who was working in the studio (the board operator who was running he board during the broadcast of the Blues hockey game) raced out to where we were standing outside of his studio. He seemed frustrated and stressed as he waited for the commercial to end playing and recycle to the beginning. He grabbed the cartridge that contained the commercial and without saying word darted back into his studio. It turned out Jim had grabbed the commercial he needed for the commercial break that was about to start.
The birthday drink.
While many people celebrate their 21st birthday with their first legal drink, I waited until my 22nd birthday.
As my 22nd birthday approached. I was working at Modesto Junior College as a computer lab assistant and I had a reputation of being late to work on more than one occasion. This fact became sort of a running joke on 102.3 KFIV (now Sunny 102 in Modesto) morning show. You could say, I was an intern on that was hosted by Paul Petersen.
For my 22nd birthday the radio station decided to have a limo pick me up at my home and I would be escorted to work by Paul’s co-host (who was almost always later to work herself) Kareen O.
On our way to work we went through a McDonald’s drive through and picked up a carton of orange juice for me. I took a glass, poured the orange juice into it and added some champagne. When done, the glass was 90% orange juice and 10% champagne. I drank it as we travel across town to my job at the college.
We arrived at the college and phoned into the radio station from the computer lab I normally worked in that we had arrived. Since it was finals week and I didn’t have to work, we got back into the limo and it took us back to the radio station.
As we traveled back across town. I drank more orange juice mixed with champagne. By the time we arrived at the station, Karen and I were having trouble walking and we slurred our works as we thanked the limo company who drove us around town on the air.
It was quickly determined that Karen was in no condition to drive herself home and I should not be walking home for the station either. So, I passed out on the couch in the stations lobby that morning, while employees and potential sponsors entered the station. Finally, they got me and Karen into the station’s van and drove us to our respective homes.
I have no idea what memories I will make this year on my birthday, but I am sure they will be special since I am spending time with my favorite person in the world – my wife.