Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Brother's Good Wishes

This photograph was taken in Aruba from the top of what we call "Hospital Hill". Back in the day, when Lago Colony was in full swing, this was the site of the hospital. Hundreds of new lives came into the world in this hospital, our mothers drenched in daytime sun streaming through the windows, the sound of the tropical trade winds beating against the shutters as they "labored" waiting to be wheeled into the delivery room. The hospital is no more. Much of Lago Colony is no more; just a few houses remain, remnants of a time past.

I was last at this spot in 1994 with my children and husband and close family friends to celebrate my 40th Birthday. We stood at this very spot and busted open cold beer and toasted life. Fifteen years later, I suspect this view looks exactly the same. Comforting.

What made my day today was receiving this email from my brother, 9 years my senior who was a rambunctious kid in Aruba, enjoying the last bits of summer vacation, on the day I was born. His memory for detail has always amazed me and although he's recited this story many times, he's never written it down and in doing so, it's all the more precious to me. I'm compelled to share it here. It brought tears to my eyes; certainly the most wonderful Happy Birthday greeting I could hope to receive today. Thanks, JT.

"Sister Dear,

It was a sunny Saturday. Breakfast as usual on the “Tank Farm Road” (the northern most street in the “400 row”) across the street from Slim’s Garage was prepared as usual by Mom. Dad was already off at work as he did the 7 am to noon shift like all staff at Lago did in those days rounding out the 45 hour work week. I believe Lago had an acronym for its foreign staff management team labeling them “CR” or as defined: continuous responsibility. Soft fried eggs and toast and I usually had coffee with lots of cream and sugar as had been served to me at a very young age by Gramma T. MM would only eat hard boiled eggs and very seldom at that!

Then it was off to a morning of what we kids always did in Aruba—running about bare footed taking care not to get burned on the blacktop streets with the other kids and often going to the beach (by ourselves at age 9 and with no life guard!). Often our trail was on the white stripe down the middle of the street as it was cooler than the rest of the surface.

I don’t know what possessed Mom that morning, but she made doughnuts (Mattie Burbage’s oft used recipe) after I had left for the morning of activity. I got home in time for lunch which was always moments after noon and found the doughnuts and Mom was gone. Nora told me that you were on the way and the rest is history. My baby sister arrived that afternoon in a delivery room showered with sun (Mom indicated that all of the ladies in such circumstances wore sunglasses!). Wow, and that was it!

Enjoy yourself and do something special for yourself!



Could there be anything nicer today? I doubt it.


  1. That trip in 1994 was wonderful! The boys still talk about it...a great celebration on your birthday looking out at that beautiful blue blue sea and the wonderful red rocks with water crashing all around Wasn't it Amstel? and later that wonderful layered cake with creme isicng in your motel room!

  2. Mrs. Burbage's Donuts (circa 1952)

    Makes about 4 1/2 dozen

    1/2 cup of sugar
    1 tbl salt (?)
    2/3 cup crisco melted
    1 cup evaporated milk
    1 cup water
    1 yeastcake disolved in 1/4 cup water
    2 eggs well beaten
    6 cups flour

    Mix all together very well & chill overnight in refridgerator.

    Roll our about 3/4" thick & cut with donut cutter. let rise & fry in hot veg oil

    I have never made these but wrote the recipe down years ago. Enjoy!

  3. I can't think of a nicer greeting. Happy Birthday!


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