Miriam Gomberg

The Best Birthday Present!

45 and fabulous!

Whether we like it or not we all have recurring birthdays. Some are more memorable than others. As a small child, I looked forward to growing another year older. My aunt would make a special doll birthday cake complete with a barbie in the middle and the prettily frosted cake was her skirt.I would be surrounded by friends and family for the annual shindig.

Once I reached school age, I realized that it was not always convenient having a summer birthday, as school was no longer in session on my special day. I distinctly recall first grade when the teacher had a standing tradition that included a song, and special treat for any student celebrating a birthday

what does this have to do with me, as my birthday is in July?

I was somehow disappointed that my birthday was in July and no one in class would be there to make a fuss. Why did all the lucky children born during the school year get such a treat that I would never know?

Like any other self-righteous six year old, I felt slighted by my peers. This injustice must be corrected, but how? I decided to announce to the world it was my birthday one day as class started. Rather than questioning me, the teacher looked delighted as she began singing her special birthday tune.

I finally got what I wanted!

In a moment of ecstasy, I was as important as any of the other kids who celebrated with the rest of the class. The other students were singing gleefully as I stood by grinning. Suddenly the circle of students grew smaller and tighter around me. They had all joined hands and I was unable to move.

Trapped in the center of the coil, elation morphed to panic. What part of the birthday dance had I forgotten?

  1. announced to  teacher/class
  2. singing happy birthday song
  3. joyful dancing

OOPS! I forgot the spanking part

In my haste to be the center of attention, I forgot that the end of the birthday ritual included a spanking machine. How can anyone overlook a line of kids taking turns giving you a smack on the rear? Ouch!

Back in the day, times were different and it was considered perfectly fine to allow others to swat your fanny in public. Abuse is not the essence of this story (just sayin’). Trust me, I still remember the stinging sensation radiating from my tush as each of the students got a chance to whap me.

I was a human pinata. Tossed from one pair of hands to another, each smack sent me reeling. The difference being that I was not stuffed with candy for all to enjoy. Instead tears came pouring out as the spanking machine wound down.


What did I gain except for a sore butt and a reason to cry? OK, crying is a recurring theme in my posts, but this sob-fest was due to pain and humiliation. How did all the other kids remain composed after such an ordeal? Or was I just being over-dramatic?

The reality is that if I would have kept my big mouth shut, the whole scenario would have never occurred. Luckily there were valuable lessons to be learned from this.

  1. having a birthday in the summer isn’t so bad after all
  2. I don’t like being spanked by my peers
  3. be satisfied with who I am.
  4. don’t ever lie about age or birthdays again!

Just for the record, my birthday is July 31,1967. I will be 45 years old (for those of you who can’t count). I feel and look better than ever and have no intention of letting all my peers take turns spanking me.

This entry was published on July 21, 2012 at 6:24 am. It’s filed under Memories..., Personal Brand, Random and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

12 thoughts on “The Best Birthday Present!

  1. Pamela Morse on said:

    I worked in Cherokee, NC wih a little girl named Mary Crow who said her birthday was in the summer because the theater company would give her a party, and the show was only open in the summer. The elder Cherokee ladies ratted her out….at the party.

  2. So excited its your bday soon!!! I love your posts I cant wait to read them when they come through the email.. 🙂 Hugs

  3. fivereflections on said:

    Are you sure you are over 21? Happy birthday early, just in case I’m not around on the 31st.

  4. Pamela Morse on said:

    Mary was angry that she could not do it again. She was kind of a legend for trying… I still remember it more than 40 years later. She won money from the crew in long distance spitting contests, so her fame was well rounded. She probably lives in Cherokee today.

  5. Miriam,
    Be thankful for what you have.
    Be careful what you wish for.
    Always tell the truth.
    Green with envy is not a fashion statement.

    Oh, and by the way, happy July 31. We MUST celebrate.


  6. Now that is a painful memory!!! Do let us know the big date so we can wish you well… 😉

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