Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How traditions start.

Yesterday, I sent my mother an email asking for the exact time of my birth, and her response was a reminiscence about my birth in New London, Connecticut.  Since it was a Naval Hospital, young corpsmen served as the nursing staff.  I was my parents' third child, and her mother (who we grandchildren all called "Gangeen") had come up to help.  I've heard my birth story many times over the years, and now tell my own kids the story of their birthdays.  When my older son was a little boy he used to listen raptly, then when I'd finished, say, "Tell me again!"

My mother's email about my birthday:

Here's what I remember about the day you were born. We were living in Ledyard in a rental house, waiting for base housing. I was 23. Gangeen had come to help me after you were born. Unfortunately, the doctor, when I asked, told me that she would need to be there by the 13th (funny how I remember that so clearly) even though my due date was the 26th. He thought you would be early. His name was Harry Pine, and he wrote on my folder to call him when I went into labor, though there were several obstetricians on staff at the Naval Hospital. Looking back, I don't know why. He also delivered [your brother], same deal: "Call him." So Gangeen came up on the bus from Chattanooga, and we waited. And waited. She watched me all the time for signs of impending labor. She passed her time toilet-training [your sister]. The morning of the 29th, [your father] had the duty, and went in to work, taking the Karmann Ghia. And I started having contractions. Around noonish, I think, we called Tina, the next-door neighbor, who was also my landlord, and she brought her car into our driveway. Gangeen ran out, carrying my suitcase, which had been packed, literally, for weeks, and clutching [your sister] by the hand. They all piled in the car, and Tina started backing out. I yelled, "Wait for me!" You were the prettiest newborn I've ever seen. All the corpsmen thought so, too. They misunderstood your name, and made a little sign for your bassinet in the nursery that said, "Candy." None of the other bassinets had labels. And from somewhere they found a little ribbon (red) for your hair. When they brought you to me to go home--two young men--they told me they didn't want to let you go.

41 comments:

  1. Oh, what a BEAUTIFUL story!

    "You were the prettiest newborn I've ever seen. All the corpsmen thought so, too. When they brought you to me to go home--two young men--they told me they didn't want to let you go."

    How sweet!

    Thanks so much for sharing this story, girl!

    X

    P.S. I'm the third child in my family as well!

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    1. I admit, I don't get tired of the story!

      P.S. Well of course you are!

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  2. its pretty cool to know the actual story of your birth...i dont really know my own....but my boys have asked for theirs and we told them....interesting the details we remember...

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    1. I want my kids to grow up knowing about their day. Or at least,wwhat I remember of it.

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  3. Awwww...they didn't want to let you go! That is sweet! Are you having a good birthday?

    My birth time is on my birth certificate, so I've always remembered it. My mom has no stories because they just knocked her out, and then I was there. Dad in the waiting room. Not much to tell.

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    1. It was okay. Some good in it, some bad.

      I went down to the bomb shelter to get out my birth certificate from the safe. 3:22 pm.

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  4. I know nothing about my birth except that it was in 1947 during one of the coldest winters on record. My parents' first priority after feeding me must have been keeping me warm.

    I wonder why they thought you were called Candy?

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    1. I've always liked my mother's tradition of talking about my birth on my birthday.

      And maybe because I was sweet? ;-)

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  5. seems you started to wow the boys early . . . . .

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  6. Sweet story, and how nice that your mother remembers so many interesting and special little details. I like hearing the story of my birth too. I think I should ask my parents to put it in writing too, so it won't be forgotten. (Love that your grandmother is called "Gangeen". When I first read it I thought I saw, "Gangrene"!!"

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    1. The name is my older sister's mispronunciation of Granny. Even our friends called her Gangeen.

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  7. Aw....charming the guys from the first.
    I've always thought that our birthdays should always include our mothers (and fathers if they were there). They at least remember the day, and it was a big day for them, too.
    A very sweet birth story. I am now going to write down my own children's birth stories. It's a great idea. My mom hasn't told me a lot about mine, except that she had been out with friends the night before, and she remembers having eaten lemon meringue pie. I hate lemon meringue pie.

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    1. I was thinking about that, too. I plan to write down each one, and then post it on their actual birthdays so I'll have it here, too.

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  8. How sweet of a story and glad you have told your sons' birth stories to them; my mom had told us our birth stories, but she left out the part on my brother's birth about him being a C-section (back in 1956 during a tornado warning of all things and thankfully the experienced OB/GYN had to stick around at the hospital because he couldn't leave because of the tornado warning, otherwise iffy if mom or son would have survived, though glad they did since I was born a year after him.) But she never told him he was a C-seciton because she thought he would be upset that he had caused her so much pain. It wasn't until after she died and we were telling stories that I mentioned it to him. Granted he was now 50 years old. My kids are both adopted but they know their "how they came home to our family stories"

    betty

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    1. That's funny. It never occurred to me not to tell my son her was a C-section.

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  9. very nice to have that story. I don't know mine. I should write down the parts I remember for our kids.

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  10. What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing it.

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  11. A friend of mine has developed a late life interest in astrology and has been trying to cast my horoscope based on the Indian system for which he wanted the exact time of my birth. The problem is that there are two times given on the certificate of birth, one the war time then prevailing and the Indian standard time. There is a great deal of trouble trying to reconcile these two into one so that my friend can get on with the casting and reading.

    About fifteen years ago, my late cousin who was fifteen years older than I was then, one day had come over to my place for tea and casually suggested that we go out for some shopping. He then guided me to the nursing home where I was born and took me inside to introduce me to the staff there and the doctor in attendance who was the son of the doctor who had delivered me! Can you imagine what an outing that turned out to be for me?

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    1. That's a really cool. But why were you born in a nursing home? Or does that have a different meaning in India?

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    2. In India Nursing Homes are smaller than hospital establishments and are usually only for maternity cases.

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    3. Oh, thanks for explaining that. Here they are primarily for older people.

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  12. I love this story. Mine was a panic ridden ride in an ambulance to another hospital 20 miles away with my mother screaming in agony. She was 4'11", I was nearly 9lbs and a caesarian was forbidden by the RC church. It's a wonder we both didn't die.
    XO
    WWW

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  13. I enjoyed reading your story from your mother. She has a great memory!

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    1. Helps that she's been telling me the story every year for many, many years!

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  14. how sweet the way the corpsmen were so taken with you. that's just a charming part of the story.

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    1. Looking back, I realize now the corpsmen were hardly more than kids themselves and probably missing family.

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  15. i've told my kids their stories. one day maybe i will find the person who can tell me my own. i've often just joked that i was hatched from an alien egg.

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    1. WHich would make your kids half-alien. :-)

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  16. That is exactly how a tradition, and someone who appreciates tradtions, is born! Sweet story. I have heard mine and it is rather harrowing. My kids all know theirs. I think we all love hearing how we entered the world.

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    1. I think it's a nice thing to be able to know about yourself, if that's possible.

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  17. beautiful story.
    always nice to welcome a new life.

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  18. Oh, that closing sentence: GORGEOUS.

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