It’s another New Year’s Day and I’m a year older. I’m watching the Rose Parade as always, one of the standout examples of why I love Southern California. I attended with family and friends one year thanks to a good suggestion of where to park when you don’t want to claim your place on the parade route in the middle of the night. There are no floats in this world that can match this parade, and Pasadena puts them on display for a couple of days afterward for the curious to see up close the work and artistry that went into these amazing creative efforts.  This year 2013 went fast but it was productive with writing and editing. My apartment got snazzier with a new rug and some redecorating, thanks to my kids, who not only suggest but do some of the manual labor. My computer is up-to-date and I’ve got a modern TV (skinny and lightweight, not 80 pounds like the ancient one). The older things in my life—my 1998 Mustang and my 1943 model body—are holding up. The car has less miles than I do, of course.


New Year's baby at 6 months old.

New Year’s baby at 6 months old.

I wish I’d asked my mother details about my milestone birthday before she died. Years later a cousin told me Garnette had attended a New Year’s Eve party but had to leave early as I announced my intentions to appear. Her youngest sister, Anne, went to the Danville (Virginia) Memorial Hospital with her and I’ve been Victoria Anne ever since. Entering the world at 2:30 a.m., I was the first baby born in Danville that year.  Before I thought of questioning Anne, who lived in Alaska, she had gone on to her reward. Perhaps their spirits are cheering me on. They were both gutsy gals.

I’ve spent years partying  on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. As I grew older, I decided to celebrate on my actual birthday instead of the night before. I usually hosted my own parties, wherever I was living, until I figured a restaurant would be so much easier. Over the years the parties have blended together in my mind. I remember my 50th because two old friends from high school in Tripoli, Libya—Tom and Scott Henderson—attended: they have both gone on to greener pastures as have plenty of others. There was a good turnout for my 65th and 70th celebration, each one at a cozy Italian restaurant. On the path to 80, I hope I can get Time to slow down a bit.


The Army brat in Murnau, Germany 1947

The Army brat in Murnau, Germany 1947

My daughter Heidi has been my constant companion for my birthday for years now and made the celebration so much more meaningful. My son Hans, who lives with his wife Jen in Dallas, made a special attempt to attend my 70th celebration. This year my “kids” are celebrating the Aloha spirit in Honolulu, and I will miss them.

It’s a low-key birthday this time with an early lunch with a couple of friends followed by a movie—“Saving Mr. Banks” with Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, a film about the making of “Mary Poppins.” I need the “Wish Upon a Star” spirit of Walt Disney more and more as the years fly by.


70th Birthday with Heidi

70th Birthday with Heidi

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