“When are we truly ourselves?” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Donna Ross by ©Camila Gargantini

“When Donna and I spoke over the phone to arrange a date for her session, I got the impression that she was a super easy going, carefree person that loved going for walks along the park and beach with her dog. I thought that would be the perfect place to do the shoot and include her four legged buddy. We met along Johnson Beach in Barrie and had a blast.” – Camila G

Image by © Camila Gargantini

An Interview with Donna

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. Pool parties with family & friends. It’s the best thing about having a bday in Aug.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. Growing up, I don’t remember celebrating any birthdays. My dad was an alcoholic & all the money went to booze until he quit drinking when I was 15. My dad used to go out of his way to make you miserable on your birthday. I think ( my own theory), that he thought if you were miserable & crying you wouldn’t expect anything special for your birthday & he wouldn’t feel guilty for not getting you anything.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. My dad got me a sweet 16 ring for my 16th. Shocked the hell out of me.

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?

A. Nope. Birthdays are for eating what you want on that day be it a pound of mussels or a container go hagan daz ice cream.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. It’s the experiences you have with family & friends that make the day not what you get. I treasure memories of fencing at a bus stop with my best friend using French bread sticks as swords on the way to an event, seeing Robin Williams do his comedy before he passed away, going down to TO & going nuts shopping & dining with friends & of course the pool parties my mom gave me after my dad died.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. My sister has her bday ~2 weeks b4 me. Every year we spilt the time difference between the 2 bday so & pick a day to go out to dinner ( usually Indian food-yum!). She pays for my dinner & I pay for hers lol.