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You’re 12 years old. It’s your birthday. Write for ten minutes on that memory. GO.

Why couldn’t it be 13? I can’t for the life of me remember my twelfth birthday so therefore I am making an executive and I will share my memories of my thirteenth birthday, trust me it was a good one.

My mother is the baby of the family so I have older cousins and that can be a very good thing at times. One of my oldest cousins Martine, who is fourteen years older than I, was married and had a baby, she lived near Marseilles in France and for four years running, during my teenage years, she would take in myself, my little sister and her younger sister and brother for a period of six weeks. Can you imagine spending six weeks near the French Riviera when you are a teenager? It was glorious. It was a family affair and my cousin Martine spoiled us, she cooked these special meals and there were fun parties on the weekends with her husband’s business colleagues/friends.

My birthday, Martine and her husband decided, was a perfect excuse for a big party. Did I mention that Martine’s house was right on the Mediterranean, her backyard led right to the private beach and the Sea. We always ate on the terrace and the Mediterranean was right there in all of her glory. Those years were idyllic.

Anyway, the presents were standout one of my favorite presents ever received; the Tommy album by The Who and the Rubik’s Cube. I played my Tommy album ever day for what felt like forever and I played with my Rubik’s cube everyday until I solved it, three months later. I still have it in my bedroom, right on the mantle of the fireplace. Martine made my favorite dessert at the time, homemade rice pudding, on top of all of the other things she was making for the party. Our other cousin Didier was also staying with us and he is the family favorite; he should be a comedian, he is so funny. At every family gathering we all try to make sure that we are within hearing distance to Didier because you are always guaranteed to laugh, outright belly laugh when he gets going.

We ate, we drank, we laughed and we danced. That was one of the best birthday party’s ever in my memory.