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It's a 70th birthday a toddler would love

Cheesecake for lunch and dressing teddy bears is great fun, so Sally Moir figured her friends would have a ball. She's right.

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 5, 2002

Sally Moir wanted to do something "fun, crazy, and different" for her birthday, so she invited 25 of her best girlfriends to a party.

Even before lunch, they feasted on desserts. Together, they danced the Chicken Dance.

They played dress up with teddy bears.

That was Saturday, the day before Moir turned 70.

"Not all 70-year-olds are old and gray," explained her friend Olene Kolk, who helped organize the party.

"We still like to have fun."

The women, most of whom live in the Pinellas County community of East Lake, met at International Plaza on Saturday. Moir began the party by treating her guests at the Cheesecake Factory and giving them each a $10 gift certificate toward a teddy bear at the mall's Build-A-Bear Workshop store.

But wait: Wasn't it her birthday? Shouldn't she get the gifts?

"I wanted to do this for my friends," she said. "Instead of getting a bunch of silly gifts, I wanted to give back to them on this day."

Her friends, after all, had provided strength and support since her husband, David, went into a nursing home. They had taken turns visiting him and bringing food.

Saturday was a day to be young again.

At the Build-A-Bear Workshop store, Moir donned a silvery top hat, sunglasses, red boa and a huge smile while her friends took turns saying nice things about her.

They called her courageous and wonderful, a great friend, good at golf and tennis, though not so skilled at cards.

While groups of children and their mothers looked on, the women hammed it up with the Chicken Dance and then wove a line dance through the store.

"We have so much fun together," said Teddy Stephen. "We're all from different states, yet we've become like sisters."

The toughest part of the day was choosing, dressing and accessorizing a stuffed animal. There were white, black and chocolate-colored bears, spotted Dalmatians, striped kitties, curly-haired bunnies, monkeys and elephants.

"We never had anything like this as kids," said Mary Yimoyines. "You couldn't even buy things like this, let alone make them yourself."

First, they affixed a heart through a hole in each critter's backside.

Before long, tennis-playing bears, golfing bears, patriotic bears, ballerina bears, and handyman bears began to emerge. Some planned to give the bears to grandchildren or husbands, while others planned to keep them.

"I'm going to donate it to a child in a hospital," said Evelyn Hickling.

Some of the bears would move on.

But the memory of Moir's birthday would linger.

"This is really original," said Jean Hager. "I've had more fun at this party than any I can remember. Why should only kids have all the fun?"

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