Happy Fabulous Fifty, Kristie!

Mom and Kristie

Mom and Kristie

I am twelve years older than my sister Kristie, so I thought I’d share the few memories I have about her birth on her birthday.

I was asleep in my bed in Joplin when dad (Jim) woke me up to tell me that he was taking mom to the hospital and that my new brother or sister was on the way. He promised to be back in time for me to get to school the next morning.

It doesn’t seem that it would be a problem to leave your 12-year-old at home in bed on such an occasion, or that said 12-year-old would be left in charge of her two much younger siblings – after all, I was used to taking care of my sisters and was already babysitting other people’s children.

But I spent the entire night awake – at least it seemed like the entire night – working out survival plans should an emergency happen on my watch. The imagined tragedy that I remember playing out most vividly was that there would be a fire. We had a new one-story, three-bedroom house with a front door, a sliding glass back door, and a garage. But what if the fire was in that part of the house and I couldn’t get the three of us out through one of the doors? The bedroom windows were short and wide and I wasn’t very tall. How could I get a preschooler and a toddler safely out of a high window? Could I throw a crib mattress out the window and then toss the girls out, hoping they would land on the mattress? What if the window didn’t open wide enough for the mattress to fit through? If I stood in the baby crib, could I direct their fall onto some pillows? What if one of them got hurt?

What if …?

What if …?

All night long. Over and over. I was a mess by the time morning rolled around.

We made it through the night and there were no fires nor any fatalities. Dad came home in time to report that I had a baby sister and that everyone was fine and that I needed to get ready for school.

I really didn’t want to.

I attended South Junior High and was suffering through a couple of years of social anxiety. It wasn’t long into the school day – probably while I was still in home room and hadn’t even gone to class yet – that I left the classroom, threw up, and found myself lying on the all-too-familiar cot in the nurse’s office. My stay there that day was a combination of a night of worry and lack of sleep and wanting to see my mother and hoping everyone was okay – made worse by knowing there was no one at home to go home to. It was also just a fairly common routine that year: go to school, start feeling anxious, throw up, go to nurse’s office, take temperature, no fever so lie here until you feel better, go back to class.

I don’t have any vivid memories about meeting Kristie for the first time or when she and mom came home from the hospital. :( But I do remember that I considered myself a second mother to Kristie. I spent many hours holding and rocking and feeding and burping and singing to her. Even though I helped with and played with my other sisters, being twelve at the time made this baby different. I felt like an adult and the time I spent caring for Kristie gave me my first inkling that maybe I could be a mother some day – although for the longest time I really wanted to skip the whole mother thing and go straight to grandmother! I also took pride in recording her firsts in her baby book, as Mom was pretty busy with three little ones.

Friends, Karla, Kristie

Friends, Karla, Kristie

Poor Kristie! Her birthday often gets lost in the Thanksgiving Day celebration and then it’s suddenly Christmas.

I found a couple of pictures of a birthday party with one of Mom’s special birthday cakes. It is tagged as 1973 – Kristie’s birthday, although Karla’s sleeveless dress in December makes one wonder. The family was in Texas by then (or was it New Mexico?), so it is entirely possible. I think the panda bear cakes Mom made were usually chocolate. And very cute!

Kristie, Kim, friends

Kristie, Kim, friends

So Happy Birthday Kristie! And thanks a lot for ruining my sleep 50 years ago.

Love you!

Sepia Saturday 305 – Just a Little Hot Air

Oct / Nov / Dec 2015

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.

It has taken me until Sunday to think of a photo to fit this week’s theme:

bubble gum

Me at the Hedrick Y. Taken by Grandma Abbie.

Me. Blowing my first bubble gum bubble. You might think it’s a bit of a stretch.

Let’s be honest. It wasn’t the first bubble I blew. I blew my first successful bubble, ran to tell my grandmother, who got her camera and we went back outside so I could blow another one for posterity. I don’t know how long she had to wait for me to master the correct form again and fill the stretched out gum with just a wee bit of hot air, but I did eventually manage to recreate the moment. And I look pretty pleased with myself.

Fly on over to Sepia Saturday to see what other bloggers have offered for the theme.

Mystery Baby – Who was Eric Dewell?

I’m diligently scanning and rescanning photographs originally in the possession of my grandmother Eveline Coates Hoskins – the ones sent by her relatives in England. I have not yet been able to determine how this beautiful baby fits into our family tree.
Unknown - Dewell, Eric copyYou know you want a closer look at those curls  … and that expression …
Unknown - Dewell, Eric cropand those toes …
Unknown - Dewell, Eric toesBut who is this precious one? The back of the photograph provides a name and a date.

Unknown - Dewell, Eric back signature

Hmm … I’m thinking the baby didn’t sign this.

I haven’t run across any Dewells in the family tree. No Erics either – in the event Dewell is a middle name.

As I was placing the photograph back into its page protector, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before (and there has been ample opportunity for noticing). The date and handwriting match the date and handwriting on the back of another photograph.
Dawson (Cherry), Ida back signature and date I know who Cousin Ida is. Ida Dawson is the daughter of Nellie (Mary Ellen) Coates Dawson and Robert Dawson. Ida was my grandmother’s first cousin.

Dawson (Cherry), Ida copy But who is Eric Dewell and what was his relationship to Ida? I’ll keep looking, but I’m sending this out and hoping someone can give me a little help. I’d like to claim this little one as one of ours.