Happy Birthday Mom, we miss you so

Happy Birthday Mom, we miss you so

[From Carol Kramer’s collection]

A wise friend told me that mourning is about missed firsts: the first missed Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day and Birthday. Bob is right. Today is the first missed birthday of Carol Kramer (May 29, 1933 – October 16, 2021).

Carol Kramer in the mid-1970s when she taught mathematics at Mercy High School. From More on Carol Kramer (1933 – 2021) and Tales of the Highland Crossing in Brighton

For decades, Carol hosted her Sunday dinner for friends and family. In warm weather, the dinner was held on the porch. When guests had birthdays, Carol decorated the porch with various birthday paraphernalia kept in the Birthday Stuff envelope.

The Birthday Stuff envelope

Sunday, May 29th, 2022. Note the center envelope (the others are Dave and Gene). Moochie was my father’s nickname for Carol.

The envelope contains birthday lettering and placards, cardboard glasses for guests to wear, and paper balls.  Carol also saved birthday cards given to her, my father and myself, as well as some anniversary cards given by her and my father to each other. Their anniversary will be another first missed.

Sunday, May 29th, 2022. Note the miniature statue of a butler, my contribution to the dinners.

Another birthday tradition was the Family Birthday Card. For decades, Carol sent the same birthday card to family members: Janet, Eugene, Leslie, David, Justin, Katherine and Audrey. The family member sent back the card to Carol who sent it the recipient on the next birthday, sometimes with a check included. The card was also circulated amongst Sunday dinner guests, but they did not take it home.

The Kramer Family Birthday Card. For decades, the KFBC has circulated amongst its members. (top right) The paper wheels change the birthday years; (bottom left) The wording reads: Just a simple “Happy Birthday”Nothing different — nothing new  But it holds a world of meaning When it goes from us to you! Note that Carol changed “me” to “us” and added The Rest of Us; (bottom right) The well worn, original envelope. Most recently, Audrey Boyce sent the card from San Carlos, CA to David Kramer in Rochester, NY for his birthday. The next sending will be in November back to California for Leslie Kramer’s birthday. (Copyright, Forget Me Not Cards, Cleveland, USA) From Bill Pruitt offers “TALKERS BIRTHDAY”: Five years and counting



Thanks Mom for decades of Christmas Eve’s with the Yule Log and Dress Up games

More on Carol Kramer (1933 – 2021) and Tales of the Highland Crossing in Brighton

To Mom with love from Talker

Thanks, Mom!

Eugene Kramer: August 14th, 1929 to June 30th, 2019


About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


  1. Bruce Kay

    sorry for your loss Dave. She was a great lady


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