This is my mom.....Isn't she cute!
She was the first born child to my grandparents (I'll introduce them another day) and she was born on Sunday, 14 October 1945 in Waltham, Massachusetts.........9 months and 10 days after her parents were married.
As my Grandmother tells it, my mom was born after a lengthy labor, in which my grandmother was ultimatley sedated. My Grandmother saw her new baby for the first time the next day and she recalls her first thoughts being........Who is this black haired child? (My grandmother is a redhead) She couldn't imagine this dark-haired dark-eyed baby could possibly be hers! (Never mind my Grandfather is dark in coloring, and wasn't present for the birth because he was busy in the Pacific War Theater during a little thing now known as WWII)
My mom spent the first six months of her life living in Needham, Massachusetts with her mother and her grandparents. My grandmother recalls laying my mom out in the sun for hours at time to "get some fresh are." Nowadays, babies are smoothered in sunscreen and hidden in the shade.
When her father was discharged in 1946, he moved his little family to Houston, Texas while he attended college. This is where they would remain for the next four years. During this time my mom had two favorite activities. Disappearing off to uncharted areas (aka climbing the fence in the back yard and visiting neighbors....some blocks away).
And playing in a washtub.
When my mom was 18 months old, her world changed...............she became a big sister for the first time. Now, if you ask my mom, this was the most tramating event in her little life. Due to the fact that my grandparents where in Houston, Texas, and all other relatives were in Massachusettes, my mom was sent to a Nunnery while my grandmother birthed her second child. My mom would remain in the Nunnery for two weeks. During her stay, my mom was not allowed a bottle, which at 18 months of age she was quite attached too. In my moms opinion, this act has affected her entire life. I suppose she's the only one who can decide that.
New Big Sister, Baby Sister and Daddy
After the birth of her sister, and upon my Grandfather's graduation, the family of 4 headed back to Massachusetts, settling in Nadick. During the years they lived in Nadick, my mom became a sister two more times. In 1955 they family of 6 moved to Middletown, New Jersey where they would remain until 1960.
During her childhood years my mom spent all her summers at The Cape (Cape Cod) at her grandparents beach house. One of her most vivid memories is being on at The Cape with her Grandmother during hurrican Hazel, while the rest of her family was back in Nadick. She recalls the tremendous combined strength it took for her and her grandmother to close the french doors on the front porch. She and her grandmother had to wait out a portion of the storm for her grandfather to arrive to bring them back to Nadick. She can still remember the burning sting of the sand as she and her grandmother ran to the car once her grandfather had arrived.
After a crazy drive through flooded cranberry bogs, they arrived in Needham and she had to spend the night at her grandparents. She laid awake all night listening to the mantle clock chime each hour, as she scratched and scratched a horrible case of poison oak.
In the Summer of 1960, the family of 6 loaded up in a 1954 two-tone station wagon, and headed to their new home on the West Coast . They took the entire summer to drive across the country stoppping in various locations along the way to visit family.
The Station Wagon
Their route took them from New Jersey, to To New York, to Connecticut, across to Illinois. Then meandering up and down the map moving forever onward to California.
In the Fall of 1960 the family of 6 had settled in Novato, California and my Mom had entered high school as a sophmore. In September of that year she met my father.........during detention for skipping school! At this point, I suppose I should confess...my mom was not the most obedient teenager, and really gave her parents a horrendous time.
Photo taken just after they arrived in California in 1960
In the Spring of 1961 this disobedient teenager told her parents she was going to a school dance. She went to the dance....briefly.......then left with three other disobedient teenagers (my dad was not among them) and headed out on a joy ride.
While taking a turn from a narrow road onto a dirt road, the driver lost control and the car spun-out. My mom, who had been riding in the backseat, sitting with her back against the door, was thrown from the car when the door unexpectadly opened and landed on her head suffering severe head trama.
For the next month, my mom was in the intesive care unit of a large San Francisco hospital. For the first two weeks she was in a coma and the doctors couldn't say for certain if she would live or die. My Grandparents recall this time in 1961 with great reluctance and anger saying it was the worst time of their lives. My Grandfather had called in a catholic priest and my mom was given her last rites. That is how severly injured she was!
My mom has only scattered memories of her time in the hospital. She recalls eating pudding, and she recalls my dad being one of her only non-family visitors.
By the fall of 1961 she had recovered from her accident and was in her Junior year of high school. The family of 6 was soon to be a family of 7............and unbenounced to my Grandparents, they would soon be grandparents for the very first time...................
Fall 1960 age 14