Cheapskate brothers exchange same birthday card 37 years

Our Hotshots movie reviewer has a tradition going

| Mar 17, 2010

The world's most well-traveled birthday card? (front)

The world's most well-traveled birthday card? (front)

In 1973, my brother, who lives in Colorado Springs and who is six years younger than I am, sent me a “cheapskate” birthday card for my Jan. 7 birthday, which indicated that it was just a card for my birthday, but no present. His birthday was (and still is) March 7, and so I thought it would be a good joke to send him the same birthday card back two months later.

Inside of the card. Magnifying glass optional

Inside of the card. Magnifying glass optional

We have continued this cheapskate joke every year since 1973, writing a note on the card. Consequently, we have filled up all of the inside of the card, which is now held together by tape, and are halfway down the back of the card.  

Further proving our cheapskate nature, one year I sent the card back to him early in order to send it before the price of stamps went up. A couple of times, I just took it with me on a visit and handed it to him personally. One year, he didn’t know that the price of stamps had gone up and he mailed it with an old stamp, but the Post Office delivered it anyway to me with no postage due.

I recently sent him the card the week for this year’s birthday, March 7.

After doing Google searches, I now believe we have the distinction of being the two people in the world with the longest-running exchange of the same birthday card.

Further searches show that in December, 2009, two women were written about who have been exchanging the same birthday card for only 32 years, and in 2006 a story was written about two brothers in Texas who had been exchanging the same birthday card since 1964 — 42 years. But I believe that chain was broken off because I can find nothing about them later than 2006.

Another coincidence

And, oh yes, there’s another funny coincidence between my brother and me.

In 1967, I had a motorcycle accident up Four Mile Canyon west of Boulder that caused broken bones and a concussion that knocked me unconscious with head injuries for 10 days and put me in the hospital for 21 days, preventing me from getting my Master of Arts degree at C.U., which I was attending at the time after having served three years in the Army. I was released from Boulder Community Hospital the day before my wife gave birth to our son.

Then, in 1971, my brother was involved in an automobile accident in San Jose, Calif. that put him in the hospital in intensive care for 27 days and required him to recuperate at home in Colorado Springs for six months with head injuries and a broken hip. When my father and I met him at Stapleton Airport in Denver to drive him home to Colorado Springs, I greeted him with, “So, do you always have to do everything I do?”