An Unexpected Anniversary

Happy 94 Years, Darlene Costner

Way back in the oughts, sometime not long after I began this blog 15 years ago, two readers became my friends. I'm pretty sure they were my first online friends.

They both were (and still are) my elders. Back then, I thought it would be nice to celebrate birthdays of TGB readers online, and I started with these two “first friends”. Then I realized I couldn't possibly do that without making TimeGoesBy a birthday-only blog, and I surely did not want that.

So I didn't add new birthday celebrations but I kept these two, Millie Garfield and Darlene Costner, celebrating their birthdays each year.

Today is Darlene's 94th birthday. Think of it – 94 years. Earlier this week, I mentioned that I'm getting to be fairly old-ish, 78. Yeah, right. Both Darlene and Millie have always enjoyed pointing out that compared to them (they are the same age), I am just a kid.

Poking around the bookshelves here looking for something to quote that is better than I could write for the birthday of someone who has made it this long, I ran across my collection of books by essayist and former U.S. Poet Laureate, Donald Hall. I know many of you are familiar with his work.

This is a vignette from Hall's 2018 collection, A Carnival of Losses: Notes on Nearing 90 - that Darlene might have written herself. Not the biographical details, of course, but the tone, the attitude and understanding of achieving great age that, according to this excerpt, began in Hall's life before he had reached that point himself.

This is from an essay titled, “Five of Them” - referring to his grandchildren - and recounting his grandmother Lucy's 90th birthday:

”Jane [his wife] and I...arrived as scheduled on April 22, 1993. We had arranged in secret for her grandchildren to bring her great-grandchildren for a visit the next day, a surprise on her birthday.

“Andrew and his wife, Natalie arrived first with two daughters and a son, closely followed by Philippa with two daughters. I preserve the gathering in a huge photograph stuck to my refrigerator.

“Jane posed us squeezed onto a sofa around my mother and her perpetual caftan, babies and children and grown-ups, everyone smiling, my mouth wide open. “We had brought a birthday cake. After a joyous hour, I noticed that Lucy was exhausted, sagging into her seldom-used sofa.

“At my urging the visitors packed up and departed while I steered the ninety-year-old to take a nap on the reclining mechanical chair – where she lived out the late track of her life, where she wrote many letters, where she listened to the radio Red Sox, where she read the same Agatha Christies over and over.”

You can learn a lot from a writer as talented as Donald Hall.

Happy Birthday, Darlene – and let's all the rest of us here today join together in singing the traditional Happy Birthday song:

Darlene Costner 87 years oldMuch love and many hugs, Darlene.


Enjoy this day and y your 94th ear throughout, Darlene.

You continue to communicate valuable thoughts and information, with no nonsense, and strongly share your perceptions and reflections, giving us virtual friends your gifts.

Only wish I could meet you, as did Nana. But distance doesn't lessen this admiration one bit.

Don't kick your heels up, or dance a jig, or sing at the top of your lungs. Soak in the feelings coming your way from the many who care and value your writings here.

I hope there's cake.

Cheers to a woman who knows how to keep on, keepin' on,

Ha! The 'y' that went rogue goes before the 'ear.'

A very Happy Birthday!!!
Hugs, Redstone

Happy birthday, beautiful woman at 90.

So often, I have enjoyed reading your comments here.

Cheers and carry on ......

Happy 90th birthday, Darlene! May you have a magical day🎊🎉🎈🍧🎂🌹


Happy Birthday, Darlene, and may you have many more.

You have caught up with my mother, who was 94 in April. 1925 must have been a good year!

Make that 94th birthday magic....someday I will learn to proof read! May you have a joyous year Darlene!💕

Happy birthday, Darlene! You are a wonderful addition to this blog. When I am in a hurry and can't get to all the comments, I do a quick run to see what you and Millie might have written. I know it will always be worth it!

Thanks, Ronni.

Oh my goodness. I just realized your birthday is number 94. My glaring mistake !!

At times like this I like to blame my eyes, and I hope it is not a failing mind. I blame my double vision and a growing third cataract.

I hope my error will be excused and met with understanding here. Happy birthday, Darlene. Be well.

Best wishes as you begin your 95th year, Darlene! Your comments always hit home with me, and I thank you for your honesty and wisdom. Respect!

Auguri, cara Darlene. I always thoroughly enjoyed your blog and am always eager to read your comments on TGB and I’m grateful to be able to wish you a Happy Birthday ... with laughter and the appreciation you deserve.

Darlene, every time I head to the Comments, I do a quick look-through to find one that you might have contributed for that day. Those I read first. And I treasure them all.

A very happy 94th! Take good care of yourself. You are cherished by many of us.

cheers, Ruth-Ellen

Happy 94th Birthday,
Dearest Darlene!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You make today the Happiest.

Happy Birthday Darlene. You are such a lovely person. Have a wonderful day filled with smiles knowing you are treasured

Cheers, Darlene! It's my great pleasure to know you through your comments here. Wishing you a super birthday and many more to come.

Happy Happy Happy Birthday Darlene!!!

That's a lovely photo of you, Darlene. In a big way or a small way, whoop it up today! Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday Darlene!
When you were still blogging I always enjoyed your thoughtful comments on my blog. To read your blog “Darlene’s Hodgepodge” was always stimulating. You were not shy with your political statements but always with a great sense of humor. You are an amazing lady and it is a pleasure to now read your comments on Time Goes By. Have a happy day! Hugs, VB

Hope your birthday is wonderful. So glad to read your comments here! Have another great year, Darlene!

Happy Birthday Darlene!

Until recently, I lived in Tucson as a painter mostly working in the Botanical Garden, and I often thought of you. I always enjoy your posts. Have a terrific birthday!


Page Day

Have a fine day today, Darlene! Like the folks above, I treasure your comments on this blog.


I am only 73, but my Mom is 94...just like you!

Like someone said, 1925 was a very good year :)

Hugs and have a great day...and many more...

A very HAPPY BIRTHDAY and you are an inspiration to all of us!

Happy Birthday Beautiful Lady!

Happy birthday, Darlene! Sending you a Big Apple Hug.

Congratulations and Happy Birthday, Darlene.

Happy Birthday Darlene! I love the picture of you - what a beautiful face :-)

Happy birthday Darlene, and make sure your legs don’t go out from under you ;-)

Thank you so much, Ronni and thanks to all of you who said such nice things in your birthday wishes. I treasure each and every one.

That picture of me was taken by Nana the first time she visited me and is years old. More wrinkles, spots and sags have changed me as you can see in a previous photo of Nana and me posted by Ronni recently. Where, oh where is photoshop when you need it?

94 years, 7 months, 1 week, here … so, "happy birthday", youngster!

I love you Darlene.

And I love your comments.

Have a great birthday!!


Your Canadian Fan.

Happy Birthday Darlene!

We are in the same age category - Old. Old - We also share a precious friendship with Ronni who got use together.

I used to comment more often but now when I read what you have to say, I think to myself, "exactly what I would have said." You express yourself so well! You tell it the way it is. Keep on commenting and I'll keep on reading.


Happy Birthday Darlene! I hope your day went exactly as you wished...and the same goes for your 95th year!

I so enjoy your comments...always "well said"!

Have a good one, Darlene! Ninety-four is special.

Happy Birthday, Darlene! You are a remarkable lady who doesn’t let anything stop her from overcoming life’s challenges....and you have fun along the way.....my way of living.

Best wishes, Darlene. What I like best about you is that you don’t hesitate to “toss Pollyanna in the dustbin” and tell it like it is. That is, that old age not only is not for sissies, but it’s not always a bed of roses for those of us brave enough to endure the years as they pile on. Chin up. Carry on.

I'm getting to this post late tonight, and you may have turned in by now after a day of kicking up your heels in wild celebration, but it's still your birthday for a while longer, and I hope it's been a wonderful one! Best wishes for another good year!

Happy birthday Darlene. You look great. Have an awesome day.

Happy happy birthday to a beautiful lady. 🎈🎶🎉

Darlene, you were one of the first who commented on my beginning writing
about 11 years ago. Write more then comment
but always remember you
Happy Birthday and love to you. I remember how worried I was when you stopped writing
and found out you were in the hospital 8 or 9 years ago.

Dear Darlene,
You are an inspiration to all of us. Wishing you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

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