My cousin Ted called the other day. I knew he would. He always calls me on my birthday, December 5, to wish me a happy one – and to tease me. I am older than he is by 26 days. Teddy and Penny. We finished out 1949, he in the year’s last hour. We lived in the same house until we were 4 1/2. We all moved out of our multi-generational, multi-family home, to the suburbs. There, we lived next door to each other, a back yard sidewalk linking our two back doors until we were 18.
So, ’twas on the 5th, shortly before five in the evening (couldn’t resist that one), that the phone rang and there was Ted.
“Happy birthday, Pen. If you didn’t answer, I was going to sing you the Beatles’ birthday song.”
“Today’s Your Birthday?”
“No, the other one.”
It took me a few seconds to compute. What other song? “The one about sixty-four”.
Oh, geez! Of course Teddy would remember that!
“You mean ‘will you still need me, will you still feed me?’ “
“Yeah. When I’m sixty-four.”
We laughed and talked, Ted reminding me that it was popular more than forty years ago and how all of us, a generation of teens so full of ourselves, and sure we’d never grow old, let along turn 64, listened to the Beatles.
Well, my friends, it just happened to me, and it will happen to Ted just as this year ends. “Many years from now” IS now! Yikes! Interestingly, recording began on the song on December 6, 1966. The day after my seventeenth birthday.
I’m so grateful that my cousin Ted still calls me on my birthday. He is my oldest friend: that once little tyke who shared toilet water with me on Congress Street, squirmed on Santa’s lap at Marshall Fields, heard Santa through the walls of the house, and who always came in our back door on Harrison Street proclaiming “where’s PenDot?”. I’ll tag him back on New Year’s Eve, when he’s 64!