Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Birthdays Past

Dear George,

Who could have imagined that Katja and I would have celebrated fifty-plus birthdays together?  I can’t remember them all, but here are a few of the highlights (by the decade).

Dec. 9, 1959.  Katja and I were in the midst of our fifth and final year at Antioch.  Katja had returned that summer from a year abroad in Besancon and Vienna.  For a variety of personal and family reasons, we were overwhelmed with one catastrophe after the next, and we clung together like frightened orphans.  Our wedding on the following August 28th was the happiest day of our lives.

Dec. 9, 1969.  Katja was the mother of two and a half month old baby J, and our lives had been transformed positively forevermore.  Katja had resigned from her high school teaching job at Finneytown High School to be a stay-at-home mom at our Williamsburg Apartments townhouse.  We split vacation times between Philadelphia and Menominee.  Katja’s friend Sarah was our babysitter.  Jacques was our doggie.


Dec. 9, 1979.  Katja had returned to graduate school in Romance Languages at UC, and I’d gained tenure.  She was doing adjunct French teaching for the department and was a model teacher.  With each class she took her students to the five-star Maisonette restaurant downtown where they tried to order from the menu in French.  Katja shared an office with Eleanor Minkarah, and they became close friends.  J entered his first tennis tournament that year in the 12 and unders, won a bunch of matches, and we became wild-eyed tennis parents.


Dec. 9, 1989.  With an eye on J’s college financing and with some encouragement from Ami, Katja had returned to graduate school and gotten her M.S.W. from UC.  She and Terri Mussio were cohort buddies.  Katja worked at the Cincinnati Association for the Blind with Kathy Roberts and Jane Coffey.  J was a junior at Columbia, and we made regular trips to the Big Apple.  Bedlington Terrier Winston was our beloved dog.


Dec. 9, 1999.  Suddenly we were among the senior members in our respective workplaces.  Katja’s visually impaired clients were highly appreciative of her help.  One of them said, “I never knew being blind could be so much fun!”   J and K graduated from med school that year from LSU and Tulane respectively, and they’d taken residencies together at UC-Davis.  Katja’s dad, Buck, had passed away in Cincinnati several years before, and she was spending lots of time with her mom, Helen.  

Dec. 9, 2009.  And so now we are at the start of a New Year.  We are excited to be grandparents and are looking forward to visiting New Orleans soon.  I’ve been retired for nearly a year (hard to believe), while Katja’s still working away.  Our sheepdogs, Mike and Duffy, are middle-aged, and Duffy has mellowed, while Mike is feeling his oats.  Katja has the same spirit and love of life that she had in 1959.  One can’t ask for more than that.




G-Mail Comments:

Linda KC (12-9): Sweet, I will send you a picture of our shared love, also known as hrmtb. ( her royal highness the baby) and sweet she is. We all adored her this her and Jayme having a tea party.


  1. Happy birthday to Katja!

    Is J saying, "Dad! Get that cigarette away from my face!" :-)

  2. Jennifer: I'm afraid your observation is too much on target. I did quite smoking eventually due to parental guilt, but it took another five years.