We went shopping for treats: Hundreds and thousands for fairy bread. Green apples for apple bobbing in a bucket. Cordial. Jelly and ice cream. Cake ingredients for baking. Sugar for toffees. I can't remember what I baked. We bought nicknacks to put in pass-the-parcel like ribbons and nice hair clips. I was excited. It was going to be after school.
I invited girls from my class and friends from our street. All of them said "Why have a party – it's not your birthday." I said "because my mums letting me have a party." They all said that they would come. Mum and I made lots of treats. I had a record player - which was a big deal. My brother would send me singles from Vietnam during the war. I planned to play them at my party. It was going to be so much fun.
The party was to start at 4pm. It was 4.30 and nobody came.
I went out and knocked at doors and was told all types of excuses.
My best friend Lynda, who had leukemia showed up. She wasn't feeling well. She asked where everyone was. I told her that they couldn't come. Well Lynda wasn't having any of that - off she went. Soon she came back with about 6 girls. We had enough food for at least 20. My mother had laid it all out beautifully.
We put on music for pass the parcel. When the girl that won opened it she just said, "Well, I don't need them", and gave them to Lynda who didn’t have much hair. Everybody laughed, but not in a happy way.
My mother put the apples in the bucket for bobbing and the girls said "Ewww, my hair will get wet". Lynda handed the ribbons to them and said "tie your hair back with these". I laughed, I thought that was funny. Good on ya Lynda! No one wanted to do it all for a green apple.
Mum came out and said "Are you having fun girls? Eat the treats." She brought out cold cordial. They all just looked at the food and made excuses about ruining their dinner. Now I don't know about you, but in those days if you were offered sweet treats you didn't care about dinner. They politely had a piece of fairy bread glass of cordial and then all left.
I cried. All that wasted food. My mother had worked extra hard.
My brothers and I made the best of it though. We ate toffees and cake in our lunch boxes all week and were the envy of most kids. We traded marbles for them. My brothers and I had the most marbles in school.
Lynda gave me the ribbons and hairclip back, which I wore to school. It was pink satin ribbon and a hairclip with sparkles. The headmaster walked in to our class and said in front of all of them: "Kath that's a very pretty ribbon and hairclip you have on. Was it your birthday. I said "No sir, Lynda gave it to me as a present." He said "that was very nice of you Lynda. Its nice to give something so pretty to a good friend" and winked at me. My teacher was giggling.
I still think Lynda may have said something to him about the party. She was Scottish and very bold. The teacher just winked at me also.
Except for the fact that my mum went out of her way and my party cost her money she that couldn't afford, it was well worth it to see the look on the face of the girl who won pass the parcel after the headmaster said what he said.