Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Birthday Boy

I realize that I led a sheltered life.  I can think of several things over the years in which I had NO CLUE what was going on at the time.  Many of these things will remain a secret forever.  Surely I am not alone in this, surely.

When I was a little tyke, we lived in several towns in Oklahoma, Kansas, One town in Nebraska ( Crete, Neb ), and finally made it to Texas during my 5th grade year, Odessa to be exact.   My father worked for Standard Oil back in those days; he was a logger for the oil company - I'd guess they were searching for oil at the time.  I was somewhat young (see above paragraph) and really didn't know much.  I did know that he put a device inside of a hole in the ground and, then, had readings come out on a  piece of paper.  He had his own logging truck - black in color I believe.  It was sorta like an old panel truck, but of course at the time, it was a new one.

Side Bar cause I know you care:  Standard Oil of Indiana, became Amoco and was bought by BP.   So, in spite of BP's bad press - in reality, they put me through college.

They would work an area of the country, and we would move to the next town.   In Kansas we stayed in Syracuse, Meade, and Dodge City (twice).  One Dodge City was when I got my first cornet, affectionately called a "clunker." I was 5 years old; you must figure I was quite cute at the time.  My memories of those days are scattered.

We had a two story house in Meade.  We three boys slept on the 2nd floor.   You'd walk down the stairs into a formal living room.  That's all I remember about that house.

Which brings me to the purpose of this rambling.  On April 6, 1949, we got up and went down stairs.  Where my mom would have been was this lady.  I suppose I knew her - whatta I know?  She parked us and explained that our Mom had gone to the hospital in Fowler, KS.  Meade had no hospital.   The lady told us that Mom was in Fowler having a baby.

BABY!!!!   I think I was'd think a 3rd grader would have noticed that Mom had put on some weight.  You'd think.  I don't have the slightest idea if my other 2 brothers knew anything.   The word "pregnant" was not an overly used expression  in my life.  I am not sure I actually used that word until my own kids were in their 30s.  I still flinch at times in its presence.

But she was having a baby.   I do not think we were allowed to go to Fowler and see the new baby at all.  Back then, children were not allowed to visit in hospitals ever and new moms were kept for several days.   You want to go inside a hospital??  Well, go get sick!!   I am not sure that I even remember the Baby coming home.  I know that he did.   Little brother Patrick joined his older 3 brothers.   Suppose he cried, pooped, ate, etc.  Just no memory of those days.  A 3rd grader of my class, forgets those things.

Apparently we moved back to Dodge City soon after that - I'd guess at the end of the school year.  Mom taught school - so it makes sense that she finished the year.  This brings me to one more short baby stone.

In Dodge, we lived in a big ole house on the main drag of Dodge.  We had a front porch on a busy street.  In the 40s people walked down the sidewalks regularly.  It was a normal activity.

Follow this now:   In them thar days, baby bottles had rubber nipples, really tough rubber.   Brand new ones were hard for babies to use.   To soften up these nipples, Mom had my brother Jim (he was 10) and I  (9) fill baby bottles with Coke, put on the nipple, and we would drown our sorrows.  We thought it was extremely funny to sit on the front porch and drain baby bottles.  I'd be curious what Jim remembers.  I don't think Pat had any idea of our sacrifices.

So So So Happy Birthday to little brother Pat.  He became a lawyer and is on the Texas Tech Law School faculty.  I'm sure I could add more, but won't.

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