“You shouldn’t put the dress on this early. You will get dirty before the party!”
Despite the well-intended advice, Mom zipped up the dress in the back. “This will probably not fit when school starts in the fall; you better wear it to Sunday School all summer! ”
I smoothed out the skirt and vowed to stay clean until my friends arrived. It was July 1959, the first birthday party I had ever had. A few classmates and girls from our neighborhood had been invited.
The dress had been handed down to me from my cousin Carol. It was blue cotton with a scoop neckline and tiny flower print all over the bodice and the skirt. A wide solid blue sash went around the waist and tied in the back with a bow. It really wasn’t all that fancy as far as dresses go but around the neckline was a row of diamonds…..really, they were just tiny rhinestones. They sparkled in the sunlight and I thought it was the most beautiful dress I had ever owned. I felt like a princess!
We played clothespin drop, tag, and circle games in the backyard. Hide and seek and then my favorite chocolate cake with caramel icing, ice cream squares and Hawaiian Punch. There were gfts but the only one I remember was a soft round bath sponge on a stick that came with tiny rose shaped soaps.
Everyone loved my dress, especially the diamonds. I’m sure I made a point of asking everyone. When school started in September, I was disappointed to find that I had outgrown my special dress.
As I recall that happy moment from my childhood, I can’t help but compare it with birthday parties today. No designer cakes, no clowns or entertainment, no fancy decorations. It was just a simple celebration but the impression it made on me was enough to last a lifetime.