Special Birthdays

From our February 2013 issue

By Mabel (Wheeler) HobbsMaple Creek, Sask.

I recall one of my birthdays back in the ‘30s when my parents made ice cream for my June 1st birthday.

Mom made the custard of cream and eggs, which we had plenty of, and dad found enough icy snow from the snowbanks still lingering in the deep coulees to use in the hand-cranked ice cream freezer. My sisters and brother enjoyed the treat and there would have been cake served with it.

Another birthday comes to mind also. Tucked into a trunk containing some very memorable articles lies a small flat box wherein lie 10 small printed cotton handkerchiefs. Their gay coloured or lace-edged borders surround bright flowers on a now slightly yellowed background.

They bring back special memories of my 9th birthday in 1937. Our family had suffered the tragedy of losing our two-year-old baby brother from appendicitis complications in February.

I mourned greatly over his death and it was because of this, I believe, my young friends planned a special birthday for me. On a lovely warm day, we sat in a little group on the grass in the grassy hill schoolyard to eat our lunch and then each young friend gave me a handkerchief. They were, oh, so special. I never used them.

Through the years those young girls scattered and I know some of them have passed on. Where the others are, for most of them, I do not know, but Joyce, Helen, Susie, Phyllis, Doris, Ruth, Helen Kay, and Myrtle – I want to thank you for the memories.

Instead of using those bits of finery, I used hankies our mom made from worn out shirts, tea towels, and salt sacks.

I don’t think she ever put them away after washing them, summer or winter, without first ironing them with the sadirons heated on a wood and coal stove. How simple today to pluck a tissue from a box whenever one is needed.