Funny Papers Again Column | A Look at Calendars Old and New – Salinas Valley Tribune

Steve Wilson

As the first column of a new year on the ol’ Gregorian Calendar, one could hold the expectation that the tradition of making resolutions, presumably of personal betterment, containing a goal or goals. The history of this tradition is fascinating, and if you are interested, go look it up.

Personally, I am of the opinion if you want to make resolutions, get elected to city council or state assembly or someplace where they do that sort of thing. Such goals usually test the resolve of the resolutory to the point of either distraction or disappointment; if you must make one let it be “I hereby resolve to never make another New Year resolution.” Thus endeth the rant.

The above topic notwithstanding, it should be if not prudent at least speculative to ruminate about what we know is coming and what we don’t know is coming as we ride Spaceship Earth on its annual circumvolution around Old Sol. One of those things I know of the coming year is the same as last year, which is in order to not miss one of my seven grandkids birthdays, I go month-by-month and enter name and age in the appropriate square; this is an annual ritual with a new calendar. But this year as I filled in a name, I was suddenly reminded of calendars of my past; of Greenfield’s past.

The Greenfield Lion’s Club Birthday Calendar was one of those highly expected deliveries of the year. I do not remember when it showed up in the house every year, but surely before Jan. 1 so those born on that day in whatever year would see their names hanging on the wall. My father was a Lion, so I recall there was a form and checks and cash associated with each name he added to the calendar. I suppose all members did this, though I don’t know if there was a system in place, such as calling listed phone numbers or going door-to-door, but I do know the result in our house was a calendar with our names in it. Cool. And a great feature was one could see who shared your birthday; or at least if any new name got added, as we pretty much knew what names would appear year after year.

In the square of Aug. 3, along with my name was also Jonah, whose son Stephen was in my class and whose wife and my mother shared the name Wilma, the only two in town until Fred’s wife (some will get that, many won’t). Later, the name Susie was added (her name was Jareh Ellen but everybody called her Susie). Also in that square, just above mine (the names were listed oldest down to youngest) was a name with a story attached, probably told before but I like telling it.

Steele Jr. was born one year to the day before I was, 1951 and 1952, respectively. I had an older and younger brother; Steele had four, count ’em, four younger sisters. There was a time when both our parents worked at Soledad Correctional Training Facility, the Prison, and when the local newspaper columnist inadvertently switched the names around, putting my mother with Steele’s father and vice versa, my future included four younger sisters. For some years I kept up on “sisters” Leslie, Eileen (Duffy), Toni and Michelle (Shelley) to inform people who would ask about them rather than explain why we were not related at all.

It was fun to go month by month looking at each day, rarely a day without at least one name, some with enough to fill the date, and look to read names we knew beforehand were going to be there. We had twins Michael and David and Larry and Jerry. Our Summer Vacation ran pretty true to birthdays of long-time next-door neighbors on Eighth Street: Richard was born June 9 and Tommy was born Sept. 9; which for years qualified him as the youngest in our class in school.

Opposite of that, the Stephen mentioned above was the oldest member, as he was a Winter Solstice baby, born Dec. 21. Another member, Hal, was a Christmas gift for his older sister Kathy, born Dec. 24. Rickola, my father, was born Sept. 11, and with the advent of the 911 emergency number made known to people no one should forget his birthday. He died five years prior to the 9/11.

I suppose we also looked for the birthdates of girls we had playground crushes on with the intent of charming her with some trifle of a gift or just a “Happy Birthday”; if I ever did look up such a date I never followed through with any awkward advances. We looked to see who was born the same day as Washington and Lincoln, the same with those born on Christmas and Thanksgiving Days, on Halloween and Easter. And some (those who were not one of the lucky ones to be born during vacations) checked to see if their birthday landed on a weekend.

I don’t recall many birthdays of friends, a memory bank that surely was once part of any kid’s life. If I had the insight back six decades ago I would have stashed a few of those useful documents away, but, as is known, hindsight is always perfect vision.


Let us leave the past where it belongs and look to the coming days of 2024. The year will unfold pretty much the same as years past, we can go back over 2023’s calendar and be fairly accurate as to when annual events take place.

As a volunteer for MCARLM I know we are set for Jan. 26 for our annual Clam Chowder feed. I committed some time back to a role, so I know rehearsal dates and production dates for Sol Treasures production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” and I know I will soon get a volunteer sign-up email from Candi at Farm Day. And so, it begins.

Take care. Peace.

Steve Wilson Opinion,Columnist,Funny Papers Again,Greenfield,King City,Steve Wilson

2024-01-03 22:05:18 , Salinas Valley Tribune | Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield CA

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