Summer Solstice Kicks Off a Month of Birthdays

Phyllis Lifestyle 37 Comments

My sister’s birthday is June 22. While to most this day is just the day after the 21st (and summer solstice) and before the 23rd, in our family it is THE DAY the world stops and the attention of the world should be on her. The funny part is, she will relish the thought that I am writing this as she keeps asking, “Do you know this is my birthday month?” Month is right, the whole month of June is hers or at least in her mind it is.

When we were growing up, she always felt slighted. Her birthday fell right during the opening of fishing season. We referred to her day as the day the “willow flies hatched” on Guntersville Lake. We made an annual trek to our grandparents’ house so that Dad and my uncles could fish during that critical week. So her first party was with cousins during that willow fly week. Oops, that meant her birthday had to be extended beyond that week to insure the baby-of-the-family got her full celebration. And extended is an understatement. When back home, we had the requisite party with friends. To make matters worse, school was out so she didn’t have the full classroom celebration, meaning we had to invite everyone she knew to her party.


The white cake has always been our family’s favorite. For one of her birthdays mom made the cake, iced it in white buttercream icing, and put half-maraschino cherries all over it. Janice sneaked into the kitchen and ate all the cherries off the top. Did she think we wouldn’t notice? The cake looked like the surface of the moon. Mom told her that the day she got married, she was going to run her finger through her wedding cake icing. She didn’t, but boy we were all hoping she would have done that. Someone always smears icing on her nose every year—that is a tradition too! Our June month is always fun.

The year her second child was born, she was really sweating it out. Could he possibly come on her day and steal the attention? That would never do—no, not at all. He came early in June, thank goodness. He was her first birthday present that year. She will be 58 this June. That means we have had at least 55 years of month-long celebrations because you can’t stop the train once it leaves the station. And we assumed she couldn’t remember the first three years. She says that she is spoiled and it is our fault. Perhaps that is true.

Then to complicate her life more, I married Neal who has a June 29 birthday. OMgosh what was I thinking? This year he will be working on her birthday and has already told her this so that she will not be expecting him at the family dinner. She simply said for him to leave a large package at her door. And she reminds him of this total breakdown in priorities regularly. So, happy birthday and love to Janice, the grown baby of the family. May you have many more June celebrations. Did I tell you she is the test kitchen director here at Hoffman Media? I can’t imagine how many cakes she will have, can you?

To some, birthdays are just another day. But if you were raised like we were, please comment below and tell me about your special family birthdays. I know there are other special birthday memories you can share with us!

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Comments 37

  1. My mother has always been the most wonderful cook! All my friends wanted to come home from school with me because of the sumptuous smells and food that emanated from our kitchen. There were always fresh, warm cookies, cake, banana pudding, etc., for us when we walked through the door after school.

    For birthdays, she always let us choose what kind of cake we wanted because her cakes were divine! I remember one year picking out a cherry cake and I wanted cherry icing with it. Phew, was that ever sweet! But she let us choose. Thereafter, I think I always just chose her standby cake: yellow icing and a wonderful chocolate icing! The best!

    She is 92 now and doesn’t cook very often, but we are trying to get all of her recipes. However, she was an instinctive cook, not a recipe cook, so it’s very difficult. She had GREAT instincts, that’s for sure!


  2. I have vivid memories of when you were born! We made a hugh mud puddle in Aunt Nez’s flower bed! We were all covered in mud! I’m sure celebrating your arrival with a tea party!
    Happy Birhday!

  3. My birthday is on June 29th. When I was little we celebrated with a few neighborhood kids. It was always hot and humid here in Rhode Island. I remember my face being beet red and my long hair wild and messy, while wearing a pretty dress. My mother would always tell me that a young lady would not run around like I did and to please sit down. I never listened to her, of course I was going to run around and have fun. My favorite cake that my mother would make was chocolate with white frosting and decorated with cherries from our cherry tree. How I loved that cherry tree! I remember that the birds also loved it and my dad had to make a wired house around it to protect it from getting eaten by them. The birds would go nuts trying to get to the cherries. It was quite comical to see them dive bomb. My grandmother would send big packages from Argentina. They wouldn’t always get here on time, but nevertheless it was always exciting to see the mailman walking up to the front door with a big package. As I got older, school was already out, everyone went on vacations and it was just the four of us, (we came to America in 1962, so our families are scattered about). Until my sister was born on June 5th! I was so very happy that I had a sister who was born in June. (I already had two brothers). She is sixteen years younger than me. Talk about spoiled. I was sixteen, almost seventeen. I enjoyed babysitting her, buying her toys and dresses and taking her everywhere. My sister is my best friend despite the age difference. She lives in Oregon now. We talk, text, Skype, you name it we are always there for each other. June has always been a special month for me, not only because my sister and I celebrate our birthdays, but school is out, summer begins, and it’s time relax.

    1. Such a sweet story !
      How well I remember the taste of those cherries during the month of June . The summer birds loved tasting them as well ! My Grandmother had us climbing ladders – we were equipped with buckets and baskets for gathering and picking those red jewels ! There were enough cherries for the neighborhood ( even the birds!)
      She would make cobblers,pies and jelly from the fruits of her trees .
      My Mom was blessed to have a June birthday and always had a sweet , cherry treat !

  4. I too am a June-bug baby, however I have to share my special month with my big sister and one of my four brothers. Needless to say we were having a lot of cake in the month of June and your day was simply your “day”; next. Happy Birthday, Janice, oh and Neal!

  5. There were three of us sisters. The middle one was born July 2nd..out of school for summer and daddy was always on vacation the week of July 4th so she got to celebrate her birthday with a trip to the beach some years and never let us forget it. Mine was the week before Thanksgiving so no big celebration…Love her anyway.

  6. I had fabulous birthday party’s (as a only child) my parents went all out. My mother always told me how I was born, which was sooo special. I have kept the tradition alive and tell my children on there birthday how they were born, Even as adults now they love to hear of me giving birth + what happened on their special day. Happy Birthday to everyone!

  7. November and July are our big birthday months. Our son’s birthday sometimes falls on Thanksgiving, as his birthday is on the 22nd of November. We always make a big fuss, so his birthday is not forgotten in the holiday celebration. His birthday request for dessert is always the same, pumpkin cheesecake. I wonder why?!
    PS I love your blog, it always makes me smile. I grew up in the South and it brings back so many memories of simpler times.

  8. My mother always made the cake of our choice. When I was younger she would make a doll cake with the doll in the middle and the cake was her dress. I have followed her example and made those for my granddaughters. Lemmingtons were my favorite when I got older. Lemmington’s are yellow cake cut into rectangles, rolled in chocolate and then in a fine coconut. It is a New Zealand dessert. I always think of those on my birthday and wish she was still here to make them for me. I don’t know where to find the dissacated coconut that she used. Never thought to ask her, consequently I have never tried to make them.

  9. my brother was born a year and a day before me and we always shared ours. I don’t remember it being a big deal. But now, as life gets a wee bit quieter, I am more than happy to spread my holiday to the week. That said, being a middle fourth of six, if someone is willing to accept claims to a whole birthday month, then more power to your dear sister! Happy birthday, little sis! p.s. the majority of my family is born in June. add in the wedding anniversaries, and it’s quite the celebratory month.

  10. Our family had quite a few birthdays close together. My father’s sister’s birthday was December 19, his brother’s birthday was December 18. My youngest grandson was born on December 20. The older people always complained that it so close to Christmas , especially during the hard years of the Depression. My grandson was supposed to be born on Christmas, but his mother planned for his birth earlier.

    The next birthday was mine, almost made it for New Years! January 2. Talk about spoiled, I was it! So many people in my family had no children, and many had recently lost their parents. I was the firs child in the family in almost 20 years. Shirley Temple curls and all, I was smothered with loving great aunts, uncles, aunt, parents, neighbors and family friends.
    My father’s birthday was the next week, January 8.
    My mother’s birthday was close to Valentine’s Day, February 11.
    My grandfather and his sister had close birthdays, with March 18 and March 29.
    Then came my younger sister, August 1, in the heat of summer in Texas.
    I could always remember her birthday by Pearl Harbor!
    I don’t recall celebrating other family members/ birthdays. The ladies always seemed to be preparing diners, or 41 parties, luncheons, etc. for other people. And celebrating their own birthdays privately.
    My grandmother always had a special birthday dinner for my ant and uncle, in December. Usually on a Sunday after church. Of course, we always had a big family Sunday dinner at one of the family homes.
    My mother always cooked a special dinner for me, and my father at the same time, and the whole family came. My dad ordered fried oysters and oyster stew. I ordered red roast and red gravy, mashed potatoes, yeast rolls. She added a few things, too. Sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, English Peas, stuffed celery and deviled eggs, and Ambrosia. A Chocolate cake for my dad.
    For my mother’s birthday, Daddy would bring her a box of Hershey bars, hard to get during the War! She hid them in the back of the linen closet. under the sheets. Sometimes, we would sneak a Hersey bar out and take it to the park to eat,. To make it last, we would eat just one square a day. Sometimes, she would give us a bar, but that little box had to last a long time!
    My great aunt would fix a big family dinner and invite her brother, and they shared their March birthdays. Someone would give her a rose bush for a present. She cooked fried oysters and oyster stew for him, our traditional red roast and red gravy dinner for the res of us. And my grandfather would get a pair of pajamas for his present. They always went into a drawer to save if he ever had to go to the hospital. I thought it wasn’t much of a present since he sold pajamas at his dry goods store! The whole family saved their gifts in case they needed tem in the future , like the pajamas for the hospital!
    I always had a birthday party and my mother made whatever cake I requested. One year, she made a fresh banana layer cake- a white cake with bananas in it. sliced bananas on the icing between layers and on top. Sooo good! And I also asked for a blue cake! Another cake with blue food coloring that turned out to be sort of a blue green cake.
    My mother would have a party for me. When we were at the age where we were learning to dance, we invited boys to my party. I set up my 34 record player on the piano and we were ready to dance. We ate, blew out the candles on my cake, and got ready to dance. The boys all ran! They were hiding in closets and under the beds. And we wee yelling and trying to pull them out! My dad got tired of it and told them to all go home.
    To this day, when we have or school reunions, all the girls are still sitting there, with no one asking us to dance!
    I had a friend and classmate who lived out in the country. So, sometimes, my mother would have a party for her at our house in town. It was about Halloween time, so we could have a Halloween party. I guess her mother helped, but I just remember that she was there. We didn’t ever do Halloween costumes , but bobbing for apples and Trick or Treating were big things. One year, another girl, that afternoon, convinced me that we should do something special for the party. She got paper cleaners bags and coat hangers, and some luminous paint.
    We indicated skeletons on those bags with the paint, then went to the cemetery and she hung them in a couple of trees.
    At the party, we ate and everyone was anxious to go Trick or Treating, and begged for someone to escort us through the cemetery, near my house. The honorees mother said she would go with us through the cemetery and off we went. Went to a few houses for treats, then through the cemetery on a moonlit night.
    ,The prankster held on to me and held me back to see what happened when people saw those bags in the trees. They didn’t look anything like a skeleton.
    People were scared as they walked through the tombstones. all of a sudden, there was a little breeze and we could hear that paper rattling in the trees. People started screaming and running, and so did our escort. We knew what it was, but we ran, too.
    That poor woman stepped in a hole and broke her ankle!
    Since we wee at the back of the group, we stopped to help the lady. I went to my house and got my dad.
    All the party goers went home and the lady rested at our house. Daddy went back to see what was in the cemetery and found the bags. He wondered how they got there , but, after all, there were lots of pranks going on. The ones he told us about when he was a boy, and some when I was growing up, were really bad.
    Daddy drove the woman home and no one ever knew what scared everyone.
    Now, I feel like my birthday is a special day, but I don’t really do anything different. My daughter usually makes red roast and red gravy for me, and I eat my dinner , alone, in front of the tv. She usually brings me a present.
    The saddest birthdays have been when my grandsons were to have a party and none of the invited kids showed up. After a few of those, we just decided to make their favorite food and let the brothers go to a movie.
    Now I’m trying to think of what I can give my sister for her birthday in August! She usually just puts things away, or even gives them back! If she wants something, she gets it for herself! One year, I had painted a t-shirt with a picture of our great grandfather’s Victorian home on it. She liked that one. She seemed surprised that I had painted that. By then, I had lost my good vision and can’t do that anymore.
    She said that it is too nice to wear and should be hanging in a museum!
    I have another t shirt that I was going to paint, with our grandparents’ home on it. But I can’t see well enough how to paint details. So I am back to wondering what I can give her for her birthday. She told me a while back that she has all the pictures and decorations she wants in her house. She is so hard to buy for!
    Happy Birth month to your sister!

  11. June is birthday month at our house today! My daughter starts on the 6 th, followed by her brother who wS kind enough to wait just one day later on the 7 th. Then mine is on the 14 th, which is always closely followed by Father’s Day. To make the celebrations extended, our anniversary follows on the second of July, followed by oldest son Jul 15 th! My lucky husband gets the month of September all to himself for his birthday.

  12. My family has a lot of birthdays in December and with Christmas in that month, I started having one big birthday party for everyone’s Birthday in December and followed with other months when there was more than one Birthday. Everyone seemed to enjoy that they would tease each other about their ages. I have not had a birthday month in awhile some people have dropped out, moved, passed.

  13. Thank you to my older sister for honoring me on my birthday! Life is always fun & interesting in our family!!! And yes, I will always be the baby!!!

  14. My sister’s birthday is also June 22. This will be my first with out her, she pass Jan. 2014. We always spent the day together. I called her my big little sister she is older even as kids I pretty much took care of her. I was her “goofer”. Needless to say she did many nice thing for me also. I do miss her!!

  15. Tell Janice that I also claim the month of June as my birthday. I was born June 12, 1932, so have had lots of months dedicated to me. My two sister-in-laws have June birthdays but of course mine is THE BIRTHDAY. It will have to be extended this year, as I broke my leg soon after the 12th. I am getting extra attention though! The birthday I really remember was when I turned five. We lived in Ensley at 2331 18th Street, Shadyside. This was in Birmingham and I had a lifetime of birthday months to look forward to. Life is good.

  16. Every year my mother would let the three of us, my brother, sister and me, pick out what we wanted for our birthday dinner. All three of would always choose her macaroni and cheese. From there, we were different. My brother did not like cake so he always had pie. We looked forward to the birthday dinner around the dinning room table every year. It was our day and our dinner and extra special family time.

  17. When I was a child, Mama always made our birthday cakes and we got to choose what kind of cake we wanted. When I became a mother, my husband and I have always tried to make birthdays special in our family. When our two children were small, we started the tradition of letting them pick what restaurant they wanted to go to for their birthday. After they were married and our family started to grow, we changed the birthday tradition somewhat. We have a family gathering, usually at my house, with a home cooked meal and dessert selected by the birthday man, woman or child. Occasionally, when schedules are crazy for everyone, we may still go out to a favorite restaurant to celebrate. My Mama had it the worst, I think. Her wedding anniversary was December 24 and her birthday was on December 29 with Christmas in between. The most important thing is to make that person feel special on their birthday. 🙂

  18. How nice to celebrate a whole month! In my home, between July 7th and Aug 3rd, we celebrate 5 birthdays and an anniversay. That is many cakes and home birthday dinners. My birthday ends that celebration spree (and is the day after one daugter’s birthday), so for a few years my mother and I would go on a day trip on my day – usually antiquing some where. Happy Birthday to Janice and Neal! I love love your magazines!

  19. Hi Phyllis,
    After 50 I started calling my birthday my Gift Receiving Day. Sounds so much better than birthday. LOL My family and friends mark out birthday on my cards and write gift receiving day on them 🙂
    Happy Gift Receiving Day Janice and Neil.
    Elizabeth Q

  20. I am a twin and my mother always made our birthdays special by baking a separate cake of our favorite kind for each of us and decorating it, putting our names on it, and let us choose what our birthday dinner would be. Our father didn’t believe in parties so we didn’t actually have one but the neighborhood kids would stop by and bring a little present anyway so we felt very special on “our day”.

  21. Happy Birthday , Janice !
    I am one who does believe that a birthday IS special and celebrations may begin early in the birthday month .
    Take time for yourself . Forget work and commitments . Hoping your day is perfect and you receive lots of cards, gifts and a delicious , buttercream iced layer cake !
    Oh … you should begin planning your 60th !

  22. Happy Birthdays to Janice and Neal!!
    Some of us are so special that even a month-long celebration isn’t enough!!

  23. Today is my grandniece Hailey Noelle’s six months. She was born on the Winter Solstice! My sister in law and niece are great bakers and always create unique and delicious treats for everyone. Enjoy June. When is your birthday?

  24. I was the youngest (and spoiled, so I’ve been told often by siblings) of five children. My mother always did a cake/pie/favorite dessert for each of us, even as adults. So we had a variety. But tell your sister that there is a worse fate than being born on the first day of fishing season; my mother’s birthday was on Christmas, and I would guess that until her 8th and 9th decades, it was barely observed in the rush of the holidays. 🙂

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