My grandmother, Anna Schumacher Spencer and my aunt, Laura Spencer Fredrick were birthday buddies. That seems to be a much more common thing than I ever knew. My grand-niece, Elliott Stevens also shares this birthday with her 2nd great grandma and her 2nd great aunt. Though they never got to meet her, I know they would have absolutely loved Elliott and sharing their birthday with her. Grandma and Aunt Laura spent a lot of time together in her early years. Aunt Laura was her parents pride and joy, and their only child for 10 years. No one has been able to tell me why they waited 10 years to add to their little family, but add they did, with sons, William and Allen, and daughter Ruth, all in fairly quick succession. Nevertheless, it was Aunt Laura who would spend 10 years doing absolutely everything with her mother. They visited friends and family together. They kept house together, with Grandma teaching her little daughter all the things she would need to know as a grown woman. Those were special bonding years for both of the birthday buddies. I would imagine that those birthdays were cause for an extra special celebration too.
I have looked through my grandmother’s photo album many times, and I have seen some of their outings. Pictures at historic sites with a cannon, a zoo, and the homes of friends and family are displayed in between the covers of Grandma’s book of treasured memories. I wish I could have know her, and it makes me sad that she passed away just 6 short months after I was born. I did get to meet her, of course, but I don’t remember those times, sadly. All I have are old movies with Grandma and me.
Grandma loved to show her daughter, Laura and later her other children, William, Allen, and Ruth as much of the world as she could. I sometimes wonder if it was Grandma or Grandpa who put the wanderlust in the hearts of their children, because they all loved to travel and see the great country we all live in. They all traveled extensively, some to other countries too. There is much to see out there, and they wanted to see it all. They were all adventurous people. Grandma nd Uncle Bill eventually went home to the area they loved most, the area of Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth Minnesota, but the other children would move to other places. Laura ended up in Portland, Oregon; my dad, Allen ended up in Casper, Wyoming; and Aunt Ruth ended up in Newport, Washington…all beautiful areas of the country. All of them have now moved to Heaven, with my Uncle Bill passing away on Christmas Day, 2020. I miss them all, and can’t wait to see them again in Heaven. Today is the anniversary of birthday buddies, Anna and Laura’s birthdays. Happy birthday in Heaven Grandma Spencer and Aunt Laura. We love and miss you both very much.
I can’t let my daughter, Corrie Schulenberg Petersen’s birthday go by without thinking of the other family birthday that is on this day…Corrie’s great grandmother, Nettie Knox. The day Corrie was born my in-laws, Walt and Joann Schulenberg, brought her mother in to see the baby. The first thing grandma said was that Corrie had been born on her birthday. She was so excited that her very first great grandchild had been given as a birthday gift to her. And a gift it was, to both of them. A gift that had the ability to transcend time and great distance.
Sharing a birthday with her great grandmother built an unbreakable bond between Corrie and Grandma Knox. They shared each and every birthday from Corrie’s birth in 1975 to Grandma’s passing on July 29, 1990, just one month after Corrie’s 15th birthday. Not a birthday goes by now, that Corrie doesn’t think of her great grandmother, and the bond that they will always share. Even though her great grandmother is in Heaven now, the bond is as real as it ever was. Grandma Knox lives always in Corrie’s heart as her great grandmother and her birthday buddy, and that is a special thing that just doesn’t happen everyday. It is a special thing only for a select few who happen to be blessed enough to be born a birthday gift to their great grandmother.