Once Upon a Memorial Day Weekend…


My Memorial Day story happened a long time ago, but I won’t say how long to protect my daughter who looks at least ten years younger than she is.

I woke up to the radio blaring a pre-race broadcast from Indianapolis Speedway. Reaching over to turn it down, I paused. A rather sharp pain paralyzed me for a second. When I got my breath, I poked my snoring husband-at-the-time and said, “Baby’s coming.”

He took his time waking up but that was okay. This was my second child. I knew the drill. I also knew my house was a disaster. My mother would drive down to help out as soon as she heard the news. I threw a few things in an overnight case, peeked in to make sure all was ready for the new baby in the nursery, and then trotted heavily down the stairs to get out the vacuum cleaner.

After tidying up, doing the dishes, and making sure the sheets were clean on my four-year-old’s bed, we took my son to the next-door-neighbor’s house and went downtown to my husband’s camera shop. Did I mention my pains were now about ten minutes apart?

Me: “Aren’t we going to the hospital?”Spouse: “I just have to do a few things here at the shop.”Me: “Do you mind if I stay in the car?”

Spouse: “I won’t be long.”

Me: “Aren’t you worried the baby might come?”

Spouse: “If you can put a load of wash in, vacuum, and do the dishes, I guess I can take time to make a sign saying the shop is closed today.”

Me: (Gulp.)

Pains were about five minutes apart when we arrived. I was immediately taken to the delivery room where my doctor, who had been called while we were on our way, stood in the doorway, a plate of Swiss steak in his hand. It was lunchtime. The nurse prepped me and the doctor returned just about the same time the baby made her appearance.

Except for the last half hour it was a relatively easy birth. The Indianapolis race was still underway when I was wheeled into a recovery room. Shelley, who had politely given me a couple of extra days beyond my due date to allow me to finish a writing class, made her appearance without incident.

When I went home the next day (they kept mothers and babies overnight in those days), my house was clean, my son David was home, my mother had everything under control, and my spouse dropped me off and went to work (independent shopkeepers always worked holidays). The neighbors came in to coo over the cute little baby girl. My mom entertained my son so he didn’t feel left out.

I don’t remember who won the race.



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