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Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Uncle Jimmy's 90th Birthday!!

This month I enjoyed a different kind of event planning; I was able to create a joyful celebration of my Uncle's 90th Birthday, incorporating friends and family I have known throughout my life, and some of the vendors I work with for weddings. My personal and professional lives came together, and it was a gift for me to see them overlap, enriching all who were involved.

Jimmy, my mother's brother, was born totally deaf, due to their mother contracting German Measles during her pregnancy with Jimmy; at the time Jimmy was born, particularly in the Boston area where his family lived, children with "handicaps" were not as included in the mainstream of life, as they are now. Jimmy had a tutor who came to the house to teach him how to read lips, and imitate speech, based on the vibrations he felt in his throat. Sign language was considered a stigma at that time...so much has changed in 90 years!

Jimmy in many ways grew up alone, but he always had a wonderful sense of humor, enjoyed the antics of the silent movie stars, and could make me laugh as a child like no one else could....I love my uncle, as does everyone who gets to know him! Fifty friends, and my family of 4, gathered last weekend at MacArthur Park in Palo Alto, to enjoy Jimmy's favorite meal, Barbecued Ribs with all the trimmings, and to show him how much we rejoice that at 90, he is still as full of warmth and humor as he ever was!

Jan Kearney, owner of Cast of Thousands, helped me find some performers to bring the silent film world of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin to Jimmy's party. I wanted to have entertainers whom Jimmy could relate with, and who would set a tone for a party based on humor, fun, and visual communication...Jimmy often feels left out at parties, because everyone is chatting and laughing together, but he can't hear any of it...deafness can be more of a social handicap than a physical one, and I have come to be very sensitive to the loneliness he can feel in a crowd. At this party, Jimmy was in his element!

Did you ever wonder what 90 candles would look like on a cake? Well, this is the answer, and it took 3 people to light the candles!

Jimmy was up to the challenge; it took him 3 tries to blow out all 90 candles, but he did it on his own! We were wondering if all the smoke would get the Fire Department involved...

I wish each of you could get to know my Uncle Jimmy! His life is a gift to many, and especially to me and my family.

I will have more photos to share soon, as my friends, Geoff and Lara White, brought their cameras, talent and enthusiasm to Jimmy's birthday party, to shoot portraits of Jimmy and my family, as well as a few candids of the beginning of the party.

I am blessed to have a loving family, and to be supported by dear friends in the wedding industry who added their special touch to this once in a lifetime celebration!

Thank you to Jan, at Cast of Thousands, for sending me such talented actors, and to Geoff and Lara White, of Geoff White Photography, for making the time to capture on film, this special moment in our family.

Fast breaking news: Here are a few photos Geoff and Lara just sent to me; it is clear from the quality of these images, that they were taken by professional photographers, and not by me........ but Uncle Jimmy is the Same, no matter who takes the photos!

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