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Phyllis McGuire, a columnist for The Eagle, was feted last month with a 90th birthday parade along Spring Street in Williamstown — escorted by a police car and a firetruck.

WILLIAMSTOWN — I never kept my age a secret, nor did I shout it from the housetop. But, it was beyond my control that my 90th birthday became public knowledge; well, in Williamstown.

That happened because my daughter, Jennifer, would not allow that milestone birthday to go by without a celebration.

A few weeks ago, Jennifer came to me with the idea of repeating for my birthday what she had done for Christmas, when she came to my front door unannounced.

“I’m not coming in,” she had said and, after giving me a gift, drove back to her home in Queens.

I put the kibosh on repeating that type of visit.

“Don’t come up. I won’t open the door,” I told Jennifer.

Nonetheless, here I am, trying to thank all the people who made my birthday memorable.

Jennifer not only came to Williamstown on my birthday, but organized a Phyllis McGuire 90th Birthday Parade on Spring Street. I was surprised, humbled and delighted all rolled into one.

There I was, little me, with my name on the marquee of the Images Cinema in a birthday message.

At Pappa Charlie’s Deli, where sandwiches are named after actors, a poster on the door read TRY A PHYLLIS MCGUIRE SANDWICH.

I believe that was what most impressed my son, Christopher, a Williams College alumnus.

“I never knew anyone who had a sandwich named for them,” he said.

I was too excited to eat, but I heard that the Phyllis birthday sandwich was delicious.

As I drove onto Spring Street around 2:30 the afternoon of Feb. 25, birthday girl crown on my head, Jennifer ran alongside the car.

“Look, Mom, college kids are here,” she said, hand gesturing to a group of Williams College students who were shouting “happy birthday” and waving.

I felt tears welling in my eyes. I took a deep breath and swallowed hard.

“God bless you. God bless you,” I said as I stretched out my arm to the students.

Oh, my, it must have looked like I thought I was the pope blessing people who had come to see him.

Some people pointed to the placards they were holding: HAPPY BIRTHDAY PHYLLIS and WE LOVE YOUR ARTICLES. “Thank you,” I sang out loudly.

To others who had gathered to greet me as I drove down Spring Street, wearing a face mask, I waved, turning my hand slowly and gracefully as Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth does when riding in a car or carriage at public functions.

But, I had no delusions about my place in the world. It was only little me, who never in my wildest dreams pictured a parade in my honor.

Tethered balloons swayed to and fro, multicolored confetti floated in the air.

“But, wait, what is that I see?” I said to myself as I put my foot on the brake: “Yes, it is Stephen Tompkinson” (my all-time favorite actor).

Well, it actually was a “big head” of him.

Jennifer had a couple of those “big heads’’ of Stephen (20-inch head photographs on sticks) made up for the parade, plus placards that read HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOVE STEPHEN.

Jennifer said of organizing the parade: “Whenever I called someone to ask for help, they would say, ‘For Phyllis, sure. We know Phyllis.’ “

I don’t know what that says about me as far as gaining the professional attention of the Police Department and the Fire Department goes, but I got a kick out of a police car and a firetruck leading the way, sirens blaring, as I drove on Spring Street.

As I write this, my dining room table is filled with birthday cards and gifts, the lights on my pink birthday sash are still shining, the lights on my birthday girl crown have gone out.

The love, affection and kindness showered on me on my 90th birthday will warm my heart for as long as God grants that I continue my journey on Earth.

Phyllis McGuire writes from her home in Williamstown. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of The Berkshire Eagle.