Having celebrated his own 50th birthday himself earlier this year, WWP is quite naturally acquainted with boatloads of folk his own age, all of us in exactly the same situation: We are the alumni, as it were, of the perfectly mid-Baby Boom year of 1955. In fact, so far this year, hardly a week passes without an invitation to a 50th birthday. [Where, we might add, we continue to be amazed at the efficiency of a certain organization in zeroing in on us.]
It would be right and proper to note that another such birthday occurs today: Franklin Gene Ediger was born on this day, in 1955, in McPherson, Kansas, the fourth child [and third son] of Mennonite farmers in that region's deeply Anabaptist/Mennonite/Amish community. Gene [as he was always called] learned all the chores and rhythms of growing up on a farm in rural Kansas, always under the cultural eagle eye of the pacifist Mennonites who surrounded him. Not long after his emancipation to adulthood, Gene discovered and fell in love with Oregon, where he studied, matriculated, embraced his identity, and began a meaningful career in serving Portland's homeless and less-advantaged folk. [A perfect career for a Mennonite boy from Kansas, no?]
And then, Gene fell in love ... with yours truly.
Today would have been Gene's 50th birthday. Gene loved parties, as his infamous 40th birthday party 10 years ago today [complete with limos, strippers and a crowd so diverse that it included a then-city council candidate, now on the council, two drag queens, a former Mr. Oregon Leather and someone dressed as the Energizer Bunny] would prove. No doubt, today would have been witness to an extravaganza so outlandish that even Darcelle might blush.
But, alas, it was not to be.
Here's to Gene. As he would say: Happy birthday, dude.
[A well-known Orblogger's fitting and memorable remembrance can be found here.]