In 1955 shortly after graduating highschool Katy saunters down the street. A good looking sailor, dressed in Navy whites, catches her eye. His enticing smile has her heart racing a mile a minute.
“Hi. I’m Dan on leave from the navy. How about spending time with me until I have to go back?”
Pleased, Katy answers, “Sure.”
They’re together whenever possible. Dan’s sweet talk mesmerizes Katy and before the week is out he has her heart in his hands. Love reigns!
“Will you marry me?” He smilingly asks.
“If my parents let me. I’m only eighteen.”
Both sets of parents hem and haw, but finally give permission to the insistent duo. On July second a Justice of Peace marries them while Dan’s sister and Katy’s cousin witness the happy event. Soon Dan heads back to his California Navy base.
Three months later Katy rides a greyhound bus to California to join her husband. It’s her first time away from home, family, and friends. Fear and excitement are her companions. Dan is waiting when the bus arrives. Smiling he sweeps her off her feet to hug and kiss her. All is right with the world! Katy can hardly wait to be alone in Dan’s arms. She’s dreamt of getting pregnant and before the month ends she is. Happiness abounds!
Five months later Katy's on another greyhound heading back home. She’d discovered Dan’s reason for marrying her was to win a bet he’d made with his swabby friends. Not only heartbroken, Katy’’s tired of being alone. Dan’s either on ship out of port or spends his free time drinking with his buddies.
Katy’s parents are happy she’s home so they can help her. She’s having a difficult pregnancy and has gained sixty five pounds. She’s diagnosed with toxemia, which could have led to complications for both the baby and Katy if left untreated. A month before her due date Katy goes into excruciating labor that lasts for an thirty-six hours. Tess weighs five pounds, half an ounce. Her skin is hanging loosely from her tiny frame. They stay in the hospital until Tess gains the weight needed to leave. On the ride home, with Tess cradled in her arms Katy bursts into uncontrollable sobs.
Mom explains. “You’re having post-traumatic stress symptoms from the difficult birth and being afraid to take care of such a tiny baby. It’s a big responsibility, but I’m here to help you.”
“Thanks mom. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
One day the four of them go for a ride to enjoy the beautiful day. Katy carefully dresses Tess in a doll dress, that fits her perfectly. She also puts on a matching sweater, booties and bonnet before she wraps her in a blanket. At first Tess coos contentedly, then she whimpers, until finally she screams.
Katy crying with frustration says, “Mom, I don’t know what to do. Tess won’t quit fussing. I’ve tried everything I know how to do, but nothing helps.”
Mom turns around and smiles when she sees Tess wrapped up like a cocoon. “Take the blanket off and give her some air. She’s probably too warm.”
Katy is discouraged. “I’ll never learn how to take care of her.”
“Time and patience.” Mom answers.
Four years later Katy is back home with her parents. Her second husband decides he’d rather ‘chase skirts’ then be a husband. This pregnancy is also giving Katy problems. Her dad rushes her to the hospital two times, first with false labor and a second time when her water breaks, but each time Katy is sent back home.
One night the shrilling phone jolts Katy awake. She hears Mom talking softly, then she’s crying. Mom says her sister-in-law just died. Katy jumps up to run to the bathroom where sharp pains attack her. Soon she’s sitting between her parents, as the car races toward the hospital twenty-one miles away.
Intense pain has Katy bearing-down and screaming, “It’s coming it’s coming.”
“Hang on,” Dad says. “I’ll stop in Calumet to ask the nurse there to help you.”
Screeching to a stop Dad races to the house. Katy stretches out in the seat when another bearing-down-pain comes. When the nurse arrives, the baby’s lying on Momma’s belly. She cuts the cord, cleans the baby, and has proud Gramma hold her as they continue on their way. Since her birth is outside the hospital the baby has a private room allowing Momma to hold her whenever she chooses. Oh happy day!
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