A Saturday night in San Jose (the 10th largest city in America–bigger than San Francisco, Detroit, and Washington, D.C., among others–did you know that?) is not like a Saturday night in, say, Chicago or Los Angeles. A Saturday night in San Jose is more like a Saturday night in Cleveland or Milwaukee. In other words, the perfect time and place for a gathering of family and friends for a 75th birthday party.
Dad’s birthday party was a terrific success–he said so himself. All of his children were present and a large gathering of friends at a San Jose restaurant. Included were one of his high school classmates and a married couple he and my mother have known for more than fifty years. Another guest was a man who was also born in January 1932 and lived on the same street Dad lived on in Houston. Strangely enough, this fellow and my Dad didn’t meet each other until about three or four years ago at the VA hospital in Palo Alto, California.
Of course, a number of the Bay Area Browns Backers turned out as well.
One of Dad’s passions is music–jazz, specifically. I put together a couple of CD’s of his favorite artists, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Charles Brown, Clifford Brown. Dad also liked Dinah Washington, Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, and the (very early) Beatles. I also found and put on the CD’s radio news bulletins of significant events of the past 75 years, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor. My sister (who was largely responsible for the success of the evening) found some vintage film footage of the artists.
Dad recalled that in 1948 when he went to spend a year with his father in California, the first day they were in Los Angeles, they went to the Million Dollar Theatre downtown and saw a movie, a newsreel, and a live show. The live performer was Dizzy Gillespie.
A 75th birthday party for a parent is both fun and trying–yet you never want the music to end.
January 31, 2007 Wednesday at 11:17 pm