Our eldest daughter was born at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, California, January 25, 1959. She weighed 6 lbs. 8 ozs. and measured 19 inches long. I remember well she took her time coming into the world. We named her Starla Gail, after no one in particular.
Those days the husband was not allowed to be in the room with the mother-to-be before the delivery. He was not even allowed to take me to the ward.
I was in pain, a bundle of nerves. Truthfully, I was so overwhelmed and felt very alone. My mom was miles away and a nurse sent my sailor away.
In the meantime Paul waited at the duty station for word to come to him via the phone, the birth was close and he should head back to the hospital.
I was wheeled into a ward, the row of beds almost filled to the capacity with mothers and mothers-to-be, for what seemed like a very long time. The hours ticked by, night came and went.
Two nurses came in early the next morning and wheeled me to a chilly delivery room. That is all I remember until the baby was placed in my arms. She was born at 7: 00 AM that Sunday morning.
When Paul received the call he came back to the hospital wearing civilian clothing. When the new father entered the elevator the head nurse, in uniform, ask my youthful-looking husband where he was going. She told him that children were not allowed on the maternity floor. That young sailor had been halfway around the world serving his country and he was a new father.
He exited the elevator and sought permission elsewhere in the hospital. Too bad I missed that conversation!
A nurse took him to the ward to visit me and meet the bundle of joy. The charge nurse on duty instructed the corpsman to bring in the baby.
In no time he returned with two babies, one on each outstretched arm. The one he handed me was not our little girl wearing a pink band on her wrist.
The cute little boy wearing the blue band belonged to another mother. We all laughed and error was corrected. Nine days later we paid the $8 bill and brought our million-dollar baby home!
Our precious daughters live miles away from us. Lori Ann Patrick, our third born lives in Littleton, Co., and Starla Gail May lives in Scottsdale AZ. Their brother Paul is deceased. We have eight wonderful grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and one due in April.
With 62 plus years of marriage going good thus far, no one could have reason to knock our surprise elopement, in 1957 now.
Verna Davis, your column is a new-found joy to read! We look forward to reading more in the weeks ahead.
I can be reached by phone at 317-286 -7352 or drop me a line to 649 South Grant Street, Brownsburg, IN., 46112.