12 Nights of Birthmas. Year 25
[In fact it's now the next week and I've still not finished writing this post.]
I got sick, so I blame that. It was pretty awful, and now I'm mostly okay again. It lasted less than 24 hours. But they were really bad hours.
I wanted to give a review of the movie Shame (which is rated NC-17 and about two very broken people). I had lots of stuff to say, maybe some other time?
I also wanted to talk about a friend of mine who I just found out died a few months ago and no one had told me, and I realized that that was probably because no one knew we were friends. But we were, and if I'd know I would've done anything to be at whatever memorial that would've been appropriate for me to attend. And I've been rather sad since I found out.
That would've led to memories of another friend of mine that I also miss. This one, though is my friend Jeannie, and the plan was to wish her a happy birthday, but her birthday was yesterday, so I missed it.[um, okay, make that last week now. Wow, I'm late] There is a party tomorrow,[was a party...oh, never mind.] and I wish I could've been there, but I'm on the wrong coast. Jeannie: I hope it's a wonderful party, and I hope that your birthday was wonderful. I miss you.
See, it would've been an interesting post. Don't know if those thoughts will ever get written. We are moving into the future.
Which is really a leap into the past.
Twenty-five years to be exact. Twenty-five years ago, my best friend and roommate Alice and I were bemoaning our birthdays. Or as we call them, "our Birthmas". Anyone with a late December birthday knows what I'm talking about. Alice's birthday is the 21st and mine is the 29th. Our entire lives we've not had birthdays we've had Birthmas. Back in 1986, Alice and I were living together and it was the first time we were going to be able to be with each other for both our birthdays and we decided that that was cause for celebration.
We started on the 20th and went through to New Year's Eve. There was a different theme for every night. We called it The Twelve Days of Birthmas, and it was life-changing.
Luckily, Alice is awesome so we still have the schedule of that original party. There are things on it that I don't remember. I'll just tell you it the way I remember.
Kurt Busiek and Adam Phillips made it for two of the nights. I think one of them was the London night. I remember dancing. Not sure if it was that night or not. The night with the dancing was the night where we wound up calling the police on our upstairs neighbors because they were doing something with a lot of banging that was causing the ceiling to start dropping plaster on us, and we were scared someone was getting hurt.
There were nights that had lots and lots of people, and there was at least one night where Alice didn't even make it, and I was there alone! (or maybe our friend Carrie was there so I wasn't totally alone?) (I think that might have been when I was baking cookies?)
New Year's Eve, Alice's brother, Brian, left us bottles of champagne, one of which got stolen by the upstairs neighbors in retaliation for us calling the police. One was enough and we had a lovely night. Probably with a jigsaw puzzle.
Memories fade, but the most memorable of the nights was December 23rd. That is the night that changed my life. It was our caroling night. Some of the nights had more of Alice's friends, some had more of mine, and some had friends that were "ours" together. Caroling turned out to be an Ivy night.
Several of my friends from the Boston Children's Museum (where I was working at the time) came over. And then there was this guy who I'd known in college, had seen a year ago on my birthday, but hadn't seen since, who I kinda liked. It was a very strange first date. To begin with, we'd first met 8 years before. We'd been friends off and on for years, but the kind of friends who hung out, but didn't spend lots of time with each other. We'd been talking on the phone for the last month, but hadn't seen each other for a year. And this strange evening was our first date.
One of my friends from The Children's Museum, one was a hard-of-hearing little person (is that the proper term these days?) in a wheelchair. Our second floor walk up was a problem. She had to be carried up the stairs. There was only one man at the party, and he provided the lift for her. Once we were all upstairs, we hung out singing and having a great time. But it was caroling, and one should carol outside and be heard, so our little troop trooped downstairs again to the door to door thing.
Ok, you really have to picture this: There were maybe nine of us(?) walking down the street. One is in a wheelchair being pushed by a friend of mine who has CP (I think that's the correct initialed disease, could've been MS, not sure anymore, thing is she used the chair to help her walk) walking in front of the wheelchair, going backwards, was Alice, who was signing the songs we were singing to our friend, Francis, in the chair. The rest of us walked in the group. With one male voice. And remember, this really isn't the best of neighborhoods, so in the end, we never actually knocked on a single door. We walked around the block, singing loudly. To ourselves.
It was awesome.
And then we went back to the apartment and hung out, singing, drinking hot chocolate, probably eating pizza (I expect that tradition started then) and eventually everyone but Alice, me, and Scott left. And that was the beginning. Some months later, Alice, Scott and I found a bigger place and all moved in together (well, Scott and I moved in together, Alice was our housemate).
One year, one month, and one day after that night caroling, Scott and I were married.
Like I said. Life changing.
Every year since that first one, Scott and I have gone caroling on the 23rd. Some years it's been huge. While we were still living in the Boston area, Scott's mom would join us and we'd go to people she knew, even visiting nursing homes and things. Once we moved to the West Coast, we started doing it at my parents' house. They know; the 23rd we shall invade. These days we tend not to go out—well, we used to go to my folks' next door neighbors, but they're not there anymore, so we might not leave the house this year.
Thing is, the caroling was just one part of that original Twelve Nights Birthmas. There were eleven other nights and so many memories. And that was 25 years ago! Alice and I have decided that we can't let this year go without doing something to commemorate that not-quite two weeks.
So this year we are doing the 12 Days of Birthmas: Internet Edition.
Starting tomorrow night there will be Birthmas events every night for the next week. Alice started a Facebook page for memories and Sky has said that she'll set up an event page for us (I am on FB, but it's really a lie, I never go there and have no idea how to do anything).
You are all welcome to join. I'll likely be tweeting about it a lot in the next few days. If you want to vicariously join us, we would love it (my twitter is here if you want to follow along! If you want to avoid it and feel like unfollowing me, that's cool too).
Because tomorrow is the first night of Birthmas and also the first night of Hanukkah, that is going to be our theme for the night. So Birthmas gets underway with the lighting of the first candle and the eating of the chocolate gelt. In our house there will also be the ritual reading of Isaac Bashevis Singer's first story in Power of Light (we read one of the stories each night).
Alice gets to pick what happens on the 21st since it's her birthday. I know that on my birthday there will be the watching of many movies. I've now seen the new Sherlock Holmes movies twice, and I'm pretty sure I'll be desperate to see it again by the time the 29th rolls around, so I can pretty much guarantee that will be one of the movies, but there are about a dozen movies that have, or are about to, come out that I'm dying to see, so who knows what else I will want to see.
I'm stage managing the show that Winter is in, so I'll have rehearsals for three of the nights, but I think the plan is to try to do things early so that we can coordinate with both coasts since Alice is in Massachusetts.
All events will be mentioned on my Twitter and on the FB page. JOIN US!
Oh, and Scott, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. This Friday will be 25 years from our first date. Thank you for putting up with the craziness of that night and for coming back for more.
Alice, Wednesday is your birthday. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with me. I think I'd have long ago gone crazy if you hadn't been there.
Two of my favorite people in the world.
BEST TWENTY-FIVE YEARS EVER.