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August 12, 2020

6/10/2020 1:05:00 PM
Creative ways to make that special day a little extra during quarantine
Naomi Snyder proudly displays the mail she received for her birthday that was delivered to her purple toy mailbox.
+ click to enlarge
Naomi Snyder proudly displays the mail she received for her birthday that was delivered to her purple toy mailbox.
Korynn Lammers shows off her book on how to track fairies while waltzing through the forest.
+ click to enlarge
Korynn Lammers shows off her book on how to track fairies while waltzing through the forest.
Briana Barger
Graphic Designer

Being a May baby and the selfish person I am, the birthday cancellations during this quarantine was the biggest disappointment for me. Who doesn't love having a day dedicated to yourself? It's your special day! Unless you share a birthday with somebody else - and if that's the case, you can solve that issue by avoiding that other person and pretending they don't exist on your special day. Good luck to twins on that quest.

In order to keep this day special for people, birthdays have gotten significantly more creative than just hosting a party like we would have done back in the good old days.

As I wrote in my previous article covering Ronnie Clark, some special birthday boys and girls had community parades and drive-by's held in their honor. Rita Farran and Ruby Truesdel are other lucky birthday celebrators who received their own parades. In these cases, family and friends drove by their homes as they sat on the lawn to honk, flash signs, toss gifts and to give birthday wishes.

"All her family except those from Boise, Idaho participated," said Patti Everroad, Farran's daughter, "along with neighbors and friends and EMS."

Another creative way that people have chosen to celebrate birthdays was by filming and editing short happy birthday videos to send to their quarantined loved one.

"My birthday was adorable," said Maggie Bailey. "They surprised me with a zoom call of them singing happy birthday, and it was extremely awkward and off tune, but I love them and loved the effort."

But, according to Bailey, that was just a cover. After singing their poor rendition of Happy Birthday, they sent her a link to a short film on Youtube they had made which was a reality TV cooking competition parody, where they competed for Bailey's friendship.

"We had been watching a lot of trash reality shows through zoom together," she said, "so it was absolutely on point and beautiful."

Part of the video involved one of her friends creating a 'martini' out of ketchup and mustard, then drinking too much of it.

"The fact that they all put so much effort into the video for me made realize what caring friends I have in a way that maybe I wouldn't have noticed if not for Covid," said Bailey.

The Plain Dealer & Sun's own Alex Talkington also received a special birthday video.

"Our friend gave me the great idea to surprise him with a personalized music video," said Daphne Talkington. "Anyone who knows my husband knows that he is a huge KISS fan, so I sent messages to all of his friends and family and had them send me fun videos of them singing and dancing to 'Rock N Roll All Nite."

Some donned Kiss outfits, face make up and instruments for their parts then partied hard, all night and quite possibly every day since.
There is, however, one group of people who might have taken the lack of birthday celebrations harder than I did: children.

It's a bit more difficult for them to understand just why they couldn't have a birthday party and why they couldn't have all of their friends come to celebrate with them. But some parents rose up to the challenge to show their kiddos just how special and loved they are.

This was definitely a concern for local mother Kim Napier.

"Our sweet daughter, Abigail, celebrated her 4th birthday during the quarantine," said Napier.  "Her dad and I were almost dreading the day, because we wanted to have the perfect birthday party for our little girl."

They held as big of a birthday for Abigail as possible, decorating the house in Frozen 2 merchandise, gifting her a trampoline, and then celebrating with family by having a group video call through Facebook Messenger so that they could all watch as she busted open her piñata.

Lori Lammers also went above and beyond to make sure her little girl's birthday was as special as it could be, with a 'fairy themed' birthday adventure.

"Donuts in bed, fairy tracking in the beautiful fairy forest (aka Yellowwood state forest), Am-paws laser light helped us 'see' a fairy," said Lammers.

They also had a piñata, zip line, freeze tag and fireworks.

"Korynn's phrase of the day, 'best day ever!" said Lammers.

Another creative way spent making a little girl's birthday fun was by taking advantage of a small, purple mailbox.

"Naomi turned 5 on the 17th, and I asked people to send her a message since she loves getting mail," said Megan Snyder. "She has a toy mailbox that she keeps by her bedroom door and checks daily to see if she has any mail."

Snyder was "blown away" by the kindness and generosity shown for her daughter's birthday surprise.

"Over the course of a week, she received no less than 49 separate cards, pictures, packages, and messages in the mail," she said, "including mail from Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas, Arizona, Oregon, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Germany, and the Czech Republic!"

These stories were all heart-warming and great, but I know what you're really thinking, Dear Reader.

"Briana, how did you celebrate YOUR birthday at the end of May?"

Oh, I'm glad you asked!

I had a very small gathering of close friends take me out to a cabin in the middle of the woods with no electricity and no plumbing. Instead of murdering me though, we played Yard Jenga and had a socially-distanced hang out session around a campfire. Life is good.

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