How many people share your birthday? You might be surprised to learn how many do. Prof. Phil Meyer, my friend and colleague on the faculty of the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina, enjoyed playing a game with a lecture hall full of students. In a show of hands directed by him, they quickly learned that they shared birthdays with several other people in the room, most of whom they had never seen before.
Today, August 21, is my 83rd birthday. It is also the date on which Betsy and I were married 55 years ago. What a great birthday gift. Facebook showed me this morning that two of my friends, true friends, not just Facebook friends, are celebrating their birthdays on this same day. One is a former student I had the pleasure of teaching, now a communications director for a non-profit agency. The other is a cherished family friend of several years who lives in Virginia. We three and many others, we can be sure, also were born on this same date.
Our lives from then until now have followed very different paths. Mine began at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Baltimore in 1934, early in the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The nation was recovering from the Great Depression, which began in 1929. My parents, who were married in 1927, lost little time in starting a family. My sister Peggy was born in September 1928. Our brother Jack arrived a year later on December 7, 1929. Then came the depression. Was our mom’s post-depression pregnancy planned? Who knows?
That doesn’t matter now. I arrived, and here I still am, I’m thankful to report. My journey has taken me from Baltimore to Miami, to Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, finally to Chapel Hill. I am grateful for every part of this journey and give thanks, knowing that each new day is a new opportunity and a priceless gift.