The Big “Round” Birthday


When I taught in Neresheim, Germany, during my first

Fulbright Year, a bouquet of flowers in a vase awaited me

in the teachers’ room.  I was surprised that anyone knew when

I had a birthday.  The comment to me was that it was


not a big “round” birthday so only flowers awaited me.

It was then that I learned a new cultural tidbit:  the

“round” referred to the zero at the end of the year. 

They were considered milestones and celebrated accordingly.


Each year on April 1 when I reflect on living in Germany,

I place a long distance phone call to wish my “twin sister,”

Hilde a Happy Birthday.  We are not actual twins but close

in age.  This is her big “round” birthday, and I heard


most of her family in the background celebrating.  For

a few moments, I was back with our second family in

Schweindorf sharing in the celebration.  Fond

memories.  Time marches on.  Hard to believe. Nostalgic.


Odd how I still recall Mr. Heath’s advanced Algebra class.

We had all sorts of jokes to try to play on him since it

was April Fool’s Day.  None of them worked.  So we

simply focused on the one that should have!


He had turned the tables on us, you see.  Before our

class came into the room after lunch, Mr. Heath had

carefully removed his wall clock and turned it upside

down.  We were a persistent bunch of ninth graders.


Each of us had tried to tell him the clock was upside down.

But Mr. Heath responded each time with “I know what day

it is.”  He simply refused to look at the clock.  The entire

class!  Just before the bell sounded to end Algebra class,


Mr. Heath turned to us and said “April Fool’s Day.”  We

were floored that he had played such a great joke on

his class.  Little did he know, this joke remained with me

all these years later.  Good one, Mr. Heath!  Clever.


And to the birthday child:  Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, liebe Hilde! 

You still hold a very special place in our hearts.  You are our second

family and an integral part of lives.  An ocean apart and

in two countries yet held in love and honored.  Miss you!


This entry was posted in April Fool's Day, Fulbright year, Hilde, the birthday girl, the BIG Round birthday and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to The Big “Round” Birthday

  1. cindy knoke says:

    How lovely! I miss Germany & German food.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Today, April 1st, is one of my sister’s Big Round Birthdays… Will tell her all about it when we talk this evening. ❤ xo

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Emily says:

    The best memories!! Magical place xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Emily, yes indeed. Memories with our second family. I phoned and spoke with the birthday girl who sends her regards. Her BIG round birthday! Thank you for your comment and enjoy the weekend. oxox


  4. R says:

    Fond memories of some wonderful times and people. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. R says:

    Fond memories of wonderful people and times! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy birthday, dear friend! I hope your day has been marvelous. oxox

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Arno Bode , Cologne ,Germany says:

    Liebe Mary Ann,
    eine wunderbare Schilderung. Schöne Erinnerungen sind durch nichts zu ersetzen. Man kann ein Leben lang davon zehren. Dir liebe Mary Ann , Russell und Deiner Familie alles Liebe und Gute wünscht Dir
    Dein Arno

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s