Silver Family Birthdays
Birthday celebrations in The Silver Family can be either a major or minor affair, and feelings about how their birthdays were celebrated as children deeply impacted the way the Silver Cousins (Matt, Veronica, Michael, and Ashley) each commemorated occasion as adults.
Michael, for instance, often had to share his birthday celebration with his Aunt Lydia, whose birthday was the day before his. So he and his wife Jenna Worthing started to pull out all the stops each October, once they moved to Hawaii in 2001, and give him a day that was all about him.
Veronica’s birthday celebrations each March were extravagantly planned affairs, but were often cancelled at the last minute due to the unpredictable New England weather. This led to her keeping things low-key once she grew up, often celebrating with only her wife and daughter. Hanging out in the house and watching Julia Roberts movies can’t be cancelled by the snow, after all. (Except for that time a Nor’easter knocked out the power for a week.)
Ashley, by contrast, kept things big on her birthday until the very end of her life. Having been born on the last day of August, which was seen as the last day of summer in a society that sent its children back to school shortly thereafter, her party was for many years the center of a gigantic celebration at the family’s house down the Cape. But unlike her brother Michael, who felt hurt at having to share his birthday with someone or something else, Ashley just reveled in the pomp and circumstance instead. Even in the years after her 10th birthday, the day on which The Great Schism of her family took place, she refused to be discouraged. Instead, she suggested the idea of two parties—one with each side of the family. And as she so often did, Ashley got what she was after.
Ashley’s parties were so memorable, in fact, that the family kept having them for years after she was dead and gone.
Matt’s birthday celebrations were perhaps the most varied of all. Born in September 1971, while the Attica Prison Riot was making news across the country, his birthday was often a welcome distraction for the family—an excuse for one last cookout before putting the grill away for the fall and winter. But then he was disowned by his father after a disastrous coming out (see “The Great Schism” above), eleven days before his 18th birthday in 1989, and Matt was pretty sure his birthday season couldn’t get any worse.
He was wrong.
On the day he turned 30, hijacked planes flew into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and a field in Pennsylvania in a terrorist attack that would come to be known around the world simply as 9/11. Matt stopped celebrating his birthday altogether after that, instead making a pilgrimage to Ground Zero in Manhattan every year to mark the occasion.