Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy 70th Birthday Mom

Happy Birthday Mom!

I bet you can’t believe you are 70 years young!! We couldn’t let a milestone like this slip by unnoticed, so I solicited your family and friends to send me birthday wishes and stories from the past for you to enjoy on this special day. I have really enjoyed reading them as they have rolled in and I know you will as well. So sit back, grab a box of tissues before you begin (I know you!) and enjoy...

From: Denny and Joanie Blackburn
Happy Birthday to the little golden haired girl with the Shirley Temple curly locks ---born three score and ten years ago to Bert and Gladys in the back seat of your Grandpa Harrison's 1936 Ford sedan.

After four plus years with little Denny only God knows why Bert and Gladys planned to take a chance on another child; but thankfully they did, and it has been wonderful having you for a sister (and sister-in-law too!)

Happy Birthday, Ann.

All Our Love, Denny and Joanie

From: Gary Blackburn
Aunt Ann!

Happy 70th! I don't even know what you traditionally get for 70? You've long since passed silver and gold. I think carbon-fiber is probably more valuable than both of those these days ;-) I was thinking that if you're 70, that means you were only 24 when I was born! Wow, so much has happened since then. You were probably still a partying sorority girl at 24! ;-)

Seriously, I hope this time in your life brings you much deserved peace and happiness.

Have a wonderful birthday!

All My Love,


From: Pat and Tip Tobias
Dear Ann,

Hooray for seventy!!! What a milestone! The first time I met you, Jim was driving his gun metal gray gas mobile. You have witnessed many changes in the world. Many of the realities of the here and now were just science fiction way back then...We are so very proud of you and are forever thankful to have you in our lives. Enjoy your very, very special birthday. We will be thinking of you, with lots of love!

Tip’s Geezer Philosophy: If you can do at 70 what you did at 40 - you were God damn pathetic at 40. Glad you are on the mend and the doctors finally found out what was going on. Have a very happy day and drink an extra glass of vino for me.

From: Tanya and Michael Mulqueen
Happy birthday Aunt Ann! I can't believe you're 70 - it's just not right. I hope you have a wonderful, special day and take this time to celebrate life. Love, Tanya and Michael.

From: Julie Jones
Hi Ann

Have a good one! You're exactly 1 month & 1 week older than me. I guess we can look at it as surviving. I sure don't feel that old - of course I'm not yet.

Julie Jones

From: Betty Shore
Happy Birthday Ann!!!

I hope your 70th is celebrated with lots of fun with family and good friends. I remember many good times we had when you lived through the block on Pacific St, and then when your family moved across the street from the school playground, and then to the home up on the hill. It's been a treat to connect with you again after losing touch.

There were birthday parties we shared so very many years ago, and I'm very glad to be able to add good wishes for you now across the miles.I hope the years ahead hold lots of good things for you and yours.

Thinking of a story to share, and imagining a birthday cake for you, reminded me of the time I was over at your house on Pacific for the afternoon and an older girl who lived nearby, came over, very proud of herself that she was learning to bake. I guess maybe we were as old as 7 or so, but maybe younger, and maybe she was as much as 11 or so. She invited us down to her house so she could show us that she knew how to bake and didn't even need a recipe. We watched her put the ingredients in the bowl, and my recollection is that she put in Crisco and sugar and beat them up well, as I had seen my mother do for cookies.

I don't remember whether she got much further with other ingredients, but she decided to put in some green food colouring for a little creativity, and the mix became very green indeed. You can imagine her generous with the green as with everything else. By that time, you can imagine also that we were taking tastes by many spoonfuls, with proud encouragement by the new "cook", so we polished off a goodly amount of the bowl's contents, and it never got baked at all. Then of course it was time for us to go back to your place. Well you can picture next, the very green mouths and tongues, and probably hands and faces we both had by that time, and then picture your Mom, faced with these two green goblins.

I remember that at first she was pretty alarmed and wanted to know what on earth we had been eating. We didn't see what the fuss was about, because we had seen what went into the bowl and we knew it was food, and indeed to our taste, quite yummy. When she was satisfied that we hadn't consumed any poison she went for the soap and washcloths and advised us to apply them with considerable vigor. The green food coloring was definitely the long-lasting sort. I can still remember the taste and feel of the sweet green mixture, and also the taste and feel of the soap and washcloth!

Well here's wishing you yummy food on the day, and nobody turning green :-)

From: Diana Sanders Moniz
Dear Annie: I'm going to write this in two installments, because I can't decide which memory to recollect with you. For the first-how about that time when Jim was a dental student at USC, and because he was in the "hood" you had him stop at one of the local drugstores to get you a box of "Silky Straight" for your hair. This was probably because you had just spent $17.00 at a Santa Barbara beauty salon to have your hair professionally straightened only to have it frizz out on you the next night at the homecoming float decorating in the fog. Did you ever get that problem "straightened out"?

Well, Annie: Happy Birthday-I guess you were the first of our pledge class to get your first legal drink (was it at the Plow and Angel?) all those years ago. My other choice memory is the time the ADPi was having the annual Xmas party at the B Bar Whatever Ranch up in the hills. You bought this lovely elegant blue satin dress-very form fitting-so form fitting (remember the Merry Widow Corsets we wore?) and pegged at the bottom that when we went to the bathroom (actually almost an outhouse outside on the really cold deck at the Ranch) that you couldn't get the skirt up over your hips so you could pee. So we had to undress you out there, right down to the corset. Wasn't that fun? HEHEHE. Love and hugs and many happy returns.

From: Joy Thornton
Happy Birthday, Ann, from Santa Barbara! (Actually, GOLETA!!!)

We all missed you at Di's great party last fall. Hopefully Di will send you a picture if she hasn't already! We all had a super time and were so sorry you couldn't make it. We were all looking forward to seeing you there.

HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! One of my favorite quotes we got from someone recently just sums it all up, especially as we are reaching those GOLDEN YEARS!

"Yesterday was history,
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a GIFT -- that's why
they call it the PRESENT!"

Remember to take each day and make it a special gift to each other. Make each day a wonderful PRESENT!

Love, Joy and Tim Thornton

From: Nancy Jo
Ann, CAN YOU BELIEVE WE'VE GOTTEN THIS OLD?!!! Actually I'm much younger than you - you used to brag about being a month older. My first memory of you was when we were 6 years old and you had the measles. I was invited to play with you since I was the only one that had already had it. You taught me to play 52 pickup (I’m sure you learned from Dennis). I'm sure that many of your mothers gray hairs came from being our Camp Fire Girls leader. Do you remember the camping trip when she brought only healthy food and we were all starving. We tried to find the marshmallows that night to no avail and found out later that she had slept with them.

In thinking back I realize what a huge influence your family had on my life - the trips to Alamitos Bay, your dad taking us to Santa Barbara and finding housing for us IN JULY! - going away to college and joining a sorority (I've always been grateful that I didn't know I couldn't afford it). The Santa Barbara years were a really special time - the boarding house - the sorority house on Sola Street (singing after dinner and bridge instead of studying, complaining about having to be in by 1AM ) - the apartment in Isla Vista ( I still remember you going to student teaching wearing 4" heels and a wool suit. If nothing else we ate well with all the home ec majors and burned up several bread boards making Baked Alaska. I hope you'll be able to come next time Di gets us together (what would be do without her). Love and Loyalty Nancy Jo

From: Nancy Stacy
Hi, Ann,
It doesn’t seem possible that this much time has gone by since our Gaucho days in Santa Barbara! Remember Mother B? And the hashers—and that lovely antique home with all the polished (by us) oak?

How lucky we were to have such a wonderful group of Sisters to share our lives with—and how nice that we are still in touch after more years than I can imagine possible. I don’t know if you have noticed, but in my family my two daughters have finally overtaken me in years and are now older than I am! I expect it’s the same for the rest of the crew!

Dad passed away in 2002. Randy and I still get down to Bakersfield 3 or 4 times a year to see Mom, Larry (and his lovely wife Rebecca) and the rest of the family. It’s always fun, and will always be my core “home”.

I think this is such a thoughtful thing for Erin to do for your birthday—clever, these “kids”!
Have a wonderful 70th—I’m right on your tail!

Love and Loyalty,
Nancy Stacy

From: Carolyn Ross Mitchell Congratulations, Ann, on your 70th. Can you believe we’ve been friends since about age four?!? We have come a long way since climbing the fig tree in your parents back yard. Wishing you the best…

From: Robert and Janet Dixon
Dear Ann:

Congratulations and best wishes on becoming the newest family member of "distinguished" septuagenarians.

No doubt you and Jim are looking forward to enjoying the visit from Erin, Dean, Natalie and Katherine and hopefully one of these days we will get to welcome you both to the Florida peninsular.

We wish you much happiness and the best of health in the many, many years ahead.

Robert and Janet

From: Pete Kelley
Today is my Mom's 70th Birthday, and I wanted to take this opportunity to speak to her and to anyone who reads this to what a great Mom she is and has been my entire life. I didn't always know what a truly great Mom she was though. When I was young, I knew she did really cool things like always taking my friends and I (and my sister and her friends) to the park, or to the movies (and letting us buy candy and popcorn and all that stuff you love to have when you're a kid at the movies).

I also remember though, that she was always busy doing things like being the PTA President, or organizing the Discovery Room at Horace Mann elementary where my sister and I went to school. This was a volunteer staffed "exploration" room where your class got to go once a week and do cool stuff. I remember they had a big car engine in there mounted on something like a sawhorse that you could tinker with in addition to many other activities. I always loved that car engine.

What I didn't know then, was that sometimes the volunteers wouldn't come through and my Mom would end up picking up their shifts. I didn't know then that being the PTA President is really a lot of work. See, for those of you who have known me since those days, you may just remember that I wasn't always the "ideal child" or "model citizen". Some might even say I was just a bit of a handful. For I was always managing to get myself in trouble doing some fool thing that I should have known much better than to do because my Mom had surely instilled more sense into me than that.

But alas, did my Mom give up even though I continued to do such fool things well into my young adulthood? No. She didn't. And then, somehow it happened. I grew up, matured, got married, had a couple of kids of my own, and began to volunteer at their preschool. I became the preschool event coordinator. Then, after that, I began to volunteer at their elementary school. I did things like help pick out a new playground for the kindergartners. I participated in, than ran the auction for the school Parents Club (like a PTA, but a separate non-profit organization). And then, lo and behold, I became the president of the school Parents Club. And then I looked back and saw my Mom in myself, and realized just what a lucky person I am for having such a great Mom, for I had come full circle and was following in her footsteps. For one of the main reasons I did these things was because that's what my Mom did and she instilled the belief in me that
one should do these types of things with one's time. And for this I will be eternally grateful.

So on this 70th Birthday, I want to say to my Mom, thanks. Thanks for always being there for me. And I hope you have not only a wonderful Birthday, but many wonderful days ahead while you are retired, because you deserve them and because you have made Erin and I confident adults who are proud to be who we are today.

Okay Mom, now that you're probably crying because I got so mushy and sentimental, here's some great pictures of your grandkids at Disneyland to cheer you up!

With love, your son, Peter

With Cinderella...

With their teachers brick at the Disneyland entrance:

Jordan dressed as Ben Franklin for a school project:

From: Your daughter-in-law Kathy
Since the day I was brought into the "Kelley fold" I've always considered myself fortunate not only to have found the great love of my life, but also his great family!

Happy Birthday Mom!!! You have always embraced me, and I truly love you for that. I hope you spend your birthday getting all the pampering you deserve! Aren't I the lucky one to have a Mother-in-Law I adore! Can't wait to see you soon.

Love, Kathy

From: Granddaughter Megan - 6 years old
What day is it today? It's your Birthday!! Happy Birthday, love Megan. I hope your Birthday is really nice. I hope you have a good Birthday, hugs and kisses.

Love, Megan

From: Grandson Jordan - 10 years old
Dear Grandma,

I love spending time with you and I hope you have a great time on your Birthday. I really like visiting you because I don't see you very often and it's fun to just talk and play games. Well anyways, Happy Birthday and I hope you have fun on your Birthday. When I see you in April, I'll ask you about your Birthday and I hope you have tons of fun until then.



From: Your granddaughters, Natalie (3) and Kate (7mos)
Happy birthday Grandma! Even though we don’t see you often, we talk about you all the time and love to look at photos of you and grandpa. We can’t wait to see you in April! We’ll be looking forward to lots of story time together… and can you please make sure to have some of those delicious happy face cookies?

From: Your son-in-law Dean
Happy Birthday Ann! You were so welcoming and loving from the first time Erin introduced to me to the Family. I distinctly recall you going out of your way to make sure I was comfortable and at home come breakfast morning when you made sure that I had my favorite morning beverage. English Breakfast Tea. :) I am so glad to be part of the family and to have you as my Mother-in-law and look forward to visiting with you and Jim in April. Hope you have a great day.

Much Love, Dean

From: Erin, the original Dixon Chick (aka, your daughter)
Well mom, I hope you’ve enjoyed this “birthday edition” of the blog. I would bet money that you probably started crying the minute you read the first entry. If so, that is great because I know that means you have been touched by the well wishes of those near and far who care for you very much. It was such fun for me to do this for you, especially hearing from many of your friends whose names I remember hearing around the house as we grew up. Technology is such a wonderful thing in how it connects and re-connects people (something I know a little about!)

I have such love and respect for you mom. As I’ve said before, I don’t think I really knew how much you did for Pete and I until I became a mom myself. And I am so, so appreciative. Your hours volunteering in the school library when I was a kid taught me to be active in my community and to think about others. You instilled in me a love of dance and music, which I have already begun to pass on to my girls via our living room dance parties and Natalie in her ballet class, which she loves. You taught me how to stand up for myself (think the keg “incident” in college) and to truly believe in myself. This has mostly served me well. Though there were a couple times in Vegas where I believed in my ability to play 21 a little too much, or a few times at UCSB where I thought I could “hold my own” drinking with the frat boys, but I digress.

My girls are still very young, but I already look forward to the paybacks. The many nights of proclaiming “yuck” in response to you’re telling me what we were having for dinner. The complete lack of respect for most of your opinions from age 14 -18 (then amazingly, after I went off to college you suddenly became intelligent again). And good god, if they start their driving careers as I did… enough said. I know you will chuckle hearing the stories from Pete and I as the grandkids give us the same run through the ringer we did you. And that you will be happy in knowing yours has been a job well done. Because if it weren’t for all your love, support and quiet wisdom, we wouldn’t have the families we do today. So mom, here is a virtual toast your 70 years today, and to creating more memories in the many years to come.

Now what I really want to see is a photo of you in those 4 inch stilettos and wool suit. Anyone? Anyone?

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