They say you truly haven’t lived your life if you haven’t amassed a slew of memories that make you smile or even shed tears. As I approach my next birthday, I figured what better way to commemorate the year than to share 44 memories I will never forget. So let’s get started…
1. Four years old: My parents entered me in my very first beauty pageant – the Miss Wild Acres competition where I sang my ABC’s and the theme from Green Acres. While I nailed the talent competition and dazzled in my leopard bikini and Mary Janes, I blew the interview portion. When they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wailed “Daddy.” While I didn’t win, I did come in third place behind Rita Humphries, and a girl named Chrissy.
2. Five years old: My mom went back to work full time and they decided to send me to Yeshiva since they had a full day kindergarten program. Half my day was spent in one location and then a bus took us to a second location. At the end of the day, we were supposed to be brought back by bus to the first location. (I know confusing). Anyway, for some reason, my teacher thought I was on a different bus and unintentionally made me miss my bus and when the kids got off the bus, I wasn’t there and my parents freaked. They proceeded to drive to the school and pick me up (I was hysterical crying) and then always picked me up from school so I didn’t have to take the bus again. To say I became paranoid of being left behind is an understatement.
3. Six years old: While vacationing with my family in the Poconos, I got caught shoplifting with my brother in Jamesway (we stole fishing equipment and candy). The last line I remember the security guard telling my dad: “And the little girl has a grape whistle pop down her pants.” Incidentally, the year before, we got caught smoking cigarettes. Thankfully, I shed my delinquent past before I hit my teens.
4. Seven years old: Don’t remember much except that Dorothy Hammill haircut my mom got for me for the next three years.
5. 9 years old: Voice lessons with Gina Joyce and my first singing recital where I performed “How Lucky Can You Get” by Barbra Streisand.
6. 10 years old: Being called Stubby Beth by several boys in my fourth grade class and being tormented by some really mean girls who shall remain nameless.
7. 10 and a half: Going to Israel with my family and meeting my cousins from Haifa. Then getting the chance to sing “Sadie Sadie” at a Roman amphitheater in Caesarea.
8. 11 years old: Playing the lead character in my very first school play written by 6th grade teacher, Ms. DiBuono. The show was called “It Ain’t Necessarily So” and I played “Student #10.”
9. 12 years old: Joining Weight Watchers with my parents. I lost nearly 20 pounds and nobody called me Stubby Beth again (at least not to my face).
10. 13 years old: After catching a cold because we accidentally left the door open near his cage, my bird Tweety dies on my 13th birthday.
11. 14 years old: Flew first class on a double decker Pan Am jet with my parents to Italy (we were upgraded and it was the best experience ever — Italy wasn’t so bad either).
12. 14 years old: Saw “Footloose” with my friends and found out that night that a boy I liked, liked me. We dated for about five seconds before he broke up with me and wouldn’t take my phone calls. I think he is bald now.
13. 15 years old: Won best female performer in SING (an original musical produced by each grade). Met my first serious boyfriend.
14. 15 years old: Played doubles in the PSAL finals at the National Tennis Center and came in 2nd in New York City.
15. 16 years old: Started college at UMASS, joined a sorority and was in my first musical at college where I played Jan in “Grease.”
16. 20 years old: Graduated college Phi Beta Kappa, started grad school at NYU and parted ways with that serious boyfriend from high school.
17. 21 years old: NYU Grad School graduation at Carnegie Hall. Had celebratory lunch with my parents at the Russian Tea Room. Wore a really cute shirt dress from Ann Taylor.
18. 22 years old: Got my first real job in PR and moved to Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The first week I was living in the city, I had a blind date with a really cute boy. Eventually, I would marry him.
19. 23 years old: Learned how to roller blade in Central Park in oncoming traffic (not a swift move but thankfully, I survived). Proceeded to rollerblade every weekend in the park where I’d sit in Sheep’s Meadow and listen to a guy we called Guitar Man play James Taylor tunes.
20. 25 years old: Left Manhattan and moved to Forest Hills with my boyfriend. We got engaged three months later — he pretended to have us pulled over by his friend who was a cop and he had two dozen roses and a ring waiting for me in the trunk.
21. 26 years old: Our wedding day — we were married at Temple Israel in Lawrence and I felt like Maria from “The Sound of Music.” Except for the fact that I’m Jewish and she was married in a church during World War II.
22. 26 years old: Our magical honeymoon in Italy. Filled with stressful and romantic moments — like the time I nearly left my father-in-laws pricey video camera on the water taxi or the incident where I told my husband we needed to get off the train when in actuality, we still had one more stop to go. But the romance of Venice and Positano made up for our near annulment and I still dream of the day we’ll return to that gorgeous suite at Le Sireneuse.
23. 28 years old: We moved into our first house in New Rochelle and met our very first friends, Holli and David while commuting to Manhattan.
24. 29 years old: I became pregnant with our first child — a baby girl we named Becca Drew who we named after both my grandmas (they were both named Dora.)
25. 30 years old: We spent our anniversary in Block Island but cut the trip short because it rained every day, we missed our one year old daughter and our hot water heater burst and flooded the basement.
26. 31 years old: We lost our dear friend David on 9/11. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, I was pregnant at the time with our son.
27. 32 years old: After my friend Holli drove me to my OB/GYN and I experienced labor pains at the diner, I gave birth a few hours later to our son Dylan, who we named after Holli’s husband David and our grandparents.
28. 33 years old: Dylan battles a cough and high fever and winds up in the hospital with bacterial pneumonia. Scariest experience as a parent but thankfully, he was okay.
29. 35 years old: I spearheaded the New York finale campaign for “Everybody Loves Raymond” which culminated in the cast ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Most amazing day of my career.
30. 36 years old: I published my first book, Peeing in Peace: Tales & Tips for Type A Moms with my friend and TV producer Yvette Corporon and we launched “Role Mommy” together, producing inspiring events for working mothers. Meanwhile, Yvette is about to release her very first novel while I’ve continued building Role Mommy into a blog network, events company and online destination for parents who have time to read (oh, that’s why my traffic is so low…just kidding…sort of).
31. 36 years old: My dad has a heart attack and we race to Florida to see him. Thankfully, he is okay (and is better than ever now) but our poor cat, Oliver dies when we return home (he was battling cancer).
32. 37 years old: I quit my job as a vice president at CBS and decide to become an entrepreneur launching a PR business and Role Mommy at the same time. Thankfully, I’d still get to work with CBS even after I leave.
33. 40 years old: Joint birthday party at Mickey Spillane’s with my husband with our closest friends and family.
34. 41 years old: I surprise my mom and whisk her off to Spain for her 70th birthday.
35. 42 years old: Planning and celebrating my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. They say it takes nine months to have a baby – it also takes nine months to plan a Bat Mitzvah.
36. 42 years old: Our beloved cat Rudy dies one week before Becca’s Bat Mitzvah. Becca and I sit with him on our bed and hold him as he passes away in our arms.
37. 43 years old: My daughter and son graduate from elementary and middle school and then leave two days later for sleep-away camp.
TOO MANY MEMORIES TO COUNT…
38. Family vacations: Treasure Beach, Jamaica, Caribbean cruises, Florida, Bar Harbor Maine, Block Island, the Cape, Nantucket, Delaware, Ogunquit, California and many more.
39. Holiday dinners: Passover, Rosh Hashana, Thanksgiving, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day and more with our family and close friends who are like family to us in more ways than one.
40. New Years Eve: Every year at our house — it’s become a tradition we will never give up — unless we splurge one of these days on a Christmas vacation.
41. Being a couch potato: I love curling up each night with my kids and my husband while we watch “The Voice,” the “X Factor,” “Modern Family” and movies on demand.
42. Spending weekends in the Hamptons: Love that my parents have a home in Southampton and that we get to spend a few summer weekends out there with them before they leave for Boynton Beach.
43. Dinners with great friends: I love getting the chance to laugh with friends over wine and great food at some of our favorite restaurants in Westchester including Alvin and Friends, Harvest on the Hudson, Morgan’s Fish House and more.
44. Still dating that cute guy even though we’re married 17 years: And last but not least, I love the fact that I still date my husband. This year, we went to Mystic, CT, the Jersey Shore and stumbled upon a few wineries too. The more that we date, the more I realize how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to spend more than half my life with him…and the good news is we get to make many more memories together.
So check back with me when I’m 88 — then again, I’ll probably be senile by then and will have forgotten half the things I’ve written down. It’s a good thing I have a blog.