Friday, July 28, 2006

Changes


It seemed that we were settling into life in Seattle. Mom and Dad had made some friends, Bobbi and Jon . Bobbi kinda took me under her wing. She taught me to sing "Oh, Christmas Tree" in German... most of which I have forgotten over the years. Jon, her husband raced motorcycles. We all used to go watch him race. He was a funny guy and always looking out for all of us.
We were about to have an addition to our house, at least that is what Mom kept saying. Something about a baby growing in her tummy or something strange like that. I really wasn't too sure what it was all about. All I knew is that Mom's tummy just kept getting bigger and bigger. Once in awhile she would jump and say something about this "baby" in her tummy was kicking her. She had me put my hand on her tummy and when I felt that "thing" move, I pulled my hand back like I had just touched a hot burner! YUCK! That was just too strange. It really freaked me out. The whole concept to me was just a little creepy.
Around December in 1964 Grandma T came over to stay with us. It was to help Mom out. I had noticed that she had been moving around a lot slower and didn't seem the same.
One snowy night Mom and Grandma had gone for a walk. Dad seemed a little nervous about them being gone.
The next morning I got up as usual to eat breakfast and get ready for school. I was sitting at the kitchen table listening to Mom and Grandma talk about their walk in the snow and the craving Mom had for a bean sandwich of all things. I remember not being able to imagine what a bean sandwich tasted like back then and I still don't know what one tastes like. It sounds completely disgusting.
Mom was sitting at the table across from me. Suddenly she jumped out of her chair, freaking out and saying something about "water breaking" and a whole lot of other gibberish. I kept asking what was wrong, getting no response from the "otherwise engaged" adults. When I saw Mom run out of the kitchen I noticed that the whole back end of her was wet. I was horrified! What was wrong with Mom? Did she wet her pants? I must have had quite a look on my face because suddenly Grandma was putting her arm around me and steering me to the living room. She quietly and calmly explained to me that Mom was just fine. It was just that the baby was on its way. The first sign is that the water sack that surrounds the baby to protect it while it is in Mom's tummy broke because it is ready to come out.
School was soon forgotten. Grandma was pacing around trying to figure out how to get Mom to the hospital. We had two major problems... No car. Dad was at work and he had the only vehicle. And no phone. Things had gotten pretty rough financially for awhile.
I was standing in the middle of the living room and I remember looking out the window just in time to see Jon driving real fast up our driveway. My Grandma ran out to meet him. He came running into the house and straight into the bedroom where Mom was. A few minutes later, he came out with Mom in his arms and off they went. Grandma stayed with me.
At some point I was able to go with Dad to the hospital where Mom was. I have a vague memory of standing outside in the hospital parking lot, looking way up and seeing Mom standing at a window looking down at me and waving. I didn't understand why Mom was gone so long. Other than when Mom was working, I had never really been away from her and I didn't like the feeling or understand what was going on. I remember feeling really sad looking at Mom way up there in that hospital room.
A few days later Dad came home with Mom, and in Mom's arms was this small bundle of blankets. Mom looked really tired, but she was smiling. I really wanted to see what she was holding, yet I was afraid to look at the same time.
Mom bent down and carefully moved the blanket away from this little creature. I saw a whole bunch of dark hair and a little pink face. Mom said quietly, "This is your new little sister." I turned on my heel and ran crying to my bedroom.
To this day I don't know why I did that. I don't know what I was thinking or feeling, if anything at all. One would have thought that with my reaction, I would have been ticked off or upset that there was a new addition to our home, but I don't think that was it.
There are many pictures ( the one above, for example) that I have my face right up close to my sister. I was fascinated with her and yet I didn't understand her either. She laid there, moved around a bit, cried, made messes in diapers, sometimes she smelled good, other times she smelled really awful, she stared with eyes as big as the moon, but that was about it.
By this time I was discovering music. Grandma and Grandpa had bought me a little transistor radio that I carried EVERYWHERE. One day I decided that I was going to share the music with my little sister. I put the radio down next to her ear, laying the radio against her little head. Mom came into the room to see what I was doing.. The look on her face was one of complete horror. She quickly ran toward the bassinet and grabbed the radio. She explained that Jenni's ears were way too sensitive for that sort of thing. I was beginning to wonder what this "thing" was good for....

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