It’s my birthday. Today I start the 60th year of my life. I am celebrating on Cape Cod where I celebrated nearly all my childhood birthdays except the actual day I was born. Here I am with my parents within weeks of that day. We lived at that time in a cabin in an apple orchard in Roanoke County, VA.
Birthdays here in Brewster always involved my father’s-side cousins, my Aunt Margie and Uncle Andy, my parents and little sister, of course, and my best summer friends in Brewster Park where our little cottages sit. Early in my life, my Grammy was there also, my Grammy the cake-maker. Her specialty was angel food cake with a burnt sugar icing, decorated at the base of the cake with fresh cut flowers from the little cottage garden she tended outside the kitchen door. Here are my dad’s parents, Pearl Ann (Allen) and Emanuel Alexander Goldenweiser, standing in the back of the big cottage in the 40’s. There were two buildings on the 0.3 acre lot: this three-bedroom cottage and a multiple-car garage that my grandparents are facing in this picture. That garage was later converted into a one-bedroom cottage for our family. That’s the one I stay in when I come up.
Another important birthday tradition in my early years was the birthday picture, taken always on the stairs that ascend to the second floor of the big cottage. I remember how hard it was to organize my long legs and big feet into something that might pass for a “ladylike” pose. These days my sister and I rent this cottage out all summer in order to be able to afford the expense of taxes and maintenance on the property.
I made a German’s Chocolate Cake for my birthday dinner and decorated it with flowers from my grandmother’s garden. As I do my daily portion of the work of research, study, reading, and planning that it takes to organize the coming year of ministry, I sit in the very same chair my dad used as he prepared for a new year of college teaching. I am so lucky to have such a nourishing place to retreat to when I am away from you on vacation and study leave. Here I feel grounded in the effort and love of generations.
I’ll see you all soon,