Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I am born

Frog Hospital by Fred Owens
When does life begin? When did my life begin?

I was born on a Tuesday in June of 1946. I get this from the birth certificate. I was born in Evanston, Illinois, at Evanston Hospital. My parents checked into the hospital at 5:45 a.m. and I was born at 7:58 a.m. -- two hours later. I was my mother's fourth child. It didn't take long. I was going to write "an easy delivery," but I am not qualified to say that.
I imagine Fred and Marie waking up late that night and knowing it was time to go to the hospital -- the fourth time, with less drama. Mary Elizabeth, Tommy and Carolyn were all asleep. My parents must have arranged a babysitter for them. Some relative who was easily reached by telephone, I don't know.
Fred and Marie rented a three-bedroom stucco bungalow at 2646 Prairie Avenue, hardly a five-minute drive to the hospital. Fred commuted downtown to work. It was a short walk to the Northwestern station on Central Street. My birth certificate describes him as "salesman, magazine" -- he sold ads for the Sporting Goods Dealer. Dad was typical of a salesman in that he dressed very well and was very sociable, quick to pick up a check. He was an untypical salesman in that he didn't talk very much. Maybe that's why everybody liked him -- he was a good listener.
He was 41 at the time of my birth, born in St. Louis, Missouri. Full name: Frederic Edward Owens. Mother was 31. Full maiden name: Marie Roselyn Cuny. Occupation: housewife. She was born in Chicago.
It was her folks they probably called early in the morning to come and watch the kids. They lived maybe twenty minutes away, an easy drive at 5 o'clock in the morning. It would have been Aunt Carolyn. She had a job downtown on LaSalle Street, a legal secretary. She kept that job for more than forty years, but that day, June 25, 1946, she woke up to hear the phone ring at 5 a.m. and she knew right away why the phone was ringing. And she knew that meant skipping work, to baby sit my older siblings, Mary Elizabeth, 7, Thomas Joseph, 4, and Carolyn Therese, 2.
I was born at 7:58 a.m. The birth certificate does not say how much I weighed, although I remember mom telling me I was a nine-pounder. I was named Frederic Edward Owens Jr. after my father. I was born a male, after nine months of pregnancy. In the box marked legitimate, it was checked off yes. I was legitimate.
My parents were both white. They were also both Roman Catholic, but it doesn't say that on the birth certificate.
My eyes were treated with Argyrol 20 % which is silver nitrate, commonly used to prevent some kind of eye disease.
I was a healthy baby. Mom stayed in the hospital several days, as was the practice in those days. Tuesday, the day of my birth, Dad would have taken the day off, but he likely went back to work on Wednesday.
Then who watched the three kids at home while Mom was resting at the hospital? I don't know. Aunt Carolyn had to get back to work too.
Having four kids now and needing more room, and Dad doing well on the job, my parents bought a house at 1612 Forest Ave. in Wilmette, about one mile north of the Prairie Avenue rental. Both houses are still there, made of stucco and not changed very much. My Dad died in 1974. My sister Mary Elizabeth also died that year. My mother lived until 1996, making fifty years in that Wilmette house.
Henry Zettelman, M.D. delivered the baby -- I aImost forgot that.
Paris Moon. Paris Moon is a lovely song sung by our own Holly Gwinn Graham.
Creative Content. Jennifer Newell can fix you a nice web-page and give you social media impact. Get all the buzzwords. Stay connected. I'm working with her now to give Frog Hospital a do-over. And she might help you too.
Frog Hospital Subscription Drive. The subscription drive starts next week.
enjoy yourself,

Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

1 comment:

Jennifer Newell said...

What a fascinating story. Thank you so much for sharing it - I loved all the little details that made it uniquely your own!