Thursday, November 05, 2009

No Koalas Attended My Birth

Back in 1976, disco was king, malaise was queen, and I was off being born in Mona Vale Hospital in New South Wales, Australia. Technically, due to the International Date Line, I've been 33 for a day now, but, let's just call my birthday November 5th. It keeps things simple.

When I tell people I was born in Australia, they imagine my birth was attended by a tableau of koalas, wallabies and kangaroos, and accompanied by a soaring didgeridoo soundtrack, like a sort of antipodean Nativity play.

Sadly, the truth isn't quite so exciting. I was born in a normal hospital, among doctors and nurses, with zero marsupials in attendance. However, there's still a good story in there:

My sister's first memory is of our dad holding her up to the window of the neonatal ward, pointing out all of the babies to her, and saying, "So, which one do you want?" (Yes, all Stameys are extremely sick people.)

Skye pointed to a random baby. Probably a boy. Definitely not me.

So Dad pointed at me, and said, "What about that one?"

Skye's voice rolled into a high-pitched whine, "But she's too SMALL!!!!!!"

Luckily, despite my sister's objections, my parents still took me home. Otherwise I imagine this story would turn out quite differently.


Brando said...

Happy birthday Shan! Now digeradoos are in my background sound.

Zipcode said...

Happy Birthday!

Shannon said...

Brando - You have a didgeridoo earworm?

Zip - Thanks!

Malnurtured Snay said...

Wait, I thought you were Irish?

bh said...

Happy Birthday, funny one.

American's always seem surprised when I tell them Australia is among the most Urbanized societies on earth (93+%). Like, "I didn't know they had electricity down there"

There's hardily anyone living in the outback, and they sure aren't as charming as Paul Hogan.

lacochran said...

Did you have vegemite in your baby bottle?


Happy birthday, Pal!

Dmbosstone said...

Wait you weren't picked by a random family?

Shannon said...

Snay - Of course I'm Irish. Except that I'm not Irish.

bh - My family is from Wollongong, which is basically the southern hemisphere's answer to Flint.

Lacochran - No, but I was raised on a steady diet of Violet Crumble bars.

Shannon said...

Dmbosstone - Though it often feels that way, nope.

Ibid said...

Am I to understand that you do, indeed, come from a land down under? How much glowing and plundering to the women and men actually do?

Tina said...

Aw - i though all of Austrialia was like the sets from the Tornbirds!! I'm bummed.

Dana said...

When my sister was born, I was very disappointed because she cried a LOT (got the tantrum thing down early) and wasn't big enough for tea parties.

Incidentally, does anyone in your family follow Aussie Rules football?

Malnurtured Snay said...

Red head. Named Shannon. Yes, all evidence indicates you're Irish.

Dagny Taggart said...

Happy Birthday!

Shannon said...

Ibid - I tried to ask...but they just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich.

Tina - No, but everyone looks like an extra from Paradise Beach. (What, too obscure?)

Dana - Not as far as I know - we're not the most sporting family.

Snay - Except that I'm about 90% sure my natural hair color is not red.

Dagny - Thanks!

FoggyDew said...

I've always wonder this when talking to folks from land of 'roos and Fosters: Were your ancestors guards or prisoners? As Vizzini said, "Because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows, and Australia is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you."

Shannon said...

Foggy - Neither. My great-grandmother came over in an immigrant ship from Wales, I think in 1901.

lacochran said...

"My great-grandmother came over in an immigrant ship from Wales, I think in 1901."

That's certainly what I'd expect a descendant of a criminal to say...

Titania said...

Australia?! I didn't know that.... where you carried around in kangaroo belly too (not sure what is appropriate name, but know what I am talking about)? Happy b-day!

Lisa said...

I'm glad they decided to take the small one home. Happy happy birthday!

Shannon said...

Lacochran - I did lie. It was 1906.

Titania - Yes, a kangaroo carried me around in its pouch.

Lisa - Thank you! Just think, I could be a bushranger or a beach bunny right now, if I'd only gone home with someone else.

f.B said...

Happy Birthday!

Being born in Australia has so many story possibilities. When I tell people I was born in Connecticut, they just ask if I'm a Republican.

Alex said...

Happy birthday!

Michael said...

No, no, darling. "Malaise" was all about Jimmy Carter in 1979. We still had Gerry Ford in 1976. An inheritance, so to speak.

Your adoring history major,


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