A Magical Birthday Ritual

I just wished my late brother Jim a Happy Birthday on Facebook. He would have turned 58 today. I did the same thing two years ago, here on my blog.

If Jim were alive today we would’ve had our annual East-Coast/West-Coast mutual birthday call. My birthday is the day after his, so at midnight (Eastern) and 9:00pm (Pacific) we’d call each other. It was our little ritual, sort of like a secret handshake. 

1956-JimToday I remembered you in 1956, Jim: 11 months old, and NOT enjoying the photo shoot of you and your four siblings for the annual Christmas card. 

I was 9, and my heart went out to you as you waited around for the photographer to do what she could to make ALL FIVE of us photogenic, one at a time.

No wonder you were crying! Finally we found you a tiny, tinkling bell, and it cheered you up, though I see one little tear still glistening in your right eye.  

You just needed a little magic.

Jim with eBook



Now jump ahead 44 years.

There’s a picture of you in THE BOSS column of the NY Times. You talk about being paid $5 to invent a computer language when you were 12, and you’re holding your newest invention: the electronic book. 

The two photos remind me of our little ritual, but in the second one you supplied the magic. 

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, little bro… love you. Thanks for the magic.  

Talk to you at midnight.




4 Responses to “A Magical Birthday Ritual”

  1. Nancy Forsythe says:

    There’s a tear in the corner of both my eyes… as always when I think of Jim. Happy and so sad. He is deeply missed. Happy Birthday, Ann. Say hello for me.


  2. Ann Sachs says:

    Thanks, Nance. Sometimes I really do feel him looking over my shoulder, so next time he’s there I’ll say hi. Much love…

  3. Roger Morgan says:

    I wish Jim were here to see what has happened to electronic books. I think he would be proud. He was ten years ahead of the trend with his e-book; now they’re everywhere.

    When Jim went off to college at the University of Michigan, I remember that the whole family pitched in to buy him a scientific calculator. It cost about $750.

  4. Ann Sachs says:

    Roger, I had forgotten all about chipping in to give him that calculator – thanks for the reminder. Today it would cost $12.98! And we could order it from Texas Instruments, Jim’s favorite supplier from the time he was 6 or 7. (Somehow he discovered that company on the back of a cereal box!)

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