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How I Survived My 8th Birthday When My Brother Killed My Balloons

fourth-cakeThe year was 1960.  It was a leap year, and Monday the fourth of July when I came roaring into this world.  (Talk about omens of my future).  My older brother was three years old and just developing his taste for fireworks – the true childhood meaning of the fourth of July.  My mother was in the hospital delivering a little sister instead of setting off the fireworks as planned.  The family joke is that my brother never quite forgave me for screwing up all future fourth of Julys. This marked the beginning of many “boy tortures” which magically occurred at my birthday celebrations.

One year, my brother and two of his friends decide to kill most of my decorative birthday balloons, which hang suspended under the backyard patio like mini hot air balloons.  They concoct the brilliant idea of filling water guns and shooting my balloons, thus popping them and spraying colored latex over my red, white and blue decorated party table.

I (being a future redhead) manage to catch my brother and his gang in mid balloon kill.  It doesn’t matter that I am in my pretty party dress with my white blond curls and shinny dress shoes.  I scream loud enough to raise the dead.  I take off in a mad dash after my brother, who sat with his friends atop the fence grinning like Alice’s Cheshire Cat.  I have visions of killing him when I catch him, which if you saw the difference in size between me and my brother, you could see this is pure fantasy on my part.  But there is that fiery redhead temper, and all I want to do is hit him as hard as I can – or at the very least break something of his.  Nothing is going to stop me from seeking my vengeance.

I quickly close the distance between us, because I can easily leap bushes.  The years spent as a ballerina have its’ own athletic benefits.  I am screaming at the top of my lungs while faintly hearing my mother yell, “What is going on?” from deep inside the house.  I don’t answer, as I am too busy screaming; determined to tackle my brother and kill him.

I don’t count on my brother’s dark horse: Kevin.  Kevin is the younger brother of Terry; two boys who live in the house next door.  Kevin and Terry are the other two perpetrators of this evil assault on my birthday celebration.  George, my brother’s best friend is not around, as George has never perpetrated one mean, boyish  thing – ever.  He would have said no to this diabolical boy plan out of love for me (or fear that his father would kill him).  I’ll pretend it is the former, although it was more than likely the latter.

I am almost at my brother’s back when something comes at me from my right, leaping off the porch.  It is Kevin. He tackles me, sending me and that frilly party dress down upon my father’s perfectly mowed lawn.  I am so angry that I instantly begin kicking and yelling, directing all my anger at Kevin.  He doesn’t quite know what to do with me, as he is now holding the Tasmanian devil.

He somehow manages to get a hold of my ankles.  He pulls me into the air, thus hanging me upside down.  My dress falls about my waist.  I don’t care, as I attempt to twist about to punch his knees, while gathering enough spit to land a loogie on his crotch.

Is this a crystal ball’s glance into my future with men?

It is right at this moment that my very mortified, angry mother bursts out the front door yelling, “STOOOOOP

With that, Kevin lets go and I drop to the ground with a thud.  I jump to my feet screaming what the boys are up to, all the while glaring at Kevin, and planning his death. I had to swallow my loogie, which made me angrier as I had just arranged it in my mouth for the perfect spit.  My mother instructs me to calm down, go in the house and clean up.  She sends my brother’s friends home while speaking the sentence dreaded by all boys everywhere,

“Son, come over here.  You and me are going to have a little talk.”

I remember sticking out my tongue at all three of them as I strut into the house, full of grass stains, strands of grass and a tear-filled defiant face.  My brother is forced to change his clothes and help with my birthday party, followed by a week’s restriction.  It still doesn’t stop me from thinking I will extract my vengeance at some later date on all of them.  My brother is miserable just having to hang out at his little sister’s birthday party with her 10 giggling friends.

Years later, I would run into the elusive Kevin.  He is home visiting from college, sitting on a bar stool in a local dance club.  I pass behind him and he turns around to take in my features.  He is devilishly handsome.  At first, he doesn’t quite recognize me.  I am 5’10, 130 pounds, red-haired and in my early 20’s.  It is a good thing he has the bar to hold him up.

I think somehow he wishes he could turn back time and erase all the boyish things he’d done.  We chat and I end up giving him a ride to where he is staying.  There is chemistry, but neither of us act upon it.

The thought of him having torturous redhead thoughts for an eternity comfort my redheaded soul.

Because it all started with spit, a crotch and a party.

Doesn’t it always?

Just remember to be kind to redheads on the fourth of July.  Consider it fair warning.

Until next time-


PS.  How’s life treating you Kev?


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About Catherine, the redhead mom blogger

Catherine’s hopes to make this blog a safe place for thyroid sufferers to come laugh and share the funnier side of thyroid disease while raising awareness around the world. She is a published author, known for her humorous speeches on finding your dream life and blogging for fun and profit. Catherine writes about her dream life at, 8 Women Dream and several online marketing publications. She would also like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations. Catherine posts on M/W/F. Join me on Google+ rapieress@aol.com

14 Responses to How I Survived My 8th Birthday When My Brother Killed My Balloons

  1. Steven July 5, 2007 at 12:00 am #

    Happy Birthday Catherine! I hope you have a wonderful day free of all boy tortures.

  2. darlene July 5, 2007 at 12:26 am #

    happy birthday day GIRL!!!
    ———–> slides the bottle of wine to you

  3. Jen / domestika July 5, 2007 at 2:17 am #

    OMG, snap!
    http://domestikgoddess.com/born-on-the-fourth-of-july (if I may be so bold as to leave a link)
    And happy birthday to you, too, my fav redhead! I’ve saved you a morsel of chocolate cake…

  4. Christy July 5, 2007 at 8:00 pm #

    Happy birthday, what a cool day to have a birthday on, you came in with a bang! (Sorry I just had to say that)

    I hope you’re having a great day! :)

  5. Botheyesgreen July 5, 2007 at 9:37 pm #

    Happy birthday Catherine (a day late, i know)

  6. Shinade/Moondanzer/Jackie July 6, 2007 at 12:13 am #

    Happy belated birthday my dear friend. You know my Mom was a red head and she was born during a leap year also…kinda’ interesting. So really your 2nd most favorite redhead…but, since mama has passed along …you are my favorite living redhead:)

  7. Catherine July 6, 2007 at 12:55 am #

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments and emails wishing me a happy birthday. It was a nice day, as are all Fourth of Julys. How can a day be bad that ends in diamonds, rubies and gems exploding in the sky? Brian made me a brownie birthday cake with blue frosting and gave me a green leather writer’s journal. Inside the cover he wrote, “To my mom the writer, I love you forever! Love Brian xo”. That boy is going to make some lucky girl a wonderful partner someday. He wants the world to read my writings and to pen the book that floats around in my head. Do you think the green leather journal is a big hint?
    I didn’t get to spend the day with my older brother, but he did buy us breakfast on Sunday, which will be in my Friday Gratitude post.  At the end of the day, I still love spending time with him – even though I wanted to kill him as a little girl.  Every time I hear an ELO tune (Roll Over Beethoven) it takes me back to the 1970s and the 8-track player in his room blasting great music throughout our home.  I have many found memories of being with him, so we can forgive him for being a typical boy. 
    All of your thoughts, comments and the fact that you show up to read my blog every day mean the world to me. Thank you for helping make my 47th birthday special.
    Catherine, your redhead

  8. Mirage Chopper July 6, 2007 at 1:41 am #

    Happy belated birthday to you! I really enjoyed reading this page.

  9. HollyGL July 6, 2007 at 1:51 am #

    Hi, Happy Belated Birthday to you! I have seen your avatar around, and thought I would stop by. What a great post. I was an only child, so I missed out on those particular tortures. I, of course, created plenty on my own. Still do, come to think of it… :)

  10. marc July 6, 2007 at 3:24 am #

    Isn’t it wonderful how both “time” and “forgiveness” allow us to turn and look behind with a great fondness!
    Happy Birthday and may you be fond of all the days you write about! Marc :)

  11. Solomon July 6, 2007 at 6:33 pm #

    Hi, Catherine. Love the blog. It’s colourful, fun and cool! Keep it up. Us redheads will take over the world soon, hehe!

  12. Solomon Blue July 6, 2007 at 6:54 pm #

    Happy belated birthday to you! Glad you had a great time and keep writing!

  13. dan leone July 7, 2007 at 7:38 am #

    Happy Birthday, Catherine! I am here to tell all your readers to heed your words. I was left with my tail between my legs whimpering in a bucket of my own tears by a redhead! This was ONLY 15 years ago. Do you think it is time to let go?

    Excellent Post. Happy Birthday and KEEP WRITING!


  14. Ryan B July 11, 2007 at 2:02 am #

    Hey thanks for the comment, and happy belated birthday!

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