The Boomers Boomed One More
There was a 40 year old woman in the maternity ward at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago on July 28, 1955.
A 40 year old woman! Having a baby! In the year 2017, we don’t flinch when we hear a statement like that. Being a 40 year old woman in 2017 having a baby is so normal, it seems ridiculous to even make mention of it. However, in 1955, it meant that other nurses from the maternity floor looked into the room of Florence Warady to see what a 40 year old woman having a baby looked like.
I’m relating this story from hearsay. Being still inside the womb at the time, my cognizance was, in my opinion, nonexistent. So, I’ll have to believe the stories I’ve been told. For instance, the best film of the year was ‘Marty’ starring Ernest Borgnine and the number one song was ‘Rock Around The Clock’ by Bill Haley & His Comets.
I wasn’t the first child born into my family. I had two brothers and a sister. My sister being the oldest. There was, however, a ten year gap between my next older brother and me. That meant for ten years, my brother Alan enjoyed all the perks of being the youngest.
And then I came along. Because my mother was 40 and having a baby, the doctors didn’t want to take any chances, so they kept my mom in the hospital until she was 41. They could do that in those days. I try not to feel guilty about it, but let’s face it…if the Pill was around 61 years ago, I highly doubt I’d be typing this blog.
When I was eight days old, as is the Jewish tribal tradition, I had my circumcision. It hurt. It hurt a lot. It hurt so much I couldn’t walk for a year (yes…that’s the oldest joke in the world but I don’t care). Somebody gave me a cotton ball soaked in wine to calm me down, and thus started my rapid descent into alcoholism.
My brother didn’t take my entrance into the family well. From what I’ve heard, he was kind enough to not start beating the shit out of me until I could at least walk. He wasn’t heartless, for chrissakes.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The topic is my birth.
I was born to old parents. I was born to old brothers and an old sister. I was one year old when my sister got married. I wasn’t even invited to her wedding because I wasn’t toilet trained. I must have been lying in my crib wondering which two of all these people were my actual parents. I couldn’t go by the test of who breast fed me, because this was 1955, and no modern woman in her right mind breast fed. When my mother was in a hurry, she wouldn’t bother mixing the formula. She took a tablespoon and shoved the powder into my mouth. If it was the seventies, she would have cut it up into lines and I’d have to snort it. (That’s not true, but the image amused me) So, I had a lot of people feeding me, and to me, they all looked the same age.
My father, as it turned out, was the only one I wondered about. As far as he was concerned, he had already participated in raising three kids. He was done. I’m not sure if that had anything to do with my future psyche, but I wouldn’t rule it out. It’s not that he didn’t like me. It’s more that he didn’t know I was there.
My mother told me I was the only kid they had that they could actually afford.
I never lacked for love. We had a full time, black housekeeper, named Ruby.
She truly loved me. My mom always dressed me well.