At 6:03pm this evening, the exact time of my birth 48 years ago, I will officially commence my 49th year.  At 6:03pm, Mother will call, as she has every year since I left for college in 1983, to make it official.

Mother and I are the only remaining cast members from the premiere in September 1964.  My grandparents, great-grandparents, my birth father, the doctor, my uncles have all exited the stage following their bows.

For several days Mother had felt contractions, but knew it was not time.  In fact, she insisted on waiting until midnight before heading to the hospital.  Dr. Ulrey was hoping I would arrive on his birthday, September 24th – but that passed.  As midnight approached, Mother took a bath, while Grandma Donna sat in the kitchen timing each contraction.  When Mother was ready to go to the hospital, they woke my father to have him ready the car.  In his youthful nervousness, he drove the car up to the back porch!  Mother laughingly told him that she could walk the five blocks to the hospital.

Through the remainder of the night, and all Friday the 25th, the contracting-play continued without an intermission.  The new lead actor failed to report to the stage despite the anticipation from those assembled for the debut.

At 6:03pm, Friday evening, September 25th, 1964, I arrived.  I don’t recall the debut, and like Gracie Allen mused about her own birth, I was so surprised I didn’t talk for nearly nine months.

Forty-eight years have passed all too quickly.  Much has been packed into these 48 years, and despite the less happier moments, the brilliant moments always rise to the top to be counted as my many blessings.  No longer are my grandparents, and uncles here to celebrate with me, but their collective light shines around me always.

My mother, sons, brother, sister-in-law, nephews and niece are the center of my life, as are Aunt Jenny, several great uncles & aunts, and many, many cousins who have always enriched my life through the years.  And of course, my life has been, and will always be be blessed with my teachers and professors, dear personal and family friends, and countless students (past and present) and their families.

It has been a wonderful life, and I am truly grateful for these past 48 years.

Thank you…

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