54 years ago today I was born. Good day to begin my blog. My mother always told me that just before I was born my Dad left for a few minutes to buy some shoes and when he got back to the hospital I had already arrived. Of course this was back in the days when Dads were not permitted at the births. I guess they just waited it out in a small room similar to TV where Ricky waited while Lucy gave birth to Little Ricky. A small room filled with only men and cigarette smoke, the dads to be either reading the newspaper or pacing the floor. That’s how I’ve pictured it anyway.
So for decades that was my birth story. Then several years ago I noticed on my birth certificate that I was born at 5:26am. Where was my Dad out looking for shoes at that hour? This was 1954. Nothing but a hospital was open before daylight. This was even long before mini marts and 7-11s. So did my mom get my birth story mixed up with one of my 7 siblings? I had asked her this about 5 years ago just as her Alzheimer's was beginning to surface. By then she said she couldn’t remember. So I guess I will never know. My dad just shrugs his shoulders when I ask him, as if to say ‘how I am suppose to remember 8 birth stories?’ So I guess I don’t have a real birth story. For this reason, among others, I plan to use this blog to write the birth stories of my 4 sons on their birthdays.
My mom also told me when she was pregnant with me she was hoping for twin girls. She had 2 names picked out, Julie and Jill, and she wanted to use them both. She thought it would be improper to name me Julie and thought I would need the formal name of Julia. But she did not like the name Julia. So being I turned out to be one girl rather than two, she went with Jill. My middle name Diane was after her good friend years ago, Diane Creech. This friend of hers died from breast cancer in the 60s or 70s.
I weighed 8 lbs, 2 oz, and to quote my mom from my baby book,
“Not too pretty yet. (there goes the theory that all mothers think their newborns are beautiful) Doctor said she was born “sunnyside up” and took a few days before she straightened out!”
Mom would often talk about how women would have to stay in bed for a week to 10 days in the hospital before being discharged after giving birth. I notice from this hospital bill that we went home just 2 days later. That’s about how it is now. Check out also how the rooms were just $12. a day. The delivery room was $20. Bet they worried about that price. The last price on the bill was for baby beads at $1.31. Must not have been optional. Can’t picture my parents agreeing to that. (Go back to my picture above and check out that necklace. Looks like something from Dollar World. They paid $1.31 for that back in 1954!)
I came home to one brother, Richard (who we back then unfortunately called Dicky) who was 22 months old. Out of all her children, we were the closest in age, except for the twins.
My beautiful mom who seemed to be pregnant more often than not. Here she is with me, Johnny, and Dicky. Robin was born a few months later so this was 1958.
1954 with my Dad:
My brothers and I, about 1958. Five more kids yet to be born.
Here I am at age 6. Had to include this because my mother loved this picture:
I was very advantaged growing up because I had such great parents who were totally committed to our home and family. Last year on my birthday my mom was living with us for the last 3 ½ weeks of her life. She was in the final stages of Alzheimer’s but she still knew her family. She couldn’t talk much at all and she was completely bedridden but when I said to her last April 3rd, “Mom, it’s my birthday today! Aren’t you so happy to be with me?” She smiled and said, “yes”. I knew she was.