Many people get good news and my parents were no different. Yet, there was one thing different about their happy news: it came in the midst of war and destruction. First, when they got back from their honeymoon, a letter from Cincinnati was waiting for my mom. It seemed one of the soldiers who’d previously professed his love for her had not forgotten her, or given up. Dad helped her to write him a nice letter explaining that they could not be together. Also, another soldier had left a letter with her Uncle Vasco! He too declared his love for her and his concern for her future. He wanted her to have his address and know that he would be there for her if she ever needed him. Ah, so many broken hearts.
In August, dad was transferred to Naples, but, more importantly, the war in Japan ended! He would not be going to the Pacific. After saying good-bye to her family more times than she could count, my mom, with a heavy heart, left Florence. It was not the most romantic of departures, no white stallion; no chariot or golden carriage like Cinderella. No, it was the middle of the night, and she “rode shotgun” in a deuce and a half truck as dad led the second section of a very long convoy!
In Naples they rented a couple of lovely rooms in a beautiful apartment complex. Naples was much warmer than Florence, so mom was happy to be there for the winter. At first, it seemed a perfect place, but then, in early December, she began to feel rundown and sick to her stomach. Dad, concerned that she was coming down with something or had gotten some bad food or her colon had ruptured from her previous operation, took her to the company doctor; Captain Boul. Sitting on the exam table, the doctor looking over her test results, mom had to giggle. The door to the waiting room was open, and she could see my dad pacing back and forth; he squirmed like a schoolboy waiting to be called into the principal’s office.
Finally, Dr Boul flipped the pages on the clipboard back, turned to the door, and called out, “Mr. Robinson, you can” zip, dad was in the room and standing next to my mom! “–come in now.”
“What is it; what’s the matter, doc’?” he blurted out. “Give it to us straight. You know she had a half-assed appendix job; did it burst?”
“Calm yourself, Mr. Robinson; her appendectomy went fine. She’s fine; she’s so fine she’s positively glowing.”
Dad heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank God. Well…then, what’s gotten into her?”
Dr. Boul smirked. “Oh, a little something, she’s going to experience weight gain, the desire for odd foods; a slight amount of nausea in the morning, and swollen ankles. Don’t worry though; it should clear up by, oh, late July.”
“Huh? That’s an odd bunch of symptoms,” he replied, confusion in his voice. “Is it a specific disease; does it have a name?”
Mom smiled and rubbed his arm. “No, but we’ll give him one.”
“Huh?” dad said, his voice going up about an octave.
“Give yourself a minute; you’ll figure it out,” Dr. Boul replied with a small sigh.
Dad stood there, his brow getting more and more wrinkled as his eyes darted back and forth. Suddenly, his eyes snapped forward, his jaw dropped, and his face lost all its color. He looked at my mom, and she rubbed her stomach.
“Ah…ah…ah…” he squeaked.
His eyes rolled back in his head and he pitched forward. Dr. Boul dove forward; trying to catch him, but dad was nearly a foot taller and had at least fifty pounds on him. Wham – dad was out cold on the linoleum floor.
Yes, it was true, mom was expecting a baby. Once dad was upright and conscious, Dr. Boul assured him that she was in perfect health. Later, he got them a wheelchair, and mom rolled dad back to their apartment. It wasn’t easy, he was quite the hefty man, but she put her back into it, and managed.
It wasn’t the usual way to learn of a new baby, but my parents were still delighted. Oh, and by the way, that baby wasn’t me, it was my oldest brother. He would be born in early August of 1946, three weeks late!
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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