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Margaret Strubel and I shared a birthday

Posted By: Doug Blair


During my high school days we were required to take a "foreign" language. I remember that the Spanish teacher had just arrived in CF. Maybe from that island just south of Key West. Her English was as difficult for me to understand as I'm sure my attempt at Spanish was for her. This wasn't going to work. Luckly Latin was also being taught and would meet the requirement. And besides I loved history.

Margaret Strubel (I hope I'm spelling her name correctly) taught not only the latin language but also emersed her students in the Roman culture. A small scale model of the city of Rome, I remember stood in her room. Maps showing the extent of the empire. It was not just the language it was the culture and heritage of the people that she taught.

One custom she taught us was a birthday ritual that she said came from that long ago time. A coin was mixed into the batter of the birthday cake. During the serving of the cake whoever found the coin was coinsidered to be lucky for the next year. During one birthday celebration I found the coin (luckly not choking on it, maybe that WAS the lucky part).

Towards the end of the school year there was a lot of cake because of all the summer birthdays of classmates. My birthday was the end of May (it might have been the last day of school for the year).

The Latin "birthday song" I still remember and sing when the opportunity arises. When the time came to celebrate my day Margaret told me it was her day too!

The last time I saw her, she came to one of our class reunions (I think it was in 1989). She looked at me and said "how are you doing Mr. Blair?" I was amazed that she still recalled my name after all those years. We both sang "happy birthday to you" in Latin to each other.

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