Monday, April 2, 2012

59 Birthdays

Today I'm turning 59. A look back to my life on each birthday, year by year:

April 2, 1953: Born. Cute. Only breast-fed baby on the floor in the hospital. Thanks, Mom.
April 2, 1954: Apple of my parents' eye. Time to move from an apartment to my first house.
April 2, 1955: My brother is a day old. Mom wasn't at my birthday party.
April 2, 1956: My dad has a new sports car.
April 2, 1957: We took it racing. Dad and his friends have fun on the driveway.
April 2, 1958: Dad took movies of my birthday party. I had to share it with my brother.
April 2, 1959: My last birthday in my first house. Shared my party again.
April 2, 1960: Just moved to New Mexico. We have a Corvair. And a horse.
April 2, 1961: I'm skipping from 2nd to 3rd grade in the middle of the year.
April 2, 1962: We're moving again.
April 2, 1963: Our year in Staten Island is almost over. Because we're moving, I can't be a crossing guard at the school next year. I have a baseball card collection.
April 2, 1964: The Beatles have arrived! I got Meet the Beatles for an 11th birthday present.
April 2, 1965: Glued to the radio. Reading Spider-Man comics.
April 2, 1966: Now in California. My bar mitzvah is next month and I'm learning my torah portion using a tiny tape recorder. Just became a Boy Scout.
April 2, 1967: Dad has moved out last October. Mom bought a stereo. I love Ramona (secretly and painfully).
April 2, 1968: Got Bee Gees' Horizontal album as a birthday present. I got my first guitar this year and am taking lessons. I want long hair and little metal glasses like John Lennon.
April 2, 1969: Playing guitar in my free time. Dave W. and I played down the street for a party. Loving Manon now (she still doesn't know).
April 2, 1970: I'm almost out of high school, but I'm in Arizona with my dad. Terribly stressful time, but I play music in a practice band. I graduate in less than two months.
April 2, 1971: Living in a garage apartment in San Francisco. Taking guitar lessons. My hair is long and free. Just finished working in a restaurant.
April 2, 1972: Just started college. I'm in the music department--but I won't stay there long. Elton John's Tiny Dancer is a big hit.
April 2, 1973: Living with the two Larson brothers in a flat in San Francisco a few blocks from the Haight-Ashbury. A dream--but not like I planned. No steady girlfriend, but my beard is growing in nicely.
April 2, 1974: Just arrived in Israel last month; living on a kibbutz. Ani lomed Ivrit (I am learning Hebrew).
April 2, 1975: Back in Concord with my friend Scott. Attending Diablo Valley College. Driving my first car--a red VW Beetle. Still no girlfriend.
April 2, 1976: Back at college in San Francisco, I met my first real girlfriend last September, at my part-time job and we move in together.
April 2, 1977: Life is good. I publish a book review in the San Francisco Review of Books. My VW Beetle dies--found a nine-year-old VW Squareback.
April 2, 1978:  Almost time to graduate. My English degree will be Summa Cum Laude. We moved to Eureka Valley (S.F.) from the western edge of town.
April 2, 1979: I'm working at an antiquarian bookshop in downtown San Francisco. I wear a suit and tie. I like the steady money.
April 2, 1980: I'm married! We got hitched on a Thursday at San Francisco City Hall last fall. It feels good. We have a new Toyota. I'm playing bluegrass music on Sundays (mandolin).
April 2, 1981: It's the eighties. Things feel different. My wife is pregnant!
April 2, 1982: I'm working for Jeffrey Thomas, a fine man who is starting up his own rare book company. My son was born last December.
April 2, 1983: Life is good and busy. My son is growing, work is going well.
April 2, 1984: We move to Clay Street--a nicer apartment. I consider graphic design as a profession and take a couple classes.
April 2, 1985: Marital troubles. We moved from dream apartment when the building sold and are stuck out in the foggy Sunset District of S.F.
April 2, 1986: Living on my own in Albany, CA. New job selling phone systems in San Francisco. Dating again.
April 2, 1987: Working at the Golden State Warriors. A two-week assignment let to a full-time hire. Driving a new Honda Civic Si since last summer.
April 2, 1988: Met the beauty who would become my second wife in November and life is wonderful.
Taking on the Season Ticket Ombudsman job at the Warriors.
April 2, 1989: I'm engaged to be married on July 22. We're making our own wedding invitations. We moved to a brand new apartment in Emeryville, CA.
April 2, 1990: Married and house hunting. I take on new work role as editor of Warriors Playbook magazine.
April 2, 1991: Moved to a townhouse in San Leandro, CA. Small, but ours. Almost immediately the property values drop because of a market shift. I own a new Saturn.
April 2, 1992: Stillborn baby last October shocks us. We decide to try again and are expecting in September. I start a brand new weekly auto column in February in the local paper. I help found the Western Automotive Journalists.
April 2, 1993: My second son is born in August 1992. He's healthy and beautiful and some of the pain of loss is relieved. For my 40th birthday I start growing my hair long (and for the first and only time, have it straightened).
April 2, 1994: My son is growing, my column is thriving, but things are getting tense at work.
April 2, 1995: The Warriors job implodes in August of '94. I start a new job with the San Francisco Spiders hockey team.
April 2, 1996: The Spiders go out of business after just a year. It was a nice run, but I'm looking for work.
April 2, 1997: I'm selling newspaper advertising for the paper that carries my column. Hard work for  modest pay. My son's in Montessori school.
April 2, 1998: I was wooed away to a big newspaper to sell ads, but it's terrible and I return to the small paper again. My column continues.
April 2, 1999: Still in the ad business. Starting to look around for other opportunities.
April 2, 2000: After a short stint at Chek-Chart, an automotive information company, I left when the company was sold. My son's in college! Just started a contract position at Oracle University. Sad: lost Lucien, my mother's longtime partner, also Fiona, another stillborn baby.
April 2, 2001: At my Oracle contract job I looked around and got a fulltime tech writing position at Oracle starting last December. My salary has doubled. My wife didn't believe it. We got Max, our Boston Terrier, last June.
April 2, 2002: We just moved into our new house in Castro Valley--triple the space.
April 2, 2003:  I lost my dad suddenly last June, right after his 75th birthday. I turned 50 today, and got the greatest birthday present ever--my Fender electric bass.
April 2, 2004: After a year of electric bass lessons, looking into the upright bass now. House, car, job, column all chugging along.
April 2, 2005: Taking upright bass lessons. I'm loving it.
April 2, 2006: Bought my own upright bass. I got a Nash Metropolitan to play with, too, but it has serious electrical issues.
April 2, 2007: My son got married last July--I have a lovely daughter-in-law! Started a band with three other music students, called Tin Whiskers. Just joined the Castro Valley Chamber Orchestra and played my first concert a few weeks ago. Got our second Boston, Coco, late last year.
April 2, 2008: Tin Whiskers is now Red Paint. We played a 4th of July gig and are rehearsing weekly. Just started a new job at Gilead Sciences in internal communications.
April 2, 2009: I have a beautiful granddaughter! My 20th wedding anniversary arrives in July.
April 2, 2010: I'm going to chamber music weekend workshops. It's another way to enjoy bass playing. I work at Responsys now, an email marketing software company, as a tech writer.
April 2, 2011: Red Paint recorded their first CD. Younger son has completed high school, older one is a CPA. I got a fine tattoo to celebrate my love for guitar and upright bass.
April 2, 2012: It's a fine day. My Jewish Roots Project is three months old. I posted every day in this blog in 2011. My car column turned 20 years old in February. I've spent eleven months at Luidia, where I started shortly after my last birthday. My younger son is an Abercrombie & Fitch model. Band and orchestra going strong, extra musical projects are fun. My beautiful wife looks much younger than her age.

Actually, counting the actual day of my birth, it's 60 birthdays, isn't it?

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