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Gotta give a shoutout to Mom for no paper plates or plastic bowls for my big day. Nothing but fine glassware here.

Back then, we didn’t have venues to host a party like we have today. No Chuck E. Cheese or bumper-bowling parties. If there was going to be a party, it was at the house. Usually just our immediate family and maybe the aunts and uncles.

I vividly remember going to bed and listening to my mom and dad playing cards with my aunts and uncles. They were literally playing for pennies and nickels, just enjoying each other’s company. Every five minutes or so, they would all scream and laugh when somebody won the jackpot. At the end of the night, my mom knocked on my bedroom door and gave me everything that was in the “pot” for my birthday, which was a baggie filled with coins.

At that time, it felt like it was a pirate’s treasure of gold. Probably about $3.00. But that was enough to get me five packs of baseball cards (including the bubble gum made from wood planks) and a new Matchbox car at Catrabone’s Variety in Wesleyville. Life was good.

For my 6th birthday, I got some pretzels, some chips, a highball, a really cool cake, and my own ashtray.

Phil Kerner

Phil Kerner

Phil Kerner is a life-long Erie, Pennsylvania resident. Married to The Queen, father of four sons, grandfather to Gracie Mae.