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Dave Spencer’s Most and Least Memorable Birthday: Same Birthday


38 years ago, I was not eating cake or opening presents or doing any of the things a 10-year-old boy would normally do on his birthday.

No, I was laying on the couch in the living room wearing sunglasses while watching TV with the lights turned off. And I probably shouldn’t have been doing THAT.

When I was in fourth grade, measles were running rampant through my class. By the time it had run its course through all us kids, 16 of us had been off school for at least a week with it. That was more than half.

It started the day after Christmas, 1975. We were at the home of some family friends seeing all the gifts everyone had received and I noticed some bumps inside my mouth. And I was feeling kinda funny. So the next day, Mom took me to see our pediatrician. After examining me, he ushered me out the back door of the office so I wouldn’t go through the lobby.

Freaked me out.

Measles cases had been coming through his door at an alarming rate, and I had just become another statistic.

Well, these measles…they took me down. I can’t imagine having something like that as an adult. Kids are so resilient and yet there I was for the better part of two weeks unable to keep any solid foods down of any kind. I was reduced to Kool-Aid and chicken broth. And that was it.

What I didn’t know at the time is that my parents thought I was going to die. They really did. Apparently, my fever was just ridiculous. Something like 104 at one point. Naturally, they weren’t going to express those fears to me at the time. I didn’t find all this out until much later.

But I do remember that it was nasty. I can’t remember when I’ve felt worse. And it didn’t get much better when I was saddled with all that make-up homework either.

So that’s why I consider my tenth birthday my least and most memorable birthday. For obvious reasons. And I don’t feel so good right now either. Only the second time I’ve been under the weather on my birthday.

Thankfully, it’s nothing like 1976.


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