I was not a very good mother of small children. I have a serious lack of patience. My teenagers at school were much easier to deal with than my youngsters at home. I did well with Michael, mainly because it was just him for so long and motherhood was kind of a novelty. We thought for years we would only have one child. I got pregnant in my freshman year of college, and we got married–yes that order was right, but, hey we were engaged at the time and it was the 60’s! So, I had Mike at the beginning of my sophomore year of college.He was an easy baby, as he would prove to be any easy boy.
The only snag was that Dr. Falls broke his collarbone lifting him out of the birth canal, so when I would pick him up he would howl in pain. Until they figured out what was wrong with him I presumed my only child hated me. He had to have his little arm immobilized with an ace bandage, so when he came home from the hospital he had an empty sleeve like an infant amputee. He healed quickly though and we soon learned how much a child changes things.
Fortunately we had a great support system with Wayne’s parents, John and Marquerite and my mom, Melva and my step-father Charles. Wayne’s sister Thelma and brother-in-law Clarence also lived in Xenia and did not have any children. So, we had plenty of babysitters and help. We decided, although we needed a baby like a fish needs a bicycle that having had Mike we would go ahead, have one more kid, I would get my tubes tied and we would live happily ever after.
Fate does not always cooperate with your plan. Despite not taking birth control I did not get pregnant for years. We decided we were destined to have one kid only. Then, surprise! In 1973 I missed my period and went to the doctor, we were expecting again.
Okay, we thought, this is kind of good, we will have another child. By now I was teaching and we were better established. I got to put together a real nursery, Mike helped by coloring the children in the wallpaper border brown, and get ready for the birth.
Chris was late. I had told my students, principal and colleagues that I would not be back after Christmas break for two months, since he was due December 23rd. December 23rd came and went and no kid. I really identified with the pregnant Mary that Christmas. I was worried I was going to have to waddle back to school after the Christmas break still pregnant, how embarrassing!
Our friends the Washingtons had a New Year’s Eve party every year. My husband thought maybe we should not go because I was so pregnant, but I wanted to go to the party, so we did.
It was a snowy evening and when we had toasted in the New Year and gone to our car, it got stuck in the snow. I sat in the car while they rocked it and by the time we made the short drive home I was in labor. I was not sure if it was better to know how much labor hurt or worse to know how much it was going to hurt. I remember distinctly thinking I was going to die when I had Mike, there was no way someone could be in such pain and survive, but I did. Chris was born at Greene Memorial just before midnight, making him one of the New Year’s babies. As a matter of fact, because the only other baby born that day was born sans father in the picture Chris got the lion’s share of the prizes and pictures. He will always have a party to go to on his birthday.
I did not rush into birth control after Chris was born, figuring it took me more than 6 years to get pregnant the second time I thought I had plenty of time. Actually we had some very interesting discussions about birth control. They primarily went along the lines of me asking Wayne if he would rather wait on me for six weeks after I had surgery or if he would rather be uncomfortable for a weekend after he got snipped. He did not seem to be too eager to do either.
So, lo and behold I missed another period. I went to the doctor and told him I just simply could not be pregnant again this soon, Chris was barely a toddler!
He gave me the test and told me he would call me with the results. This is when pregnancy test results were not immediately available. We were still teaching at Warner after the tornado, so I went to work after the doctor’s office. I was sitting in the teacher’s lounge with my colleagues when the office secretary came on over the PA system and asked if I was in the room. I answered yes, and got up ready to go to the office to see what she wanted.
Instead of saying anything else to me, she put my doctor’s phone call on the PA and everyone heard him announce ” the rabbit died.” As a result the teachers at Warner and some high school teachers who were in the lounge, knew I was pregnant before my husband, mother, siblings or anyone else did.
Nikki was late. She was due July 31 and came August 28th. She was laying in there growing hair and fingernails. Her hair was long enough to put in a small pony tail which the nurses enjoyed doing. My grandfather on my mother’s side was an Indian, and Nikki looked a lot like an Indian when she was born. There was, however, a geriatric Chinese-American obstetrician at Greene Memorial and the nurses teased me constantly that I had had his love child because of Nikki’s black straight hair, her complexion and her almond shaped eyes.
She almost came home from the hospital without a name. I had presumed I was having another boy, so we had not picked out a girl’s name. I favored traditional names, Elizabeth Anne, Margaret Ann, Wayne liked cutesy names like Tiffany and Carmen. We had to compromise. Nobody hated Nicole, so that is what we decided. Nicole Faithe.
But that meant that I had two kids under four. This was not good for we of little patience. When they were small I taught a lot of summer school!
By now my mother had retired and was keeping the kids while I worked. This was great, sometimes I would go to pick them up and she would look at me and say , ” You look tired, go on home and take a nap, I will feed them dinner and bring them home later. ” Fabulous. Even with my great support system I knew I did not want anymore children. So the wrangling about permanent solutions to birth control concerns began in earnest again.
I finally made my husband see the sense in the difference between recovering from getting your tubes tied, major surgery and getting a vasectomy. He went to Dr. C to consult and was convinced.
The surgery was scheduled and we were all prepared, but again fate intervened. By now Wayne was coaching Little League Baseball, Mike was 12 and his father was the team coach. They had been scheduled to have team pictures one Saturday before their game at Bob Evans Field, but it rained and the pictures were postponed until the next week, the week the surgery was scheduled for.
The team had been highly successful and Wayne was very proud of them and certainly wanted to be in the team picture, so he decided he would go ahead and have the surgery on the Thursday as planned and hopefully be able to go to the field on Saturday, at least long enough to get the picture taken, they did not have a game.
The day of the pictures came, Wayne was still in quite a bit of discomfort which was demonstrated by how he walked, rather like a cowboy who has been in the saddle way too long. The strategy was that I would drive him as close as possible to where the boys were supposed to pose, actually driving up on the grass on areas you were not supposed to, he would get out and limp over to where they were, limp back to the car after the picture and I would get him back home to rest the rest of the weekend.
The plan went well. We had permission from the field caretaker to drive up on the grass and it went off without a hitch. The only snag was that when his players saw how he was walking, or trying to walk, someone asked what was wrong with him and someone, not sure who knew, maybe Mike, spilled the beans.
The result was that the picture of his team that year is a gem. It shows a bunch of 12 and 13 year old boys, some with huge grins, some outright bursting with laughter.