But for the current generation, the tradition of exchanging the same birthday card back and forth was a choice, not a necessity, for Carmeletta Atchison Collins and her sisters, Evelyn Atchison Cooper and Glenda Atchison Chaney.
Collins, who is a retired Church of Christ minister's wife, lives in South Bend on a hill above the Brazos River. She is one of a family of seven children, known for their closeness in good times and bad.
“My sisters and I began sending the same birthday card back and forth in 1976,” Collins said. “Now we're on our 37th year of exchanging it.
Collins said that the three sisters' tradition honors a birthday ritual begun during the Great Depression by their two aunts. Money was so scarce that her two aunts had no other way to express their deep affection for each other.
The card's become a little faded, stained and the ink runs in places. The fact that's it's yellowing doesn't detract from what it represents.
(For the rest of the story, read the June 12 edition of The Graham Leader.)