Let Your Light Shine

Happy Hostess

A mixed media collage completed for Cody Miller’s class at the McConnell Arts Center. You can see the little town of Blaine where the story took place on the section of the map between the three cars.

I’ve been making birthday cards and it reminded me of a silly thing that happened when I was five.

My mom was in the hospital for the birth of daughter number four, my sister, Kathy. Joyce, Carol and I were at home with Dad or a relative available to babysit while he was at work. I didn’t totally understand what was going on, so I kept busy doing things like giving myself a haircut. Who knew blunt-tipped scissors could really cut hair?

One afternoon when my seventh grade cousin, Madelyn, was babysitting I shared a bright idea with her. We could have a birthday party for my mom! I knew the date, which was about six weeks away. I had a plan. Madelyn would walk me to one of the little grocery shops down the hill (Kaspers or Hoyo’s) to buy Hostess cupcakes and we would have a party!

Now I may or may not have tasted Hostess cupcakes at that point, but I knew I wanted them because they were advertised on Romper Room and served to the kids who got to be on the show. The Hostess cupcakes were key. The birthday was probably just a good excuse.

In a few days Mom and Dad brought Kathy home from the hospital. There was a christening a few weeks later and life moved on with those long days that you only get when you’re five years old.

Then one evening when Mom was working in the garden (a necessity, not a hobby), we were in the house watching the Donna Reed show. A car pulled up in the driveway and then another and two more. Surprise! It was a birthday party for Mom and no one was more surprised than me! Dad’s whole family showed up with a cake and ice cream and even presents. Mom was a bit grubby from the garden and the house probably wan’t company-ready, but when people bring the party to you, you adjust your expectations.

Uncle Rudy had a bakery so he supplied the cake – delicious as always, even if it didn’t have the trademark cream filling or the chocolate icing and squiggle like a Hostess cupcake. We saved some cake for Dad who was working afternoon shift. The rest fueled the cousins who ran around catching lightning bugs till it was time to say goodnight.

I had no clue that anyone remembered my idea, but evidently Madelyn told her mother, my very sweet Aunt Mary Ann. I can only imagine the phoning and planning it took to pull it off.

Moral of the story: When you put an idea out there, it may take on a life of its own!


  1. Christine Matlak

    Heartwarming story! Thank you!

    • dnesbitt

      Looking forward to our outings this year. Spring’s coming soon!

  2. Ann Armstrong

    What a dear, lovely story so sweetly told and illustrated, too.
    I will think about it a while.. Thank you for sharing.

    • dnesbitt

      Thank you, Ann. I’m having lots of fun in that class so there will be more of these.

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