November 8 always seemed a perfect birthdate. I loved to say the date and started counting down in mid-summer.  I couldn’t wait to gain another year. When I was four, I wanted to be five and stop wearing high-top baby shoes.

Six was the most anticipated because I could start first grade.

Birthday parties were gala events, usually held at your home or the community house.  The guests included most everyone near your age---and some older who accompanied a younger brother or sister. All were dressed in Sunday best. “Pin the tail on the donkey” was a favorite game.  Favors given were usually balloons. Refreshments was always ice cream and a Bazemore decorated cake.  While not as elaborate as the theme parties and take-home stuffed goody bags of today, birthdays were a favorite social event.

Thirteen made me a teenager and entering SHS. At sixteen I could drive and at eighteen I could vote. All exciting birthdays.

The next years were filled with life changes—college, marriage, teaching, 3 children and living in eight different states following my husband’s career. November 8 began to come much quicker that it did in my childhood. The years continued to increase and soon the decades passed at a fast pace. This is life, so there is no reason to lament these larger numerals. 

This year I reach a number that sounds quite ancient.  However, I remind myself that birthdays will continue to mount up----so enjoy the cake. 

I have often noted that I am one of the last surviving members of my branch of the Proctor family. The recent death of another descendent of the family, Albert Jones of Twin City, dwindled my group even more.   He was the son of my cousin Mildred Proctor Jones and grandson of my father’s brother, Claude. I regret that I never had opportunities to spend time with Albert. He was the namesake of the youngest child of my grandparents.  It was an honor to receive the name of this great uncle who had died in his teens and was cherished by the family. 

In reading the obituary, I found that Albert carried many talents and traits of his heritage He had the faith and dedication to the Methodist Church and pride in Twin City of his grandfather, the first postmaster of Twin City The love of government and writing came from my father, Lewis. Aunt Carolyn had the musical talent and sang professionally. Teaching came from his Aunt Valerie.  and pride in family came from all.  Dear Albert, you added honor to the name.  

Write to Shirley at


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment