“You forgot my birthday again,” said Aunt Agathene mercilessly as I hung my head in guilt and shame, a day late for the celebration, as usual.
“I wrote it down, but forgot where I put my note,” I defended. “Next thing I knew, your birthday was here, then gone.”
“Well, if I was as important to you as that new-fangled Jitterbug dance you keep busy with, I guess you would remember your old Auntie.”
At that moment I vowed to keep a list of all the birthdays, anniversaries (and other important dates in our family) all in one place. That was also when I established the groundwork for what would later become the birthday record keeper template, a popular feature of my Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software.
My idea for a birthday record keeper in the old days was a small ruled tablet inside my telephone-address book, and that telephone-address book never left the telephone stand. It had the names of everyone in the family, even distant cousins, and the important dates surrounding their lives. Whenever someone in the family got married, I’d write in the wedding date and birthdays of the new family member. (Not that I attempted to send cards to everyone, oh my, but I did try to call and convey best wishes whenever I could, since Auntie’s wrath stayed with me for many years.)
After awhile, I had quite a few pages of family names and dates. I would scroll through them once a month to see which ones needed to be added to my daily calendar. (Sometimes that little task became a back-burner item too, and I’d miss someone now and then, but in general it was a good system.)
When a computer came into my life, I typed all the names in alphabetical order in columns, and it was really easy to see the dates for every important occasion. I still added them to my daily calendar.
However, when we designed our cookbook software, I felt we needed a more useful system. I wanted the cookbook software to automatically extract birthday information and organize it by date and month into a calendar. Tee hee, now I don’t have to do a thing except look at my family cookbook. Our birthday record keeper template does it all for me (See the “People Tab.” Below the name field is the field for entering birthdays. If someone is sensitive about age, type in 2000 instead of her actual birth year. Her secret will be safe, but everyone will still know when to celebrate.)
Happy family cookbooking,
P.S. Despite her authoritarian nature, Aunt Agathene was a soft-hearted soul with a great wit and happy outlook. She lived to be 96. I hope I take after her. She taught me many things, including how to be more timely and considerate of others.