Happy (Quarantined) Birthday!: Celebrations during the Time of the Coronavirus
Even a pandemic can’t stop birthday festivities. These Buzz neighbors shared all sorts of birthday magic that just can’t stay quarantined.
Although he’s been celebrating birthdays since 1917, Ira Scott’s 2020 quarantined birthday party might be the most memorable one yet. Meet 103-years-young Houston icon Ira Scott, a beloved member of the Houston ISD community for many years.
The coronavirus may have kept this patriarch from celebrating with his sons, Ira Jr., Carl and Vernon and their families, in person but with help from FaceTime and the residential staff at The Village of Meyerland, the festivities continued without a hitch.
Looking sharp, Ira dressed for the occasion in an all white suit, white shirt and black bowtie. That morning, Ira’s family dropped off a fancy birthday cake and a list of phone numbers for friends and family members who wanted to send birthday wishes to Ira. Throughout the day, Nicole Morales, Life Enrichment Director, helped coordinate FaceTime calls to about 10 different groups of family and friends. Nicole shared, “Ira would ask all of them if they liked his suit and then start giggling. It was an honor to spend the special day with Ira and his family.”
Happy Birthday, Ira - 103 never looked so good!
Heidi Fell had low expectations for her 29th birthday. She had celebrated that same “29th birthday” milestone for the past 11 years plus the Great Quarantine of 2020 canceled her traditional girls-night-out birthday dinner. On the night of her birthday, Heidi was getting ready to plop on the couch to catch some Netflix shows with husband, Eric, and children, Xander, a Bellaire High School junior and Sydney, a Pin Oak Middle School eighth grader.
Suddenly, they heard loud and persistent honking in front of their house. The Fells went to investigate and discovered a fun friend (who asked to remain anonymous) and family sitting in their SUV in the street. All the windows were down, dance music was blaring and the outside of the “mom limo” was decorated with festive birthday signs and balloons. The friend and her kids cruised by, waving and screaming, “Happy Birthday, Heidi!”
The birthday parade fun continued with another dozen cars slowly rolling by to hoot and holler at the birthday girl. “Float” highlights included smiling heads sticking out of sunroofs, rainbow-colored-wigged drivers, animal head costumes, a piñata, Mardi Gras beads and more. One generous family gifted Heidi with this year’s hottest birthday present: rolls of toilet paper.
Sweet sixteen (and social distancing)
Kate Davidson had been really excited for March 2020. She was looking forward to a trip to Italy with the Second Baptist School choir, a Spring Break trip to Atlanta to see her brother, Parker and turning Sweet 16! But party pooper coronavirus shut everything down.
Even though everyone was practicing social distancing the week of Kate’s birthday, her mom Julie was on a mission to still make her 16th special.
“My friend helped me secretly decorate the back porch to look like a party including a photo spot with props like a '16,' gloves and a mask on a stick to document this year’s unique birthday celebration,” she shared.
Julie sent out a SignUpGenius form for friends to select a time to drop by and surprise Kate from at least six feet away. Guests came through the side gate into the backyard. There were cupcakes and festive table decorations including hand sanitizer.
Kate enjoyed seeing friends, relatives and the kids she babysits. A special surprise was Christina Lynn, a favorite teacher, and Caroline Bolling, Kate’s big sister on the Golden Girls dance team. Caroline came bearing a quarantine survival kit containing some of Kate’s favorite things.
Kate shared, “What I expected to be one of the worst birthdays ever was quite possibly one of the best!”
Jenna Mercado’s friends were feeling bad that she would not be able to celebrate her 16th birthday with a special night at a rodeo concert as originally planned. Her friends and fellow Carnegie High School sophomores, Maia Vo, Ankitha Lavi and Esha Sharma, brainstormed a way to still make her celebration special.
Jenna was out of town for Spring Break and, the night before she returned to Houston, Maia, Ankitha and Esha contacted Jenna’s family for permission to go into the Mercados' backyard to leave clues for a surprise scavenger hunt.
The next day, the three friends FaceTimed Jenna and revealed their top-secret scavenger hunt. They told her to search for her first clue and they kept her company on FaceTime while she completed the scavenger hunt, which ended with her birthday present.
You don’t need any clues to realize that thoughtful friends like this are a real treasure.
Special sixth birthday
Grant Regan was having a hard time understanding why his sixth birthday party was cancelled. Thankfully, Grant’s mom, Stephanie, was determined to “Keep Calm and Birthday Party On” for Grant!
“I wanted to make things as special as possible so I reached out to Grant’s St. Vincent de Paul kindergarten classmates and friends to FaceTime with him. He was so surprised and thrilled with every call including one from his former preschool buddy, Luke DeFrehn.”
Other family celebrating at home with Grant were his big sis, Caroline, and little sis, Natalie.
Stephanie continued, “We set up a Zoom meeting so grandparents and other relatives could join in singing happy birthday, watching Grant blow out his candles and opening presents.”
Stephanie reflected, “Overall, Grant had a great day. At first he was disappointed, but we re-framed it as extending his birthday celebration for as long as it takes until we can celebrate with friends in person. These are strange times for sure, but we are all so lucky to be healthy and spending quality time with our families.”
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