B is for Birthdays

My mom’s birthday was in August—blueberry season. Her family spent the summers on the upstate farm, growing the food they would preserve and transport back to Brooklyn. Instead of a birthday cake with frosting and layers, her mother bake a blueberry pie (side note, my grandmother’s blueberry pies were heaven). Mom reported she did not mind not getting a cake, but her brother, Steve, whose birthday was a few weeks later, wanted a cake with frosting and layers, like the ones his older brother got in March. 

For me, growing up in a big extended family meant birthdays were celebrated in bulk. Cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandmas came over for Sunday dinner and sang Happy Birthday to several people, several times. The favorite birthday cake? Carvel ice cream cake.

My theme for the 2022 A2Z Challenge is titled Grand Prompts To Ask Your Grands. Each day in April I will present a conversation starter/journal prompt to ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, older neighbors, co-workers, yourself…you get the idea. The questions are meant to forge connections between and within generations and inspire storytelling and journaling. 

Pray for peace. 

Enjoy ❤️.   Like 👍.  Share 😊. 

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If you had purchased a paperback or ebook The Heart of Bakers and Artists, The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers and/or Becoming America’s Food StoriesThank you!

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The Heart of Bakers and Artists

The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers

Becoming America’s Food Stories

Hope you are hungry. Becoming America’s Food Stories recalls the tales that have been told around my family’s dinner table. The histories explain the motivations over bowls of macaroni, antics play out while slurping soup, and laughter echoes throughout the dining room. Pull up a seat. There’s always room.
The Heart of Bakers and Artists is set in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, 1911. The story follows nine-year-old Lily, an American-born child of Sicilian immigrants, who wants to prove she is not a little kid. To be a big kid in the crowded tenement neighborhoods, she must tackle bigotry, bullies, disasters, dotty bakers, and learn to cross the street by herself
The Dreams of Singers and Sluggers picks up where The Heart of Bakers and Artists left off.Lily has big dreams to sing out with her powerful voice, but must do EVERYTHING, since Mama fell into a deep depression, the baby is sick, and the “Black Hand” terrorizes the neighborhood, threatening her chance to sing at the New York Highlanders Fourth of July baseball game.
Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

10 thoughts

  1. Birthday cakes memories, love it. For me, if I am thinking birthday cake and childhood I think of cake at my Grandmother’s it isn’t the flavour though. She used to make the grandchildren a money cake? Have you had one of these? She could wrap coins in parchment paper and stick them under the cake. The mystery of how it got under the piece of cake on your plate was part of the fun and unwrapping it to find a quarter was even more fun.

    Great post Antoinette.

    My letter B is for books:


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  2. My mother always made a big deal out of the birthdays of me and my siblings. She would usually have some kind of party for us and we’d have traditional cake and ice cream. We never lived close to any relatives, but the parties would be attended by a handful of friends. The birthday for me that maybe stands out most is when I was in middle school and told my mother I wanted a surprise party. The biggest surprise was that hardly anyone showed up. Well, I didn’t have all that many friends either so I guess it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out Battle of the Bands

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  3. I don’t actually remember any specific traditions around birthdays growing up but once I had my girls it became all about making the perfect themed birthday cake for them so I would have had a hard time with the pie option. Although how wonderful that that birthday tradition is tied to spending summers together on the farm. I bet those were wonderful memories for your Mom.

    Glad to see you’re doing the A to Z again this year! While I wasn’t able to participate, I’m excited to check in with all the fun posts happening around the challenge.

    a href=”http://www.weekendsinmaine.com”>Weekends In Maine

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