01 January 2016

Birthday Recollections - New Year's Eve

My father often told of the day of my birth, and of the circumstances leading up to it.

"Do you remember when you were born?" he'd start, not waiting for a reply. He related this so often that - eventually - I could says that I did, even if it was his memory.

My folks were at my paternal grandparents house getting ready for a New Year's Eve Party. The guests had yet to arrive.

Grandmother (I would later call her "Happy Day") had waxed the kitchen floor that morning, then spread newspapers across the area so people tracking in dirt, mud or snow wouldn't get the linoleum tile dirty.

In an adjacent room, on a side table, sat a fresh baked cake.

In a playful mood, my Dad snatched the cake from the table and began to run about the house, Gram and my mother chasing after him.

He ran through the kitchen and out the back door to the small yard between the house and the garage. No one followed him, and he stood there waiting for his pursuers.

It was cold that night, he was without a coat, just in his shirtsleeves, yet he waited. Still no one came out.

Finally (I'm certain he wasn't out there long) he went back inside with the cake.

When he came in he saw my mother, down on the floor splay legged with newspapers spread all in disarray.

My grandmother stood to one side shouting, "Oh my Lord! Her water broke!" and with quick dispatch my father rushed her to the hospital.

They had wed only five months before. I was born before the due date one hour and fourteen minutes before midnight New Year's Eve; in 1948, weighing 7 pounds, 2 ounces (3.2 kg). "Prematurely born" my father would recount.

Only after I'd turned 16 did my father confess that I was not a "pre-mee". I told him I had already figured that out.

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