Tuesday, September 2, 2014

2. 'We decided she was satisfactory. You would too.'

My mom with Bonnie (Elizabeth Jeanette Pride). probably in the spring of 1944. 
In the last post, my pregnant mother joked about what a stir it would cause if she had her baby in church, where her mother was playing the organ. She never made it to church. When she went to bed Saturday night after writing my dad, an Army lieutenant stationed in Oregon, she was nearly three weeks from her due date. She felt ill at midnight and woke her Aunt Lenny Johnson, who was also living at 147 Davis Road in Bridgeport, Conn.

Let’s hear what happened next, first from Lenny and then from my mother’s father, Evert. F. Nordstrom. On Sept. 19, both wrote to my dad, a cavalry lieutenant stationed in Oregon, to give him the news. Dad’s brother, Bob, the delinquent letter-writer mentioned in the last post, sent a telegram.

Lenny first:

                                        Bridgeport, Conn., Sep 19 – 43 (Red Letter Day)
Dear Cholly,

I can’t think of anything but that song and you,

In my arms, in my arms
When will I ever get a girlfriend in my arms.
Now you have two.

Well this has surely been a hectic day. Your little girl Bride of three years made the first allarm a little after midnight, and said I don’t feel good. Oh, I wish I knew more about getting babies. My advice did on regester very well and she was reluctant to call Daddy & Mommy for Mommy was to play communion service in the morning, but I said nothing doing she can get someone else to play, so off she trotted and called Daddy [and said] I have to go to the hospital. What he said that must be a false allarm. That kept her a while but at 4 they called the Dr. and he advised to give her 3 aspirin. Well, it ended up at 4:30 the little mother to be marched off to St. Vincents. They seemed to be in a cloud, all of them. Bernadine said right after she woke, if Charlie had been here he would have had me at hospital double quick. Yes I said even in a wheel barrow if he could not have come over anything else.

Evert called the hospital before starting for church and they said no change, so off to church we went, and right after the offering the telephone rang and the janitor came, and called Evert. That was Bob’s [my dad's brother's house]  they had called here and then called there. It was laughable to hear the new Grandpappy say how the whole choir looked at him and asked what it was and he whispered a girl but the new grandmommy it did not make any effect on whatsoever. He said he had to very near poke her in the ribs before she caught on. I had seen nothing, so all at once I heard 2 grand thumps on the organ as I said to myself all is up, she is going to fall down on her job but on she went to the finish, so on our way hime we went to St. Vincents so they two gained addmittance but me I was not big enough only the new Daddy and Grandparents can go once a day.

When they came out they notified me they had seen both Mother & child, a 5 & 3 ounce bit of humanity. Must not have been very good looking at that for Frieda said has it been hurt. No said the nurse., she only need a good bath so she will turn out allright, a little redskin turns out all the whiter. I could not help to but think of the twins they said if it is a girl throw here in the ashcan. Frieda said she won’t go to church next Sunday she is going to bathe that baby well said Evert I’m going to stay home and help you, for they said her Mommy will want to do it afterward.

They went off to hospital tonight and was to take your Mother with them so will wait and let you in on the news. Just came back and they said all is well so maybe you will get your every day letter from your little wife soon again. Your Daddy was working, they said.

Had a card from Del he is E.M.’s in the Navy stationed in Williamsburg, Va.

I will sign off have wanted to write you for some time and I know you will like it at this time to hear.
                                                                          Love, Len
. .
My grandfather Evert, standing and laughing here, was a confident, happy-go-lucky family man.
And now from Evert F. Nordstrom, my mother's dad:

                                                                                Sunday Sept. 19, 1943

Dear Charlie: — Congratulations! Your daughter weighing 5 lbs 3 oz arrived at 10:13 this morning. And we have seen her. And she’s swell and lovely and Bern is fine. Bern became sick right after she went to bed last nite. She called us about 12:30 this morning. We stalled around as long as we could and brought her up to the hospital at 3:30 a.m. There we left her. At nine o’clock, I telephoned the hospital but there was no report at that time. So, since Frieda had to play in church today and there was no way to do anything for Bern anyway, we went to church. In the middle of the service, the janitor came and got me saying I was wanted on the phone. It was Jean [Bob's wife; Mom and Dad's sister-in-law] . Since nobody was home at our house, the hospital had phoned your mother and she (Jean) then called me at the church.

So, as soon as the service was over, we went up to the hospital. There, I had a heart to heart talk with the sister on duty and the upshot of it was, we were permitted to go up and see Bern. We found her sleepy and still a little dopey from the anesthesia but otherwise cheerful and happy. Also – she was hungry – and I don’t know of a more healthful sign!

Then I talked to the nurse on the floor and the upshot of that was that we got a preview of the baby. She’s little! She’s fat! She has a double chin! Sge was dirty! (They hadn’t washed her there) She was red! She has head hair! I don’t know about the color of her eyes. Guess she didn’t want to spoil her entrance into the world by looking at me. She waved her arms, clenched her little fist – opened up and then had a most prodigious and toothless yawn for herself. So we decided she was satisfactory. I’m sure you would too. No other visitors may see her now. The rules are that the baby will be shown to the father just once during the week it is in the hospital. And I guess we usurped your place in that.

Bern has a corner room which she shares with another girl. So as soon as she gets rested and something to eat, I’m sure she will be quite content there. The only visitors she can have – aside from you – are the grandparents. She can have only two at a time and only between 7 & 8 p.m. So we are going up there tonite. I’m going to bring your mother up tomorrow nite. She couldn’t go tonite because it would be at a time when your father was going to work and she had not made the proper arrangements to be away then. Anyway I suspect Bern will be a little more presentable tomorrow nite.

However, you can be sure that both your wife and your daughter are ok and I’m sure Bern will have time to write you from the hospital during her stay there.

I think the matter of coming 2½ weeks early is simply a matter of miscalculation or error in arithmetic. Bern didn’t slip or fall or do anything yesterday that would bring it on. It was all as normal as could be.
So – that’s the news up to the minute. Love from us.


                                                                  Or should it be Grandpappy Nordstrom.

(On the envelope) 6:15 p.m. – Jean just phoned & said your mother would go up with us tonite. Swell.
(And this note from Bern in shaky hand) Hi ya honey. How does it feel to be a Papa?

Next:: 'A bonnie little lass'

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