In no specific order:
- I was 7, some people referred to me as being very demure for my age, and I was usually seen and not heard (because my Great Grandfather preferred children this way). My Uncle John, Grandfather, Roy, and Dad, Frank, had just returned to the farm in Glenn Dale, Maryland, with a new Jersey cow on board inside a paneled truck. It was a steamy hot summer afternoon. As the whole family waited in great anticipation, they flung open the back doors of the truck. And there it was–the cow. But much more–the odors and sights inside startled me so, I immediately shouted to the top of my lungs; “My God, that cow’s done sh– all over the place” And, just as funny–my grandfather had been sitting in the center seat of the truck’s bench front seat. And he said; “And, I thought that that was just sweat rolling down my back!”
- In 8th grade following a few days off due to heavy snow and icing, I was trying to navigate down the hill to the entrance of my Junior High School. Just before I started my trek down a fellow 8th grader (who I happened to have a crush on) appeared beside me. And then it happened. On my very next step, I hit a bad patch of ice. With books flying everywhere, I tumbled head over heals a couple of times. When I finally came to a halt in a partially seated position, my dress and coat were up to my waist. Yes, he stopped to help me pick up my books, but I could never look him in the eyes again.
- In 1966, following one of Bob’s summer evening baseball games on the mall downtown, we usually stopped for pizza at a local restaurant. I want to say that I was about 4-to-5 months pregnant with our first child. Bob, as usual, was placing our order. He said in his put on Italian dialect; “I’d like a medium piece of …,” (and it wasn’t pizza!). We both were mortified but as pregnant as I was, I think I made a very brave and bold attempt to slip down under the table.
- All of our three children were born at the Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, DC. Columbia Hospital was a teaching hospital. With our third child, Jennifer, the doctor induced my labor at the hospital because my previous deliveries had taken only a few hours and he wanted to be sure all of us were in the hospital when my labor began. However, Jennifer seemed to have a mind of her own, (yep, even then).
My cervix dilated to 3 centimeters and then productive labor went on hold. And, to boot (hmmm, Freudian slip, I think), Jennifer was not properly positioned in the birth canal for a normal delivery. This new development rattled Bob and he left the labor room (as typically depicted in stories and on sitcoms), and went to a bar and ordered a drink to calm himself down. Meanwhile, I agreed to do some exercises to reposition the baby, amidst doctors and nurses standing outside a curtained window that opened up for everyone’s easy viewing of my exercise session. As if the pain of labor wasn’t enough!
5. Our second child, Jeff, at 10 years old attended Barnaby Woods Summer Camp. To finish out the summer camp, parents were invited to attend a closing program where they got to see their children perform in skits and receive awards for areas where they excelled. All summer long, Jeff had talked about Danielle, a girl he apparently had a crush on. As the day drew near, Jeff asked if we could pick up Danielle and her mother because they needed a ride. When we picked them up Jeff began quizzically staring at Danielle’s mother and back again at Danielle. Danielle’s mom was not unfamiliar with these kinds of stares. You see, this was the first moment that Jeff realized that Danielle was of a different race than he was. And then, Jeff’s younger sister, age 5, asked me: “Mommy, why is Danielle’s mother a different color?” It was an uncomfortable few moments at first, but we mothers just exchanged glances and grinned through it.