I love October. Always have.

When I was a kid, it meant not only MY birthday, but my dad’s. Those were the days when we both celebrated them. Now neither of us do.

But October 4 was my Dad’s day. And none was more memorable than his 50th. (That seemed like such an old age at the time).

Harriet had secured a party room on Columbus’s northeast side and a celebration was planned. Family, friends and assorted business colleagues were included. (I recall my father’s uneasiness at the mix that night—worlds appeared to be colliding).

Not everyone was thrilled with the scheduling. You see his birthday fell on a Saturday that year—and not just any Saturday. That night, in those pre-cable days, ABC had chosen to nationally televise the OSU/UCLA football game. This, to my father’s Damon Runyan cronies, was a major predicament.

Not to worry. After the requisite surprise was shouted out, Bert Hines and the gin players from Aquamarine Swim Club slid out the back door ONLY to reemerge schlepping a big color TV. Deftly, they plugged it in at one corner of the room, and for the ensuing three hours stayed riveted to the screen as the Buckeyes kicked the crap out of the Bruins IN LOS ANGELES. (And they even turned the volume down as the rest of us sang “Happy Birthday.”)

But October meant more than birthdays. It was the World Series. Back before they prostituted baseball with expansion and multi-tiered playoffs, this was the month. (As in Reggie Jackson, “Mr. October.”) THE Series of my youth was in 1960. Mr. Goode permitted transistor radios that day, and when the bell rang at 3:30 the top of the ninth was just ending. Bolting across the street to my house (to watch the balance in glorious black and white), I heard shouting. It was over! Mazeroski had just ended it all with the first walk-off home run in World Series history. I never made it home, but retreated to the schoolyard to join the antics.

October has meant, though, more than just sports. It’s been home to two of my major Coming Of Age events. The 27th (1962) I was Bar Mitzvah in the midst of the Cuban Missle Crisis. The 18th (1969), commemorates the blind date meeting of the ultimate mother of my children. (Historians will note that although JFK averted war, ultimately, I could not).

But that was then. This is now. And while today I warmly recall the riches of past Octobers, I honor October 14, 1997 above them all. (You see, on October 13, 1997 I had my last drink).


It is my sobriety date.


It is my second social security number. No, make it my first.


It is the day I began to reclaim my life, one day at a time.

The gift of sobriety is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only to me, but to those around me.

October is my “anniversary month” in recovery. And as long as I keep on keepin’ on, it will be the warmest month of the year.

Regardless of the weather.


  1. Jackie says:

    Happy Anniversary! Truly amazing…

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