Sunday, May 11, 2008

This Is Where It All Began...

* Note: All lyrics from the song, Dare You To Move, by Switchfoot

Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Everyone's here...
Everyone's here...
Everybody's watching you now...
Everybody waits for you now...
What happens next?
What happens next?

When I start to tell the story of how I came into existence, I have to put in lots of qualifiers to situations. Why? Because naturally, my parents weren’t typical (or maybe they were?). They were only statistics because they chose to be. And they chose to be because they were in love.

I was born on October 12, 1966 at 7:48 p.m. in Parkview Memorial Hospital. Those of you who were born in the late 60’s early 70’s probably know that it was called the “baby barn” because it seemed like the only place where babies were surfacing in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

1960's Postcard View

Parkview Memorial Hospital
2200 Randalia Drive
Fort Wayne, Indiana

My mother met my father when she was sixteen and he was nineteen.

He had moved up to Fort Wayne from Straight Creek, Kentucky and he lived in a tiny apartment somewhere close to where my mother and her parents lived.

They met at a laundromat. I believe it was not too far (maybe across the street) from the apartment building that my grandparents managed on Clay Street – but what the name of it was (and I know it no longer exists) – who knows. Side note: I did some research and this one I have plotted in the map to the right - may be the spot where the love connection happened.

The laundromat was owned by someone named Clyde Briggs and Clyde (who I have no memory of), was someone who my grandparents used to help out a lot.

This laundromat had both a jukebox and a pinball machine. It also had one of those cool vending machines with candy and a pop machine that dispensed bottles. (Trying to create the awesome scene – is it working?!)

That’s how my parents met – at a laundromat.

My mother was quite a rebel. It’s something in her I’ve always admired. And have been frustrated by. She hated rules. She hated catholic school. She hated her parents. She was a typical teenager.

She fell in love with my dad. Why? I don’t know, she’s never told me. But the result was that she moved into his apartment and kept quitting school (and my grandparents kept re-enrolling her).

My mom and dad wanted to get married. My grandparents said NO. They were keen on my mother finishing high school (she was only a sophomore) and let’s be “frank”, they really didn’t want their daughter marrying a hillbilly from Kentucky. There were plenty of nice boys who were raised right there in the good ole fort.

Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be

So my parents decided to send a “screw you” message to my grandparents – they got pregnant on purpose.

This, of course, infuriated my grandparents. And I’ve been told that if abortion would have been legal back then, they would have forced my mother to take that route. Thank gawd for small things like abortion not being legal then.

Defeated, they agreed to let my parents get married and on May 17, 1966, they were married by a Justice of the Peace. I was due on September 4, 1966 which made my mother about four-five months pregnant.

My mother’s doctor, who took care of her while she was pregnant, was someone named Dr. Meyer. I don’t know much about him (I did a pretty thorough search and found a Dr. Herman A. Meyer who might have been the dr. she went to) however, in true fashion, my mother never listened to him either.

Obituary for Dr. Herman A. Meyer

The week I was due, my parents took off for my dad’s hometown (Straight Creek) which sent my grandparents into a tizzy. I have no idea why she did this but I assume that she just wanted to get away from the pressures of life as she knew it in Fort Wayne.

They eventually came back – especially when her due date had passed. By this time, she was gi-normous. Apparently, I just wasn’t ready to come out and greet the world. And back then, I guess, they didn’t freak out if you were over your due date like they do now.

On October 12 (it was a Wednesday), my mother was feeling some discomfort. She went to see Dr. Meyer who said, “You’re in labor – make your way to the hospital”.

Which meant, do the opposite.

She went home. She was craving some beans so she soaked them, cooked them, and ate them. By this time, the doctor, wondering where my mother was, called back to the apartment building and my Aunt Carolyn (her older sister) had to drag her on over to Parkview. I guess she wasn’t convinced that it was time to give birth.

What happened after that – well – I do know – she was taken to the hospital, she was put under, and I was born. I was a whooping 9 pounds – absolutely humongous back in 1966. With today’s knowledge and technology, I shouldn’t have been taken much closer to my original due date.

This is the spot where I would insert a picture of me as newborn however, I don't have one and frankly, I'm not sure if one exists. Side note: I wonder if Parkview keeps archived files of these things???

So, here's one of me, my Grandpa Roy, his mom Grandma Kline, and my mom...outside of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. If I was a betting woman, I would guess that I am almost a year old. I'm not sure who took the photo. Maybe my Grandma Roy? Definitely not my dad.

I don’t know where my father was when I was born. Maybe he was there, maybe he wasn’t. My mom doesn’t talk much at all about this time in her life. Or really, any time in her life. Anything I have been able to find out has been because of my grandma, and my two aunts.

Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here

Addendum: Good Ole Aunt Barb sent me some other pictures that I didn't have. The first is another high school picture of my mom. The second and third are pics of me less than a year old.

Patricia S. RoyBaby in the Pool Kristina Michele Frazier 1966