Once upon a time, there was a little boy, we’ll just call him Beau.
It was October 4, 1978, a Wednesday. The young lad went to school that day, his 6th birthday.
The day began like any other day for a first grader, aside from the fact it was a little easier to stir him from bed. Today, at Macarthur Elementary, in Mrs. House’s class, this young boy would be the center of attention. He didn’t show it, but that meant a lot to him, not so much unlike now actually. He ate his cheerios, hopped in the car, and just knew that every single kid they passed on the road that day, wished they were him. I mean, how lucky is he? This is the day where he officially becomes a part of the two hands club. That’s right, he now needs two hands to show how old he is, none of this childish one hand garbage.
His mom dropped him off, and with a kiss he’s off to the prefab behind Macarthur elementary, to take his seat in Mrs. House’s class. Today was special. Sure, the routine was the same at first…..”I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America…….” “My Country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing…..” “This land is your land, this land is my land, from California, to the New York Islands…..” good Lord, we get it, we’re American, I promise to say no to drugs, and to those pesky Communist recruiters on the playground, let’s just move along and get to the song we ALL want to hear. And just like that, the class is made aware of this special day, October 4th…..October 4th…….October 4th, there’s just no way to hear it, and not understand it’s importance and historical significance. For it was on this day, just 6 short years prior, a child was born, to a lady, in an army hospital in Ft. Hood, Texas. So, it wasn’t exactly a manger, but the similarities are startling nonetheless.
Now that everyone in his class knows it’s his birthday, the next logical question is, when’s the party? The young boy was prepared for this answer, he had his address memorized and he would write it down for all to see, EVERYONE in the class is invited to the party of the decade. Come one, come all to the party on 29th street. He made sure everybody in class received this invitation, it was very important. It was an after school party, meaning, there was no real start time, all you need to know, is it’s “after school”.
The school day went by a little slower than other days, the young boy imagining all the great fun they’ll have when the party gets rockin’. It was just too much for this child of 6 to really even comprehend. Knowing that the party even existed, made all the regular mundane first grade tasks a little less bothersome. He gladly did vocabulary words, and music and art, and drawing, and coloring, and lunch and recess, then vocabulary, and math, and drawing and coloring, until finally, it was time to go home.
His mom picked him up at school, and asked him how his day went. “Good.” Did they sing to you? “Yes” Did you feel special? “Yes” His giddiness didn’t really shine through in the words that he spoke, but his mind was a little cluttered after all, wondering what great treasures lay before him.
Sitting in the front seat of their metallic green sedan, with his 20 month old sister blabbing in the back seat, and his 2 month old brother resting comfortably as well, the young boy couldn’t help but notice that they had not taken the turn towards 29th street as is customary on the short drive home. In fact, they were out on the main road.
“Where we goin’ mom?”, the boy asked quizzically.
“We have just a few errands to run dear,” his mother, barely 24 years of age, replied.
“Ok mom.”, the boy said reluctantly.
In his head, he figured that this would probably buy just enough time for his school mates to get to TG&Y or K-Mart or if they were feeling REALLY generous, perhaps a short jaunt to the Toys R Us, to secure an appropriate gift for such an important occasion.
A lot of time has passed since this sunny October afternoon in East Tulsa, so the details are somewhat sketchy. Some observers recall the errands lasted about 45 minutes, while others report they may have lasted 2 hours. What nobody disputes though, is what awaited them when they returned home.
As the errands were winding down, the young boy in the front seat was getting antsy. He didn’t wear a watch, perhaps he’d receive one if one of the party goers had ventured to Renbergs or Oertles on their shopping spree. But since he had no way of knowing the time, he kept an eye out for banks as he passed by, they had pretty reliable clocks displayed prominently outside, unfortunately though, they never came across one.
Even at 6 years old, he knew the neighborhood was getting close, it was apparent, they were finally headed home.
As they made their turn on to 29th, the line of cars, and children meandering up and down the street left no doubt, the party was underway. Just as the smile began to make it’s way on to the young boy’s face, as he gazed out the passenger side window to all the children standing in his yard, holding presents, he hears,
“WHAT DID YOU DO?!?!”
You see, a little detail was left out of the party planning.
Parental permission and coordination.
It seems the young lad felt so strongly to be adored that he in fact, invited the entire 1st grade to his party, which he had planned some time between “I pledge Allegiance….” and “….Purple Mountain Majesties…..”
His 24 year old mother was none too happy as she got out of the car to face a mob of parents who were wondering why there was nobody home when they arrived.
Scholars still debate whether a “party” actually ever took place following this. In fact, some people believe the young boy received no party for his 7th birthday, as a cruel punishment for this transgression on October 4, 1978.
It is true though, that this young boy would grow, and have many more birthdays, and many more parties, but in this family’s lore, none could ever match the drama of October 4, 1978, or as it’s better known,
“The time you planned your own party.”