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Happy 70th Birthday, Dad!

April 14, 2013
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Today, April 26th, 2013, would have been my dad’s 70th birthday.

Happy 70th Birthday, Dad!

Here are a some of my favorite memories of his birthdays.

When I was 6, we were planning a surprise 30th birthday party for my dad at our house. It was going to be a big party with lots of family and friends.

The day of the party, my mom, my brother Michael, my cousin John and I walked to the store to get some final things we needed for the party.

On the way home, we went to cross a side street, and my younger cousin John took my hand and started running across the street with me in tow. A couple of steps later, I was knocked to the ground by a car that had just turned the corner. I think I had a concussion because memories that followed are a bit hazy. The woman driving the car took us to the hospital. Pretty much the next thing I remember was waking up in the hospital with my mom and dad there. I asked about the party and my mom said she had to tell my dad about the surprise party that night. I felt bad that the surprise had been ruined. They asked if I wanted to stay overnight at the hospital or go home. Of course I wanted to go home to the party. They said if I went home I would have to stay in bed or on the couch all night and rest. I went home. The party went on, and was a bit of a disappointment for me because the surprise part of the party was ruined, and because all my cousins were there playing, but I was on the couch all night.

When my dad’s 60th birthday was approaching, I asked my mom if I could plan a surprise 60th birthday party for my dad. She was reluctant to endorse it, but when I told her I thought dad would love it, that I would handle most of the planning, that I wanted a chance to surprise dad to make up for the surprise failure of his 30th birthday party, and told her I wanted to honor my father with a party in his honor, she relented. The only condition was that I didn’t do the same for her. Dad loved a good party and being the center of attention. Mom enjoys parties too, but does not like being the center of attention. (If you ever wonder why we’re not throwing a big surprise party for one of my mom’s milestone birthdays, like the one later this year!, it’s not because I/we love her any less, but because I honor her wishes and my promise to her when she indulged my will to throw the party for my dad. Thanks, Mom!)

The 60th birthday party we planned for my dad, exactly 30 years to the day of the day after I got hit by the car and foiled the 30th birthday surprise, and exactly 10 years ago today, was a huge success, a surprise to my dad, and the best birthday party ever in my mind.

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The party plan was for an “Ed Novick, This Is Your Life…On A Spit” Roast and fundraiser dinner for the American Cancer Society – an organization my dad supported having been plagued by cancer at various times in his own life (as I recall we had around 110 guests and raised over $700 for AMC with that event.) The concept was conceived based on ideas that I gleaned from years of watching impressionable television shows as a kid. In particular, the shows, and some of the emcees that presented them, included This Is Your Life, The Dean Martin Roast, and the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis have always been a couple of my favorite performers even before I ever learned that they were once a famous performing entertainment team. I loved watching these three shows as a kid, for the heart-warming and laugh-inducing stories that they shared. I admired Martin and Lewis for the entertaining and caring people they seemed to be on television.

Months in advance of the party, I called a meeting of my dad’s siblings and my brother and told them my ideas for the party. They were very supportive and helped out immensely to pull the party details off, especially my aunt Judy (thanks to her and all who helped!).

I asked about eight of my dad’s best friends and close family members, also some of the funniest guys I knew, to prepare a 5 to 10 minute roast speech about my dad. I then set to work to plan the details and script around each of the roast speeches as emcee of the event, full of entertaining visuals, audio and gags.

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What came together that night was divinely inspired wonderful human loving connection, television magic and one of the most fun and memorable days my dad ever had. My cousin Jimmy videotaped the roast for us (and did a good job – thanks, Jimmy!), and my dad loved watching the video again and again for years that followed even up to his last days. I still have that videotape, and watch it when I can. It is a funny and heart-warming reminder of how loved my dad was, how much I loved him, and how much dad loved me, his family and his wonderful friends.

For those of you who were there, who remember the stories, and the laughs, and maybe those of you who weren’t there who just love dad, I will be having the videotape converted to a DVD digital format for preservation and copying purposes. If you are interested in owning your own copy of it, let me know and I will pre-order you a copy of it. I ask that you consider paying the reasonable production cost of the copy which I can let you know in advance of your order, probably in the $10-$20 range, but I also want to gift copies to those friends who roasted day that day as a reminder of dad, and in appreciation for the wonderful and entertaining job they did in roasting and honoring the man we loved.

Thanks to all who attended that event, and helped make that day such a treasured memory for my dad. I deeply appreciate it and always will.

And, another one of my favorite memories of my dad’s birthdays was the one following his death which I wrote about previously on my blog in A Perfect Baseball Birthday.

Happy Birthday, Dad! We love and miss you so.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Ed Novick permalink*
    April 26, 2013 10:41 pm

    Tonight my Lobos baseball team won our first game of the season by slaughter rule 10-0 in 5 innings. We beat the team that knocked us out of the playoffs last year. I led off and had 3 hits in 3 at bats with 2 runs and 1 run batted in. I also caught two fly balls in right field. It was a good game for me, for us to start the season, and way to celebrate my dad’s birthday. I thought of him often all night.

  2. April 26, 2013 11:04 pm

    It is so good to hear you had a great game and on your dad’s birthday! I am sure he was watching down on you and cheering you on from heaven. Your post about your dad was very touching. My dad died 19 years ago and my husband 2 years ago. Tomorrow is my daughter’s college graduation and although she will miss having them there I told her they will be watching from heaven. Good luck with your baseball season. Keep us informed of your progress. Your blog talking about your family and your life led me to start a blog of my own. I am reading your book and enjoying it so far. Never stop writing for you are a true inspiration. 🙂

  3. April 27, 2013 12:51 pm

    Wow, I am really impressed with the birthday party you managed to pull off! That must have taken huge amount of planning. The roast idea was genius (sheer genius!) & sounded like so much fun. And you raised a lot of money besides – awesome! Happy Belated Birthday Mr. Novick!!! 🙂

  4. Nancy Callaghan permalink
    April 27, 2013 4:06 pm

    I absolutely loved your birthday tribute to your Dad! Thanks so much for sharing it! You were so blessed to have him as a Dad. Keep his memories alive with more stories, ESP with your kids! Say hello to Michael from Bill and me.

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Trackbacks

  1. 2013 Year In Review | Ed Novick's Blog
  2. Top 100 Posts Over 5 Years | Ed Novick's Blog

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