Sunday, September 27, 2015

The day you were born

The first time I attempted writing about my life was in the ninth grade. Mrs. Burton, my English teacher, assigned the class the task of writing our autobiographies. Of course, my life was far from over, so the autobiography was short, more of a memoir than an autobiography. Although the paper has long been lost, I still remember my dramatic opening, which described my birth day in upstate New York: 'Twas New Year's Eve and bitter cold that morn of '45. 

Quite the budding literary, don't you think? Obviously I was not writing from my birth memory, but from my parents' story of my birth. Were you a joy to behold or a disappointment because you weren't a boy? We are shaped by the stories our family tells about us.  Looking back, what impact did these stories have on your self-confidence as you grew from a toddler to a girl, to a teenager, to a woman?

Our culture also shapes us. What were the major events surrounding your birth? I was born at the end of World War II in an Army Air Corps base hospital outside of Rome, New York. The war was over, but my father was still in the service because he was one of the clerks who processed thousands of discharge papers so others could be mustered out. There was already a first born son and money was tight, so Daddy was very, very happy that I came on the last day of the year because I counted as a tax deduction for the entire year. He reminded me of this fact throughout my life--my brothers teased me and said my tax credit was what made me his favorite child.

Another interesting note about my birth: I was a Sooner Boomer; that is, I arrived a day earlier than the official date for identifying Baby Boomers, which is 1946. Truth is, I've always felt a little like the settlers in Oklahoma who sneaked in to stake their homestead a day ahead of the official opening day in 1889. Those Sooners got the choice sections since they got in ahead of the masses. Similarly, as a Sooner Boomer, I enjoy receiving my monthly social security check while late Boomers worry the agaency is going bankrupt.

What's your story? Do some research and discover what people's interests were when you were being born. Read the headlines from the newspapers. Look through old almanacs. There are sites, like Answer.com, that have summaries of every year regarding politics, science, literature, etc. It's fascinating to know what was going on in your community and the world at large on that important day, the day you were born.This was the environment and social climate that surrounded your arrival.

Take time to examine the world as it was when you showed up to join the human race. Knowing your history helps in making sense of your life.