A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Three Birthdays, August 17, August 27 & August 31st
Friday, August 24, 2007

Of my own birthday I have written about here. In brief I hate my own birthdays and I specially hate birthday cakes.

When Rosemary, our daughters Ale (now, 38), Hilary (now, 34) and I lived in Arboledas, in the outskirts of Mexico City in the early 70s, our house was on a block full of children. We were a block away from a long grove of eucalipt trees.

It was there were we celebrated Ale's birthday. In the photo here Ale is on the bottom row, fifth from the right. I took this photograph on August 27, 1972 which was her fourth birthday. Looking back at this picture I am glad Rosemary nagged me to take it.

In the other picture you can see Ale opening her presents while her sister Hilary (Rebecca's mother), 8 months old, looked on with primitive envy. I have come to appreciate the value of group photographs of the family and I am glad that someone recorded some of my own birthdays. The picture here was taken in our garden in Buenos Aires on August 31st, 1951. I was nine years old.

I am bottom centre wearing a tie. Behind my right shoulder is my lovely first cousin Elizabeth Blew and behind, making a rare appearance in a photograph is my father George.

For me Rebecca's tenth birthday (August 17), which we celebrated with a Hawaiian themed party on Wednesday, was a bit bittersweet. She is growing up. But it was nice to see that she is still a little girl in some ways. She enjoyed bobbing for apples and, like her Aunt Ale, she also enjoys piñatas. That's because she has never had a Monica in her parties. In my birthday photograph, Monica is the dark girl in front of my father.

She always broke the piñata, put the tail on the donkey, won the bag races, bobbed the apple in record time and managed to break all my new toys.

During the birthday party we had curious incident. Rebecca's other grandmother, Marjorie Stewart was making a complaint about our present Mayor Sam Sullivan in relation to the present impasse in the negotiations to settle the civic strike. Rebecca, quite rudely (but with conviction) raised her voice in the direction of her grandmother and said, "You cannot say that about Sam, he is my friend." She then stiffened her spine and left the room to play with her friends.

Recently my first cousin Diane Hayward wrote from Buenos Aires:

I do remember going to one of your birthday parties at the house in Coghlan and enjoying the garden which was full of bushes and trees and seemed like something out of that famous book The Secret Garden - lots of places to hide away and daydream. I was a fanciful child.

And when I told Sam Sullivan and Lynn Zanatta about Rebecca's altercation with her grandmother she wrote:

Sam wants her on his campaign team.


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