Friday, September 23, 2005

If you forget.

The subject of the worst gift you ever received from a husband or boyfriend came up today on a message board I frequent and I was reminded of this story and decided to share it here.

My first husband and I were married on Aug 5th and my birthday was on July 7th. So, my first birthday after the wedding was also my 21st. Naturally, I expected either a house party or a bar hopping party to celebrate the big 21. The day came and went without a word from him. My girlfriend kept calling ever half hour to see what he gave me and at 10pm when the answer was still "not a word" she came and took me out for the prerequisite drink. I was to hurt to say anything, and just sulked for a week.

The next month our first anniversary came and went the same way. Not a word. No card, gift anything. So I was fuming. I called my Aunt for advice and she said that you have to "never allow a precedence to get started because then you have no grounds on which to object. If you allow something to be repeated without taking issue then you have no grounds on which to complain about being unhappy the next time it is repeated". She said to nip it in the bud and let him know what was expected. When I discussed it with my sister-in-law. I learned that Christmas was the only day celebrated in their parent's house and therefore birthdays, anniversaries and other holidays were just not considered important to my husband and he had no way of knowing or understanding that I grew up in a family where everything was celebrated to the hilt.

So what to do??? Well, I had always wanted matching wedding bands and he had gotten me a very gaudy set of wedding rings I hated. So I went to the jewelers and ordered a ring to match his and that night I set him down and gave him the bill and explained that the ring was going to be my combined birthday/ anniversary gift and that I expected him to remember both dates in the future and I would settle for a romantic card, but, if he forgot then I was going to buy the most expensive thing I could find and send him the bill.

The next year my birthday was again ignored so I went out an bought a sofa and sent dear husband the bill. A month later the anniversary was also ignored so I purchased matching chairs and end tables for the living room and sent the bill. When he hit the roof I quietly stated "If you remember my birthday card, it costs 25 cents (price in 1968) if you forget my card, then it is the most expensive thing I can find to buy.

Well it took him 5 years and many expensive items to realize I was dead serious. When I woke up on the morning of my birthday the sixth year there was a card hanging from the ceiling by a string and only inches from my face. For the next 32 years until the day he died I never got a birthday or anniversary gift but there was always a mushy, romantic, and often expensive card within arms reach when I awoke. Once when I was pregnant and had to sleep on my back I found the card actually standing on my stomach when I woke up. He defiantly took me at my word.

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