I remember Ellen being the force behind some of the best birthday parties. Gracie’s birthday party where we all played in a kiddie pool in the front yard was mostly imagined and done by Ellen. One of my birthdays, that had themed and matching decorations of tulips, was done largely by Ellen.

I remember one birthday when I had a few friends over, opened all of my presents in the dining room, and then moved into the living room to play. I was called back into the dining room by Mom and Dad because, “You missed a little present!” When I came back, there was a box on the dining table almost as big as I was. It was my Molly doll’s clothes trunk that I had never thought I would actually get. I was shocked that they got me such an expensive toy. It was one of the most complete surprises I have ever experienced.

Unfortunately, I also remember feeling guilty for owning it for years afterwards, since I didn’t really play with such an expensive toy that much.

When we got older it was always Gracie that made sure my birthday was celebrated.

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