It’s My Birthday and I’ll Stalk If I Want to!

23 Aug

It’s my birthday today! Yipee! Wahoo! Commence applause, joyful cheering, and prayerful thanks for my existence! It’s the 23rd, I’m turning 23, and it’s a Tuesday, which is the same day of the week I was born on 23 years ago. Clearly, this will be a magical, epic year.

A lot of people have certain birthday traditions that help make their special day memorable–whether it’s a favorite meal, a standing date with friends, or birthday margaritas. My grandma used to take a picture of me sitting in her rocking chair every year on my birthday. When you flip through, you can watch me go from a baby that needed propping up to a 5’10 gal who blocks the chair. I’ve always been grateful for my grandma’s creative idea, and I know it’s something that I will do when I have kids of my own. 

My family has a special Happy Birthday song that we’ve always sung to each other on birthdays. The lyrics go like this:

Today, you’re one year older
and you’re growing up the way we want you to
So we planned a big surprise
walk with me, and close your eyes
Oh look, your friends are waiting here for you! 

[traditional Happy Birthday song: Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you etc.]

Make a wish and blow out the candles
wishes for good boys and girls come true
Now hurry and cut the cake, we can hardly wait
As you open your gifts we’ll sing once more to youuuuu

[repeat traditional Happy Birthday song]

Now, since several people in my family are slightly tone-deaf (okay, very tone-deaf–sorry Grandma), we always played the actual recorded version of this song, too. My grandma had the record for a long time and somewhere a long the line, somebody transferred the song to a cassette tape. My little branch of the family has since lost this precious tape.

Nobody remembered who sang the song, or what the album was called. Nobody knew the title of the song, but everyone guessed it was some variant of “the Happy Birthday Song.” I didn’t despair, however, because I knew most of the lyrics and I imagined I could just type them into Google and the song would pop out. I’m a child of the internet age and I trust the mysterious Web to answer all my questions.

I picked a portion of the lyrics and plugged them into the search engine. I got three–count ’em three–results. One led to someone who was also searching for this song, for the same sentimental reasons. (I feel ya brother!) The other two were completely unrelated. Over the course of several more days, I logged hours and hours of internet searching. I tried different variations of the lyrics. I searched each individual line of lyrics. I tried quotations marks around the words, the words by themselves. I thought maybe I’d strike gold with Youtube. There is a lot of birthday music on Youtube. I found the Beatles’ Birthday Song, a tribute by Elvis, and then this odd version. Then there was a great musical birthday moment from Boy Meets World, a diddy by The Three Stooges, and Burt and Ernie’s celebration for the letter U. And of course, who can forget Marilyn Monroe’s breathy performance?

This all made for some good entertainment and hours of distraction, but where-oh-where was MY birthday song? I found dozens of other people who were also searching for this song, but it appeared that no one had been successful. The very fact that this song didn’t seem to exist according to the internet–an impossibility, since everything can be found online–turned this whim of a hunt into an obsession.

Then, by some magical combination of search terms and with some lucky clicking, I found it. Sort of. I found a woman’s ancestral blog, a blog dedicated to her genealogical research and family tree. This woman devoted a blog post to a relative’s birthday and included a lovely slideshow of mostly black and white photographs that highlighted his early years. The slideshow’s background music was–you guessed it–the song I’d been searching for.

Although this woman’s blog was public, I assume that it is intended for her and her family. I felt a little, well, stalker-y as I watched her relative’s childhood flash on my computer screen. I was so excited to hear this music that I actually played it several times and even held the phone to my computer so my grandma could listen.

Now, of course, I could just play this slideshow full of strangers whenever I want to celebrate a birthday with this song. However, I haven’t given up hope of finding my own personal copy.

That’s why I clicked around until I found this woman’s contact information and emailed her with a plea for song information–artist, name of song, album title, anything. I tried to phrase my email as un-creepily as possible. I tried to downplay my musical desperation. Hopefully, since this woman’s blog is devoted to family, she’ll understand how much this music means to me. I don’t know if she’ll read my email or not, but I figured it was worth a try.

So that’s my little birthday stalking story. Okay, so it definitely doesn’t rival Kim “The G is Silent” Pugliano’s Passat Saga. (Check it out if you haven’t already–you gotta love an addicting neighborhood mystery told with wit and humor). But I think I’m at least in the stalker-with-good-intentions minor leagues.

I hope you all will have a bubbly drink or a slice/scoop of a snazzy dessert (my birthday cake is a homemade Baked Alaska, in case you were wondering) to celebrate my birthday. You deserve it.

Oh, and P.S
If  the universe decides to mess with me and one of you reads this and knows exactly what song I’m talking about, I swear I’ll have a freaking heart attack.

Cheers!

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23 Responses to “It’s My Birthday and I’ll Stalk If I Want to!”

  1. Wobbly Words August 23, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Happiest Birthday! 23rds are the best and those of us who get them as a golden year are extra lucky! I hope everything goes well today, this year, forever, AND that you get your hands on a copy of YOUR birthday song! (right away too!!!) I will certainly scout out some delicious dessert to celebrate you with and I might just add a Gin and Tonic to it 🙂

    Happy 23! Love and hugs from here 🙂

    • Oh My Words! August 26, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

      Awwww aren’t you the sweetest! I’m glad you celebrated me with a delicious dessert–you’re a true friend 🙂

  2. Kim Pugliano August 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    Hahaha! Here I was, reading the TITLE and thinking, “Oh I can’t WAIT to congratulate her on her stalking,” and then I read and read, and there it was – the reference to me. Welcome, my friend. Enjoy your stay.

    • Oh My Words! August 26, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

      thank you, thank you

      I’d like to think we’re colleagues now 😉

  3. Seasweetie August 23, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Happy happy birthday birthday! (I might have typed “happy” and “birthday” 23 times each just for you, but as your gift for the day, I didn’t.) I hope she responds – I love those little quests for things like that, and looking for something on the internet is like opening that room in Hogwarts where all the random stuff is stashed – wonderful but daunting. As for the champagne and other numminess, well, don’t mind if I do – just to celebrate you.

    • Oh My Words! August 26, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

      ohmygosh that’s EXACTLY what it’s like! Best HP reference ever!

      I hope you really did find some champagne and numminess–I love to be celebrated!

  4. durdlin August 24, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    I want to say that I know that song, but I don’t. But I’m so pleased that you found it in the end. Happy birthday!

  5. Nikki Brown August 26, 2011 at 12:54 am #

    Hey! Send me a link to the website and I’ll pull the MP3 for you, if you’d like it! 🙂

    • Oh My Words! August 26, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

      you can DO that?? What sort of dark magic are you??

      emailing now!

    • susan May 18, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

      Posted on Sep 21, 2011 3:15:43 AM PDT
      Last edited by the author on Sep 30, 2011 1:25:19 PM PDT
      Kasi says:
      My family also plays this song at every birthday! My grandma marches around the room and claps during the instrumental portion and makes us all smile. It wouldn’t be a proper birthday without this song playing. The song started out on a children’s record when my mom was little and has been transferred to eight-track, cassette, and CD over the years. The mp3 file at the link contains both the “Happy Birthday Song” and “Open Your Gifts”.

      https://www.yousendit.com/download/bHlBc2ZOOW5WRDkzZUE9PQ

      Update: I got the official title and artist information from my mom, who still has the original 45 rpm record. The actual song title is “Happy Birthday to You” by Shorty Long and the Happy Fellows. Special lyrics by Shorty Long. It was recorded by RCA Victor, Bluebird Children’s Records. The other side of the record is “Open Your Gifts” – recorded by Shorty Long and written by Stuart-Reiter-Schnapf.

  6. thatsfreakingawesome September 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Whoa. August 23rd is my birthday too 🙂 How ’bout that.

    • Oh My Words! September 19, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

      Happy belated birthday! I’m pretty sure an August 23rd birthday guarantees awesomeness. I don’t suppose you turned 23, too? Now that would be eerie!

  7. Kasi September 21, 2011 at 3:06 am #

    I was delighted by your birthday song story. My family also plays this song at every birthday! My grandma marches around the room and claps during the instrumental portion and makes us all smile. It wouldn’t be a proper birthday without this song playing. The song started out on a children’s record when my mom was little and has been transferred to eight-track, cassette, and CD over the years. In case Nikki hasn’t gotten the file to you yet, it now comes to you as a gift from the universe on .mp3. Please do not have a heart attack. 😉

    https://www.yousendit.com/download/bHlBc2ZOOW5WRDkzZUE9PQ

    Cheers,
    Kasi

    • Susan September 26, 2011 at 9:11 am #

      Wow Wow – we sing the same song! We heard it when it was played for birthdays on a local cartoon show in the sixties. I’m thrilled to get the MP3!!!!!

      • Oh My Words! September 28, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

        really? a cartoon show? hmm, I wonder if that’s how my family picked it up…?

        I’m thrilled that we BOTH got the MP3! HOORAY!! 😀

    • Oh My Words! September 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

      IT’S. THE. SONG.
      Thanks doesn’t even begin to cover it.

      My heart definitely did a huge somersault and happy dance and I have a new post dedicated to you!

  8. Susan September 29, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    It was one of those local morning shows. Where the host, dressed as a clown, would introduce cartoons. Local children would come to the show and if it was someone’s birthday they would play this song for them.

    The show was based in Dickenson, North Dakota. It was the only channel our little town in Montana received, so of course we watched it. And heard the song MANY times. We now sing it in unison at our birthdays, and children’s birthdays, in a very syrupy manner. I can hardly wait till the next birthday when I can email it to everybody. They’ll love it!

    • Gail September 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

      I’m Kasi’s mom and I still have the original 45 rpm record. The actual song title is “Happy Birthday to You” by Shorty Long and the Happy Fellows. It says special lyrics by Shorty Long. It was recorded by RCA Victor, Bluebird Children’s Records. And the other side of the record is “Open Your Gifts” – recorded by Shorty Long and written by Stuart-Reiter-Schnapf. I don’t see a date, so don’t know when it was recorded. You can see a photo of the original jacket cover that people have posted by doing a google search for Shorty Long. Very fun!

  9. Emily March 3, 2012 at 5:54 am #

    We listened to this as kids too. My nan and pop had it on tape. As its my sisters birthday tomorrow I’ll call my nan first thing in the morning and fingers crossed she still has the tape and I’ll get her to bring it over.

    • Oh My Words! March 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      I always like hearing from people who have this same musical tradition. Hope your sister’s birthday was fun, and that you played the song for her!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Monday’s Top 5 | The Happy Logophile - August 28, 2011

    […] In the grand tradition of Kim Pugliano, Abigail from Oh My Words! has an amusing post titled It’s my Birthday and I’ll Stalk if I Want To! […]

  2. A Story About the Kindness of Strangers and Musical Miracles, Told in Song Titles « Oh My Words! - September 27, 2011

    […] may recall that I have been searching for a special Birthday Song that is part of my family’s birthday tradition. Well, a wondrous, serendipitous event […]

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