Bastille Day and Me

Two national holidays in July and both have been imporant to me as long as I can remember. The Fourth of July, known for firecrackers and watermelon picnics, and Bastille Day, the French National Holiday. I always celebrate Bastille Day -not because I am French - its my birthday.

We had celebrated with our local family Sunday night so today is a quiet day. Because its my birthday I can feel entitled --- watch movies and talk on the phone with friends and family as well as keep up with what needs doing

TCM was celebrating Bastille Day too - with old movies set during the French Revolution. To stave off any guilt, I took a knitting break as I watched the first one -The Black Book with Robert Cummings, Arlene Dahl and Richard Basehart. It brought back waves of memories of sitting in the Plaza Theater on Central Avenue, Charlotte, NC where I first saw this 1949 black and white movie when I was in Junior High School.

The second movie movie for Bastille Day was the 1958 black and white British version of A Tale of Two Cities with Dirk Bogarde. The story is familiar and this particular film did not carry Plaza memories so I put down the knitting and went back to business.

I am telling stories Saturday night at the Starrytelling Festival in Kensington so I am working on the story - an African folktale- which I have wrapped with a personal story about a night under an inky canopy of stars at Amboseli Park.
The image of those vibrant stars twinkling in that black sky is unforgettable - and -speaking of birthdays - it was my birthday - my 49th birthday.

That brings up memories of other birthdays on foreign soil -

July 14, 2003 was certainly the most romantic. Jim and I were on an extended stay in Venice that summer and we loved every minute of the five weeks.
By my birthday the holiday was winding down and we were bracing to head home in a few days.
We had saved a special treat to mark my day. Jim took me for high tea at the fabled Florian's restaurant on St, Mark's Plaza. We asked to be seated in the Chinese Room. Sitting on the uncomfortable chairs, blancing tea cups and tasty teeny tiny tea sandwiches we looked out large rippled glass windows across the Plaza to the grand St Mark's Cathedral. We watched the pigeons swoop down among the people who were strolling across the plaza. Touching history and making a memory. It was a wonderful birthday celebration.

July 14, 2006 - Somewhere in Ireland,
trapped in a bus with 30 other Americans on an elderhostel tour that is best forgotten.

Birthdays mark the passage of time and give us a chance walk through our memories as well as look forward to what's ahead.
And, truly I am grateful for each and every one of them - and hope and pray for more. Recently I agreed to have my name added to an art exhibition scheduled in 2012.

In the afternoon when our California grandsons called to sing Happy BIrthday - I asked the sixteen year old, my computer guru, if he could remove my birthday from my MYSpace page - I hate having the banner proclaim my age.
"Weezie, you should feel proud." (Now, don't you love him for that?)
"I know, I know, honey. And I do. I just don't want the whole world to count with me - to know how much I am proud about."

In my folktale the young boy says to the curious old man - " its not a secret when two know it." Right.
Does it make sense - to spend a pretty penny coloring my hair and then proclaim it on MYSPACE.

Enough birthdays and you wise up.


Kate Dudding said...


A belated Happy Birthday, no matter which one it is :-)


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