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First lady's birthday blitz

Hillary Rodham Clinton's 50th birthday fest turned into a nostalgic trip Monday that retraced the steps of an idyllic childhood in an Ozzie and Harriet home town.

From that daunting walk to kindergarten on the first day of school to the day she got kicked out of high school history class for laughing, the first lady explored her past and let America look in.

Standing outside the two-story home where she grew up in this Chicago suburb, she mused aloud, "I can hear in the back of my head all the yells and screams of all of us playing here all those years ago.

"Kids still need the same things we got on the corner of Wisner and Elm."

The birthday blitz had an almost surreal quality to it: The first lady and friends going back to grammar school tooled around Park Ridge streets in a caravan that stretched to more than a dozen buses and cars.

Before noon, Mrs. Clinton had been serenaded with the birthday song four times, two cities (Chicago and Park Ridge) had proclaimed it "Hillary Rodham Clinton Day" and the corner of Elm and Wisner had been renamed "Rodham Corner." And there were more events to come: The president was flying in for a bash at the Chicago Cultural Center.