I don’t often make note of birthdays for my brothers and sisters.
Brenda and I celebrate our birthdays together, in the summer when the sisters are here on vacation. The others receive a card from me most years, usually late. Once in a great while I happen to be where one of them are, on or around their birthday. When that happens, they get a gift. I know when each of their birthdays are; when that day comes around on the calendar, I think, “Oh, I should have sent a card!” They are always very generous with gifts and cards and bottles of wine for my birthday celebration; I should try to do better for theirs. I could at the very least write about each of them on their birthday…but so far, no.
Except for Amy, whose birthday happens to fall in the middle of November, when I am writing every day. What else would I write about today, on my baby sister’s birthday?
Especially this year, when she’s celebrating one of those “milestone” birthdays. Or maybe not; she may be ignoring it.
My parents were good friends with Karl and Amy. The couple had met and married when Karl was stationed overseas. Amy was a beautiful blonde, of German descent; Dad loved to tease her about her broken English. Karl and Amy owned the Lake Nepessing Hotel, which was actually no longer a hotel, but a tavern. They lived in the rooms above the bar. Usually, they were busy running their business, but occasionally, they got away. Sometimes they ended up at our house, having cocktails and playing pinochle with Mom and Dad.
Once, after a few drinks, Amy started going on about all of the beautiful children in our house, mourning the fact that she had none. Mom, pregnant at the time, soothed her by telling her that if this baby were a girl, she would name it after her. Amy was flattered, and always paid special attention to our baby, Amy, sending gifts and stopping in for hugs. For Mom, who had eleven children and always struggled to come up with baby names, it was an easy gift.
Being the youngest in our family, Amy was adored by all of us. She responded by loving each of us wholeheartedly. Of all of us brothers and sisters, I continue to think of Amy as “the nicest one.” And, though she’s all grown up, with children and grandchildren of her own, I still think of her as “the baby.”
Happy Birthday, Amy!