One of the coolest things my mother did for her children, as we were growing up, was to make our birthdays an extravaganza celebration. Our special day always had a theme with hand-made invitations, costumes and decorations. My brother, Dub, has a birthday in October, so his parties centered around cool weather things. One year he had a Football Party and we welcomed the star quarterback of the local high school team as the celebrity guest. Another year his party had a TV Heroes theme, and everyone dressed as their favorite TV idol. I was Morticia Addams and Dub was Napoleon Solo, the Man from U.N.C.L.E.
My birthday is the end of August so we had all summer to make plans. Where most little girls had pajama parties or celebrated Barbie along with their birthday, I had super events that included a Hawaiian Luau and a Mexican Fiesta.
For my 9th birthday we had the crème de a crème of all parties, with a United Nations theme. It was the rage of the neighborhood, because everyone dressed as a delegates from a different countries. We tie-dyed an old sheet and I draped it around myself, Super-glued a fake jewel to the center of my forehead and became the delegate from India. Dub represented Mexico, touting a sombrero, serape and a moustache, drawn on with an eyebrow pencil. I was a ravishing Rani, and Dub was one cool hombre.
Once upon a time in a fun land called Mexico, there lived a multi-talented lady named Doña Stephanie. Doña Stephanie loved animals. Not the “Aw, aren’t these puppies cute?” or “May I pet your kitty?” kind of love. She fervently cherished anything “animal” so much that she decided to build a kingdom that would be a sanctuary for multitudes of creatures to live in blissful harmony and peace. She wanted her animal kingdom to be a magical kingdom. She just loved happy critters!