So you are passing a major threshold on Thursday. You would rather not call attention to yourself on this special day. That is exactly in keeping with your approach to life. Give to others, expect nothing for yourself. Sorry, but your older brother wants to celebrate your birthday with a few stories about Renee Edelman.
You were born the middle child, between two boisterous boys. You were a tomboy, the ever-reliable goalie in our alley soccer games, the tough little member of the Gashouse Gang, willing to mix it up in snowball fights with the Bateman School ruffians. You were the secret weapon in our annual Thanksgiving Day football game with the hated cousins from Racine, who could not adjust to the idea that a girl could be such a reliable receiver!
You have beaten back several medical challenges, from AB blood incompatibility at birth to roseola to rheumatic fever. Your incredibly positive attitude was never more evident than during your enforced one year home confinement in third grade while your heart recovered from rheumatic fever. John and I slipped notes under the door and gave you daily updates on social activities. We even made sure you had the TV set in your room so you could watch the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, followed by your adored Topo Gigio, the little Italian mouse.
You brought class and intellect to our family. You actually were interested in the paintings when we went to the Art Institute in Chicago. You excelled in French and helped us to return safely when the crazy auto mechanic absconded with the three kids on a merry ride around Versailles when our dad did not know how to use the stick shift car with a choke. You were known at Chicago Latin School as the smartest kid in the class.
You were a pioneer in coeducation at Exeter and Yale. You were famous at Exeter for “the spray of Renee,” the perfumed trail that had high school boys high on life. Your photographic work on student yearbook, the PEAN, assured that the 1972 and 1973 editions were far superior to previous years. As our paths diverged in college, you held court with lacrosse players, grad students in architecture and members of the sailing team.
You have been devoted to the media business ever since you graduated from Columbia Journalism School in the early 80s. You were a successful working journalist at the Daily News, then pursued your craft at trade magazines and suburban papers. Your closest friends are journalists, such as David Kirkpatrick, Mike Kandell and Dennis Kneale.
You are a great contributor to the growth of our family PR firm. Your work on such clients as Veritas, Symbol, Canon, Adobe, Oracle, Avaya and others has firmly established you as the premier advisor on business media for technology companies. Your instincts, integrity and incredible work ethic make you a star.
Your warmth and unstinting involvement with my three children has made you the favorite aunt. In fact your periodic sneaking of candy and “low-fat” ice cream into the house has earned you the moniker “Aunt Sugar”. You have taught my childen to embrace the Internet and to be open to all things technological. You have also been a devoted daughter to your parents, Dan and Ruth, going home for every Jewish holiday, making sure that you are always in touch.
So happy birthday, Renee. Enjoy yourself on Thursday. As one who has been over that mountain and is now on the other side, rest assured you will wake up on August 5 the same person. You are treasured by your family, your friends, your colleagues and your clients. Love from your big brother.