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Franklin Square residents spread birthday cheer

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Michael and Molly Talbot thought their 10th birthday on March 25 would be their worst yet. Their mother, Deborah, erected a sign outside their house on Maloon Avenue in Franklin Square telling passersby to honk for their birthday, but Michael was just planning on spending the day playing video games alone, and Molly figured she would just play on her iPad and watch television rather than have the American Girl Doll tea party she dreamed of.

But around 2 p.m., the Talbots heard a loud commotion outside, where dozens of their friends’ families passed by in their cars wearing costumes, honking their horns and wishing the twins a happy birthday.

That moment became the twins’ favorite part of their birthday, their father John, recounted. Michael said he “loved it,” and thought “it was so fun,” and Molly said, “It blew my mind to see everyone come down the street.”

She had spoken to her friend, Alana Freifeld, that morning, and told her how she was disappointed in her birthday this year, as New Yorkers are encouraged to self-isolate to stop the spread of COVID-19. Fortunately, Alana’s mother, Dawn, overheard the conversation and immediately asked everyone in the children’s fourth-grade class at the Washington Street School if they could help make Michael and Molly’s birthday special by driving by their house.

Lauren McManamy, another mother of a boy in the class, then reached out to the members of Cub Scout Pack 372, which Deborah Talbot is the assistant den mother of. In the end, she said, they had nearly a dozen cars drive down the street to celebrate the twins’ birthday.

“I think it went well,” McManamy said, despite the poor weather and the parade being planned in only about four hours.

In fact, she said, the birthday parade was extended beyond just visiting the Talbot’s house, as Pack Leader Dorine Dand directed the group to another fourth-grader’s house, a 6-year-old’s house and another classmate’s house whose birthday was one week prior.

“We all felt like we were doing something to make someone’s day special,” said Dawn Freifeld, “and that felt great.”

She said she thought it was important to ensure that children are not feeling alone during the pandemic, and therefore created a Facebook group to organize more birthday parades for children in the Franklin Square community, based on the success of the Talbot’s parade.

“It gets everyone involved,” McManamy said of the group. “But I think it’s super important in this time to let these kids know the community is here. We will get through this together, be here for one another, and if that means [putting on] a parade, well then that’s what we’ll do.”

For more information about the birthday parade group, visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/199086638182516/.