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Memories of My Birthday Celebrations

Paul is a retired American expat living in Thailand. Besides being an English teacher and translator, Paul likes languages and most sports.

Celebrating My 71st Birthday

Getting ready to blow out birthday cake candles with granddaughter Yuri.

Getting ready to blow out birthday cake candles with granddaughter Yuri.

Memories of My Birthday Celebrations

Born in 1944, I have been very fortunate to have had many birthday celebrations. Most of my birthday celebrations have been quiet private family affairs. While growing up and even into my college years, mom always made sure that I had a cake with candles for my birthday.

After I left home and went into the Navy, mom would send me a birthday card every year. Then, after I got married, mom continued to send birthday cards along with money for my birthday.

I have, however, had a few significant birthday celebrations which I highlight in this article. They include the celebrations on the occasion of my 23rd, 25th, 46th, 50th, and 66th birthdays. Each is remembered in this article.

Celebrating My 23rd Birthday

My 23rd birthday in 1967 was spent at the Navy Recruit Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois. Although I didn't have a party, this day was special in another way. During the mail call on the evening of my birthday, August 11, the recruit petty officer handed out mail, and my fellow recruits were very surprised that I received five mail pieces that evening. My mother, younger brother, and three younger sisters had each sent me a birthday card! I was extremely happy opening and reading each card.

My 25th Birthday Celebration

In 1969, I was still in the Navy and stationed at Shu Lin Kou Air Force Base in Taiwan. We had an NCO club on base that had slot machines, a restaurant, and live music with a dance floor.

The club also had a special treat for enlisted men's birthdays. Anyone celebrating a birthday was given a free steak dinner along with a glass of wine or mixed drink. I remember feasting on a sirloin steak complete with a baked potato and Caesar salad.

After the meal, I put a nickel in a slot machine and won a $25 jackpot. My birthday celebration was now complete.

My 46th Birthday Party

On August 11, 1990, I was working as a civilian in Taipei, Taiwan. After drinking late in the afternoon with a fellow American in Tien Mou, we headed to the Western bar district off Chung Shan North Road in Taipei. Our destination was the China Night Club.

Upon ordering a beer, I made acquaintance with a German who was celebrating his birthday at the China Night Pub. He had a cake in a room on the second floor and asked me to join him. We had a great time drinking and chatting about Taiwan and Germany. While at the club, I also got acquainted with a barmaid whom I conversed with in Taiwanese. I still don't remember how I made it back to my hotel that night.

Remembering My 50th Birthday

In 1994, I was living in Maryland and dating my future ex-wife in Philadelphia. "D" came up with a splendid way of celebrating my 50th birthday. She organized a picnic for me at Pennypack Park in Northeast Philadelphia. "D" invited many of her Chinese friends to my birthday picnic. We had a cookout in the park and the weather was delightful. I remember helping to grill steaks and hamburgers. "D" also got me a very beautiful shirt for a birthday that I will always cherish.

My 66th Birthday Party

My 66th birthday party at Tawan Taeng Supper Club in Bangkok.  Taken in 2010.

My 66th birthday party at Tawan Taeng Supper Club in Bangkok. Taken in 2010.

On the occasion of my 66th birthday in 2010, I had one of the best birthday parties of my life.

From 2009 until the end of 2010, I taught English to the boss and 20 of his employees at the Thaiscan Company in Bangkok. Thaiscan designs and produces posters and signboards for KFC, Burger King, and other companies in Thailand.

When the Thaiscan boss found out that my birthday was on August 11, he decided to arrange a birthday party for me and my wife at a German microbrewery and supper club in Bangkok. My Thaiscan students would also attend the party.

After our class ended at 6:00, Mr. Nikhom drove my wife and me to the Tawan Taeng Supper Club. Throughout the evening, my wife, Mr. Nikhom, Thaiscan students, and I had a great time eating Thai and German food, drinking German beer, and watching a very entertaining nightclub show. The highlight of the evening came at about 10:00 when a big birthday cake with candles was brought to my table and everyone sang Happy Birthday.

Birthday Celebrations Since 2010

In 2014, my wife and I moved from Bangkok to Udon Thani in Northeast Thailand. Each year I quietly celebrate my birthday with my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. Occasionally some friends also attend. We go to a restaurant in Central World or UD Town and then have my birthday cake at home. When my granddaughter Yuri was young, she always wanted to blow out the candles.

Perhaps I will have a big party on my 80th birthday in 2024.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Paul Richard Kuehn