Anyway, I had a quiet birthday. I went out to lunch with a friend. We ate at Elephant Jumps, a very good Thai restaurant. Basil chicken - yum. My friend had picked up cake at Nothing Bundt Cakes and told me to close my eyes. When I opened them, she'd stuck in these very cute cat-shaped candles. (The cake was tasty, too.)
My family had two big birthday traditions. One (which really came from my mother's family) was that you got your age in dollars. You got other gifts, too (e.g. my mother often bought me jewelry at one of the local antique stores) but that was the important one and the one my brother and I looked forward to.
The other big tradition was that we went out to dinner and the person whose birthday it was chose where. It was pretty much always Palace of Wong, a Chinese restaurant in Rockville Centre (a few towns away), but Mom sometimes chose Mariner's Haven or the Deep Six, which were seafood places near our house. My father celebrated his birthday twice. His real birthday was September 1, 1930, but he had lied and said it was September 15,1929 to avoid a selection at Dachau (saving his life) and was never able to get the records corrected when he came to the U.S. Apparently, the judge when he naturalized told him to be happy he'd collect Social Security a year earlier.
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