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back when

By Kimberly Wise

Memories of

Cakes&Candles eed 1980 Tiffanie R

r

RECENTLY, I WAS RUSHING around my house trying to get the children ready to go to the latest party with the latest gift when I stopped and asked myself: is anyone having fun? Does anyone really enjoy the 40-person event that birthdays have become? Does the birthday kid even enjoy this or remember this a week from now? My bet is, by the time the gift is lost or broken, the child has already moved on to planning the next party, completely forgetting the party they just had. And these event parties are not what you would call cheap.

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Athens-Oconee Parent

Amanda Cook 1994 John St. Clair 1975

[and a little horse play] Parents are willing to drop hundreds of dollars to make sure their child has the type of party all their friends had. It always is, at the end of the day, just another party. As a character says in the cartoon Bob’s Burgers, “I’ve eaten nine birthday cakes and I still feel empty.” These types of parties have taken the joy out of birthday parties for some of us and changed it to consumerism and waste. Do you remember the parties of your childhood? I bet one stands out.When asking for pictures for this article, I got many submissions and all of them came

with fun stories of parties long ago. One woman remembered that her mom had gone to a cake making class just so she could make the perfect Strawberry Shortcake cake for her. Another remembers playing dress up with old clothes and having a fashion show in the hallway. My own favorite childhood party story involves my mom blowing eggs out of a tiny hole in the egg and then filling the egg with confetti.The eggs were hidden and we rushed around discovering them and throwing them to produce confetti clouds. She made me a party dress out

of dinosaur material. I still have that dress in my memory box. The truth of the matter is that a box, a hat, and a roll of tape holds more wonders for a child than any big activity. And, more than that, we do a disservice to our children when we take away their ability to have free play. When we were younger, our moms sent us out to play and we would form bands of roaming children and make up games and learn social skills by trial and error. Now a child can’t play unless it is during a playdate. They can’t have a party without a theme.

Athens oconee parent magazine so17  
Athens oconee parent magazine so17