My parents were married in 1950 and had their first child, Michael (Mickey) sixteen months later. The following year my sister Rosanne was born. Living with two little children in a one bedroom apartment was hard so Mom and Dad thought it was time to build a home. They paid $1,500 dollars for a 1/3 acre lot in Murray, Utah in 1953. They paid off the lot in two years and started building their home in the fall of 1955, just three months after their third child, Donald (Donny) was born.
Since Dad was an excavator and owned a construction company with his brother, he did most of the work including the foundation, septic tank, concrete and framing. He did hire a plumber, electrician and brick mason for their all red brick home. By today’s standard, it was a modest, three bedroom, one bath home which Dad did all the finish work on. They were able to move into their new home about nine months later, just before Donny’s first birthday in 1956.
A few years later Mom was expecting their fourth child. Since the new baby would need the bedroom my brothers shared across the hallway from our parent’s bedroom, they decided to finish two bedrooms for Mickey and Donny in the basement. The new bedrooms were the only finished area in the basement, but on the opposite end of the basement was a beautiful rock fireplace. They bought a black and white television and put a throw rug by the fireplace with a second-hand couch and also used folding chairs to sit on to watch T.V. This room would later be finished as the family/entertainment room.
On Saturday, June 6, 1959, my mom’s parents came for a visit and to take Rosanne home with them for an overnight stay. They did this often, taking turns with each grandchild. After they left, Mom started having strong contractions so Dad called the doctor and told him they were on their way to the hospital. Because of the pain, Mom struggled to walk to the back door towards the garage. Dad rushed ahead to drive the car out of the unattached garage closer to the back door in hopes to make it easier for Mom. When he got back to the kitchen to help her to the car he realized her water broke and the determined baby was already on its way. He ran to the phone to call the doctor again and heard the television downstairs. Panicked, with only a stairway between my parents and the two boys, Dad hollered down the stairs, “No matter what, you boys do not come up these stairs!”
Mickey, age seven and a half and Donny’s fourth birthday in just three days, paid little attention to the hustle and bustle at the top of the stairs. They were more interested in the television than the arrival of a new baby, so it was easy to obey their father’s order.
By the time the doctor got to our home I had already arrived. What an entrance for a nine pound baby! I wish I could remember it… What I do remember is being referred to as the “kitchen baby”. Sometimes I was amused at the thought of coming into the world in this unusual way, but other times I was completely embarrassed.
Dad had always teased Mom during their four pregnancies that he had delivered lots of calves on the farm, so there was no need for a doctor. I guess I was listening. I’ve always had lots of faith in Dad’s abilities. However, he stopped saying that after my birth.
I later learned the home delivery resulted in a three day stay at the hospital and I came home on Donny’s 4th birthday. I don’t believe I was his only present that year, but he always made me feel like I was his best present.
I’ve always considered myself a daddy’s girl and Mom often said I had Dad wrapped around my little finger because he was there for my birth. I was the only child out of their five that he witnessed because at the time fathers were not allowed in the delivery rooms at the hospital.
Twenty-two months later Mom delivered one more baby, my youngest brother, Steven. Because we were the closest in age we shared the upstairs bedroom for several years and had lots of fun playing together. See Siblings by Chance, Friends by Choice.
In my elementary years while we were on vacation at Disneyland, I vividly remember begging my dad to buy me a big stuffed animal. “Dad, think of the money I saved you by being born at home,” I pleaded.
“You were the most expensive child!” He replied. “At the hospital I had to admit not one, but TWO patients. You were considered contaminated by being born at home so you were not allowed in the nursery. They kept you in isolation for a few days, which was an added expense.”
Not only sadden by the fact I wasn’t getting the large stuffed animal, I was shocked by his reply. I previously thought I had saved my parents from the whole hospital scene and therefore was some kind of super hero. After all I had been called the kitchen baby by family and friends. Wow, what a blow this information was to me and an indication that I didn’t really have my dad wrapped around my little finger after all—at least not this time.
Now that I’m older and have gone through child bearing myself, I appreciate what my folks went through to get me here and feel some guilt for being so impatient and determined. However, I am so grateful for the bond it created and know I’m blessed to have such marvelous parents. It’s been a wonderful life, thanks to them!