Celebrating birthdays in the darkness of the eclipse

SIDNEY — What’s better than having a birthday party with all your friends present? Having your birthday on April 8 as the total solar eclipse happens throughout Ohio.

“I feel like the whole world will be celebrating with me,” said Sidney resident Anne Elson, who turns 75 on April 8. “It’s going to be a memorable birthday.”

Elson said her children are planning a birthday party for her. All will be wearing T-shirts commemorating Elson’s birthday and the eclipse.

“We’re going to have fun food for the the moon,” Elson said. “We’ll have Blue Moon Beer. We found out there’s a shortage of it.”

“We are also doing a half moon caprese platter, Crescent sandwiches, Saturn ring dip (peppers and chip dip) dark chocolate moon landing cake,” said Elson’s daughter, Courtney.

The other fun food items on the menu are being planned by her children.

“We’ll probably have 10 to 15 people at the party,” Elson said. “Some might be coming from Columbus and Indianapolis, I’m not sure yet.

“I don’t count my birthdays much anymore,” Elson said, “But this will count for a lot.”

Chuck Schierloh, of Lima, will be celebrating his 76th birthday on the eclipse day.

“My daughters (from Illinois and New Jersey) and their family will celebrate with me and my wife here in Lima,” Schierloh said.

Most milestone birthdays are celebrated with fun, food and cake. This year, Christi Thomas, of Sidney, gets to add solar eclipse to her celebration.

“Turning 70 doesn’t sound like much, as most of my classmates have already achieved this milestone,” Thomas said. “But since this year it coincides with the Great North American Solar Eclipse, it will be one of my most memorable birthdays.

“I remember when I turned 16 I had a Raggedy Ann-themed birthday, and when I turned 45 I was treated to a surprise party.”

This year’s event tops other special birthdays already.

“I previously thought it was special that I shared my birthday with John Schneider from the Dukes of Hazard, except he’s six years younger,” she said. “The solar eclipse is a unique event for all who will get to see it, but turning 70 makes it extra special.

“My brother has already given me a T-shirt with a cat wearing sunglasses and the date 4.8.2024. If I can get some Chinese for lunch, it will pretty much be a good day.”

She’ll also be thinking about a special uncle.

“I had hoped to talk about it with my uncle Tom because I remember him helping my brother and me see an eclipse once with a cardboard box and pinhole,” she said, “but he passed away last summer. I will be thinking about him on that day, though.”

“No big celebration, just hanging out with millions of people looking skyward.”

Diane “DeDe” Mott, of Tipp City, is taking to the skies to return to Ohio for the event. Mott is a snowbird and visits Naples, Florida, each winter. She will be celebrating her 77th birthday on April 8.

“I bought my plane ticket early on to fly home for the eclipse,” Mott said. “I decided to make a special effort to be home for the eclipse. I hope it’s not cloudy that day.”

She said some years her birthday falls on Easter, but this year it’s the “big kahuna” since the eclipse is happening the same day.

“I’ll stay at home and go out in the backyard to watch it,” Mott said. “I have talked with my daughter who lives in Columbus, but I’m not sure if she’s coming home or not.”

Mott said she already has her eclipse glasses.

“I ordered them online,” said Mott. “I was careful about what I ordered. And I ordered a half a dozen in case someone shows up that day.”

Mott said she had one surprise when she ordered her airline ticket, a price increase.

“I fly Allegiant, which has a direct flight to Dayton,” said Mott. “The ticket cost $240. Usually it’s $80.”