Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My 10th Birthday Present from Aunt Carol

This Saturday, we'll be celebrating my Aunt Carol's 65th birthday. Below is a little remembery I wrote for her. My mom, who is throwing the party, asked my two sisters, my brother,my two cousins and I to write a little something about our 10th birthday present from Aunt Carol. She gave each of us a trip to stay with her for a weekend in New York City. Way cool. This is a long post, I know. It's just that I thought some of my readers may enjoy it.

In the Fall of 1986, I traveled up to New York City, by way of Greyhound Bus, for my tenth birthday present from Aunt Carol. I was the sixth of six to experience this adventure and had heard tales of Broadway shows and many sights to see. I remember that I got to leave early from school, but I had to run the mile first for the Presidential Fitness test. (Which I never passed, by way—I wasn't flexible enough, among other things.) I remember being quite perturbed that I had to run around Holy Trinity's steep driveway three or four times, getting quite sweaty, before I could leave for the day. I think I tried to plea for an exception. I was going to New York City, by myself, after all. No exception.
I rode the bus up and was met by Aunt Carol at the station. My first memory is going out to dinner at the restaurant that we went to for Grandpa's 65th Birthday Party. I had pork and I remember Aunt Carol commenting on how good my table manners were. We went to a grocery store and bought snacks and things I liked to eat. I remember the Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano cookies. I think it may have been the first time I had those.
I slept on the couch and Aunt Carol lent me a shawl to wear around my shoulders while I read before bed. I thought that was really neat. I remember how noisy it was all night long. Not that I was kept awake, but while I was going to sleep and when I woke up in the morning, it sounded the same--horns beeping, traffic, dumpster emptying, etc.
One morning, I'm not sure if it was Saturday or Sunday, Aunt Carol made me plattor [Swedish pancakes]. They arrived on my plate in millions of tiny pieces, just how I liked to cut them up at home...only I didn't have to do any cutting nor did Aunt Carol! They tasted delicious, all the same.
We set out for the day with the intention to go to the Empire State Building and the American Museum of Natural History. We did both of those and they were fabulous. I remember the really long elevator ride up to the top of the Empire State Building. At the museum, I remember seeing mummies and I was fascinated by the toys and dolls that were there. I remember likening them to archaeological Barbie dolls.
I'm not sure what exactly transpired, but we made a decision to head over to the Statue of Liberty. I remember being disappointed that I didn't have my camera. I'd left it at the apartment since we had originally planned to go back there after our first two stops. Anyway, the Statue of Liberty was Le Piece de Resistance for me. It had just re-opened that summer and I think that might be a reason we waited a while after my tenth birthday to do the trip, so that it would be open when I was there. We waited for everything when it came to seeing the statue. We waited to get on the ferry boat. (We saw David Hartman, in the process, however, which was very cool since my parents were such Good Morning America fans.) We waited to go up the statue. We waited on the stairs. I can't remember if the elevator was broken or if you only could ever go up on stairs. As we approached her crown, there was a spiral staircase that went up to the very top. Aunt Carol didn't want to go on the spiral stairs and so she asked the nice couple, who had been in line with us since the very bottom of the statue, if they would mind me as I went up and down, to look out of her crown. It was magnificent! I remember being totally amazed by the experience. Aunt Carol bought me a little replica of the statue. I was very excited about that.
After such a full day, we headed back to Aunt Carol's apartment to get ready for dinner. While there, I took some photos with my miniature Statue of Liberty that I thought might look authentic, upon development. I obviously wasn't very schooled in the art of special effects. Being disappointed that I hadn't had my camera while gallivanting around NYC, I thought I'd take some pictures of Aunt Carol's apartment. After all, that was just as exciting and exotic as the rest of the city in my 10-year-old opinion. We met a friend of Aunt Carol's and her daughter, who was about my age, for dinner. We met them at an Italian restaurant and I had fettuccine alfredo. We then went to a bakery after dinner and I got a cannoli. Yum.
The next day, I rode the bus home, brimming with memories of my tenth birthday present trip from Aunt Carol. I no longer had to envy the memories of the others. I finally had my own to cherish.

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