June 9

Kage Baker would, in the ordinary course of her life, by now be sneaking surreptitious glances at her birthday presents. Which would be in a pile on the mantlepiece or the living room table. If she were still in the ordinary course of her life.

It was our custom to put out our birthday presents the evening before the birthday in question. The recipient was allowed to look closely, to handle slightly, to even shake them a little. Kage loved the suspense – she loved guessing, and moaning in frustration that she’d have to wait, wondering what weirdness in packaging I might have contrived in order to disguise what she was getting.  (I did that a lot.) I also lied, prevaricated, and flat out refused to confirm even her best guesses.

That was the whole point, you see. And believe me, Kage remembered what she’d guessed the night before, and crowed with triumph at every guess that was subsequently revealed to be correct. She did love to win …

The stack would sit there and shimmer all evening, and then be happily despoiled in the morning. It was a tradition, originally engendered by Kage – because she so enjoyed the anticipation, the sure knowledge that something great was coming but not … quite … yet. It was the other side of patiently working to achieve her goals: the fun of knowing a good thing was guaranteed, but holding back from until she just couldn’t stand it any more!

Tomorrow would have been her birthday. And this is just the time of the evening when I would ordinarily disappear into my room, wrap her gits with the dubious assistance of Harry – parrots do not enhance a present-wrapping experience – and then tote out the goodies to torment and tempt her.

I wish I could tonight. I hope someone does it.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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4 Responses to June 9

  1. Neassa says:

    Surely Momma Baker will know to do this. And there’ll be a wonderful book or two – like an autographed copy of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”. And Kage will tell stories about the times she guessed right – and the times you managed to surprise her.

    {Tears and hugs for you, love.}

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  2. Anne Baker says:

    June 10, 1952 – Mary Kate Genevieve Baker (that’s on her birth certificate) born at Queen of Angeles Hospital in the Silverlake district of Los Angeles, CA. The hospital closed years ago but the building is still there

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    • Kate says:

      So it is. And that “Mary Kate” was a deep dark secret until her 40’s – when she suddenly decided it was funny, and began telling people. But a less likely “Mary Kate” I never saw. And, going to Catholic school, I saw a lot of them …

      Kathleen kbco.wordpress.com

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      • Anne Baker says:

        Our godfather, Frank Harrington, was the only person who called her that. He made a point of writing it on her Christmas present tags and birthday cards. So Irish. I always suspected he was responsible for it appearing on her birth certificate, since he was at the hospital that day. (FYI – just sent you an e-mail!)

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