The following is an exact quote from a page in the book my mother wrote about her life. I had given her a bound 8×10” book of blank pages, when she was 72 years of age. The entire book is written from her memories of her life, since she had never kept a journal. The book has made its rounds to each of her 7 children to read. One of her grandsons has her book at this time, and found a page she had written about the evening of my birth. As a gift for my birthday, he typed the page and printed it with a superimposed picture of both of our parents, Earl and Carolyn, in the background. This is a copy of that page:
“On a Sunday evening, Oct. 11, 1936, I knew it was time to send Earl to get the doctor, old Dr. Gantt, who was to come when our next baby was due. So, about dark, after Earl had got the milking done, he drove in and got the doctor and brought him out to the house.
“This doctor didn’t know where we lived exactly, also he said he could not drive after dark. Then Earl had to drive to pick up the young woman who was to come and do the nursing job. She was Jessie, that did that kind of work for a living. Earl and Jessie didn’t get back until it was almost over, so there was no nurse there to give me anything for pain. Anyway, this old doctor didn’t believe in giving ether, but it wasn’t so bad, and soon a baby girl arrived about 9 p.m.
“Jessie then took over. They weighed her on our household scales, said she weighted 7 1/2 lbs. She didn’t open her eyes until she was about 3 days old, and I was scared that maybe she was blind.
“So, we were so happy when we found out she could see good then, and was healthy. We got carnation milk by the cans, and I found out how to dilute it to feed her by the bottle. She started soon to gain weight and stayed a fat healthy baby.”
The setting for the above words about that October evening was a farmhouse in the eastern part of Delaware County on Justamere Road. At that time, the house had no running water or electricity. The summer months preceding my birth, happened to be one of the hottest on record for Ohio, in that it reached over 100 degrees for several days. Since she had no way to cool the house, herself, or her three young children, aged 11, 8, & 3, she spent a lot of time sitting in the cool woods next to the house.
Several years ago, my three older siblings and I went looking for that house. All we knew was that it was near Sunbury. Eventually, while driving around the countryside, our oldest sister recognized the woods and then the house that is still standing. So, I got to see the house I had always wondered about and imagined being born in that upstairs, while my older siblings were playing downstairs.
One of the reasons I was happy to have a copy of her words is that there are parts I didn’t know about. I never knew how much I had weighed at birth, or if the doctor really made it to get to her before I was born. I had heard about the fact that my eyes didn’t open until three days after I was born. And I am pleased to know that she was only in labor for a couple of hours on that October evening.
As time passes, and we all get older and older, the more special it is to see her words on paper. Especially since the entire book is in her own perfect cursive handwriting. This article has been written by my mother’s fourth child, Kay E. Conklin.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.