Forty-four minus one

In one day I celebrate the forty-fourth anniversary of my birth.

Counting down to that day, I am posting birthday memories.

One reader out there, I’m sure, has had a certain interest in these posts. He may have even been reading them and wondering when, if ever, I would be mentioning him. Just because I’m kinda wired that way, I have held off until the next-to-last moment to write about this particular birthday.

I don’t have much memory of this one, because it’s one of the earliest birthdays. It was 1972 1970 (oops, thanks for correcting my math, Kevin!), and I turned six. But, as always, there is some family mythology involved and it makes for a funny story.

Maybe I had pineapple upside-down cake. Maybe I had a little too much. But, the story goes, I wasn’t feeling well that day. All day long.

My family and I lived in an apartment building, a four-plex, on a rural road in Kalama, Washington. Dad worked for Reynolds Aluminum, at their plant in Longview, Washington (I believe). And miles and miles away, in Portland, down south, I had another sister. A half-sister, my mom’s only daughter from a previous marriage.

Sometimes we would drive down to visit her and her husband, a man she married right out of high school (and to whom she remains married today). They lived in another apartment complex somewhere in Portland, I don’t recall which neighborhood. And she’d been pregnant that year with their first child.

She gave birth to that baby, my nephew, Kevin, six years after I was born. I was made an uncle almost before I could really comprehend that concept.

My oldest nephew and I share a birthday, and in many ways, he’s the younger brother I never really had. Tomorrow is his birthday, too. And I couldn’t have a better friend to share it with.

But on the day of his birth, the sixth anniversary of my own, apparently I was sick.