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Our First Baby (Experiment)

Rose had an ear ache and both her ears were oozing - we took her to doctor, he prescribed medication. We didn't know what to do with it, thought that because it was for her ears, that it went into the ears. So this thick, pink "gook" went into her ears. It caked up and looked awful - but the crying stopped and it eventually healed. Then, next time for visit to doctor we found out that it was suppose to go in her mouth. Its a wonder that girl survived us...

Rose had casts on her feet for a few weeks and they showed us how to soak them in warm water with vinegar, to soften them and then to take a jackknife and cut them off. Here's this young, new father with a jackknife, scared stiff he will slip - and he did, once...I had to look to see if it was okay, he couldn't. It was okay - Rose had survived another experience.

Now, Rose went into corrective shoes. They were white, toeless, and curved slightly, pointing outward - to overcorrect the club feet. These were kept on 24 hours a day, for many weeks, then larger shoes as she grew. After awhile, when the feet were over-corrected, she went into special shoes with an arch support in them - she stayed in special shoes for about 10 years, and never did really develop an arch.

We decided to look for a better place to live. I called a Mrs. Ruth Paul, who had just finished an apartment up over her house; we talked for a long time, I said how it was a little more than we could pay. She said to come over and see the place and we would talk about it. Well, it was absolutely beautiful, all hardwood floors that shone like a tabletop. There was a large kitchen that opened out onto a sundeck. Regular bathroom with a real tub - a very large living room with one of the couches that made into a bed, and then a second couch - both of them were new. There was a tiny room off the living room, that would be good for a baby crib and also a clothes closet. She came down on her price, to what we could afford and we moved there.

Mrs. Paul was a very unusual woman, she worked in the Deeds Office of City Hall, in downtown Tacoma, she was active in the Democratic Party, loved camping, writing poetry, baking, entertaining, gardening - had a lot of energy. She taught me a lot.

She offered to babysit; we had never left Rose with anyone. Rose cried a lot and her formula never did seem to agree with her. The first thing Mrs. Paul did was put her on cows milk, while we were out one day. That sent me into a tailspin, as Dr. Spock didn't say to do that - but, it worked. Rose began to sleep at night and didn't cry all day long. Then I trusted Mrs. Paul's judgment more.

Around this time, I discovered that I was pregnant again. The usual morning sickness; but, the pills took care of most of it. Right away we picked out the name Joseph Norman, Jr., for a boy - and I don't remember if we had any picked out for a girl; just assumed that the next one would have to be a boy.

I began to get real homesick for Massachusetts, because I had never been away from there - and now I was so far away; it got worse and worse. Finally, we made arrangements for Joe to move into the Base and for me and Rose to fly back to Massachusetts. Joe had been offered the chance to take an "early out" of the Air Force a few months earlier, because they had too many in the service right then; but, we didn't take them up on it - now it was too late.

We sold everything but the TV, which Joe would use in the barracks on base, and also the car - that he would drive home, when he got out of the service. (Joe had wanted to make the military his career, but he never seemed to be in the right place at the right time for promotions - his commander was a career man and 6 months before his retirement, the government cutback on personnel and he was out...this convinced Joe that it wasn't the place for him.)

Rose developed a really bad diarrhea and it just wouldn't clear up. We got disposable diapers, which were new on the market. In those days they were paper liners that fit into a plastic outside that snapped shut. Unfortunately, they did not hold the diarrhea inside and it was quite the mess - flying across the country. We landed in Chicago, the "windy city", in the middle of the Winter and middle of a blizzard. Had to walk from the plane to the terminal without any covering. It was terribly cold. I was still having morning sickness, Rose was sick, I had air sickness - it was a "fun trip". We landed again in a "cow pasture" (just about), in Connecticut - in another blizzard. This time we stayed in the plane. Nobody sat near us; the diarrhea smelled so awful, it just oozed over everything.

When we landed at the Boston International Airport, my Mom, stepfather, and brother Bob were there. My Mom reached for Rose, didn't even say "Hi" to me. Right then I knew that I wasn't "home" - home was where Joe was, where we were a family. But, all bridges had been burned behind us and there was no going back. Mom held Rose all the time, I was again a child at home - and, that was a real cure for homesickness... Horace was hanging around our daughter, too much; ever time I changed her, he would stand behind me and look. He did that twice and from then on, I changed her in my bedroom. I wanted to get both of us away from him. Years later, my sister told us of the trouble she had with Horace trying to get into her bedroom, while Mom and Bob were visiting us in Washington state. She had put a tiny, hook-lock on her door and he couldn't get in; and was very nasty about it.

After a few days, I called Joe and we decided that Rose and I would fly back out to Tacoma; I waited for our trunk to arrive and when it did, sent it back to Tacoma. Then Joe called and said he could get the "early out", and would be driving across the country in a few days. I told him the trunk was on the way back to him - so, he made arrangements for someone out there to send it back to Massachusetts, and he drove across the country.

Joe forgot to check the oil in the car. When he crossed the border into Idaho, it stalled and wouldn't start again, so he was pushed to a gas station. There he found out he didn't have a drop of oil in the car. From there on, he had to stop every 50 miles to fill up the oil and check the gas. There was a big cloud of smoke all the rest of the way back; it was so thick it was coming out from under the dashboard, as well as everywhere else.

It was still Winter and hard driving. He got through the mountains okay, but through the prairie, the roads were so very straight - seemed to go on and on, from horizon to horizon - it was hard staying awake. Joe would drive all day, stopping just at night to eat and sleep. He was just ahead of a really bad blizzard; he kept ahead of it until he arrived in New York state and then it settled-in around him. Needless to say, when he got to Massachusetts, he was really tired.

We stayed at my Mom's house for a couple of weeks. In this time, Joe was looking for work. He asked his Dad if he could help him get a loan for a car - but, his Dad never had any extra money and didn't feel he could sign for Joe. Joe's Dad felt really bad about it, and did for most of his life: we did understand and never held it against him. My Mom offered to sign and we had a car. Joe got a job for Raytheon Manufacturing Company in Waltham, Massachusetts - working on the Hustler Bomber Airplane. He had to drive about 1 1/2 hours each way, every day.

We got an apartment down Pleasant Street, about half a mile from Mom's house. The apartment was an attic - the third floor. The rent was reasonable, completely furnished, good for us just starting out. Because of all the trouble I had with Horace, through the years, we spoke to Mom and said that he wasn't welcome in our home; she thought it would be hard to just visit us alone. We were very firm about our decision and she must have told him, because he never tried to visit us.

About this time, Rose's pediatrician, Dr. John M. Cummings, found that she had a problem with her right hip. She was 11 months old and couldn't stand very long on her feet, and didn't walk without help. When she was held up and he looked at the creases in the back of her legs, the creases didn't line-up, meaning that one hip was higher than the other. I had always noticed a "popping" noise, when I lifted her hips, to change her diapers. X-rays showed that she had no hip socket on the right side. It was decided that, because I had been scared when I was first pregnant (peeping Tom) that is why she never turned inside me - she stood on her feet all the 9 months I carried her and had club feet when born. And, because Joe had been working with radar while overseas, that is why her bones were very soft and socket didn't form.

Joe had just started working and we had no medical coverage, yet - we had to pay all the hospital bills. Rose went into Boston Children's Hospital. She was put to sleep and they put the hip bone into place and put a plaster cast on her - from her armpits, down to her toes - with her legs "spread eagle". There was an opening cut and lined with plastic paper, so she could urinate and have bowel movements. She was strapped to an "A" frame that was kept at an angle - allowing the waste to fall to a pan beneath the frame. This whole thing was set up in a crib.

From more X-rays, they found that the bone wasn't at a really good angle to the hipbone; so they redid the procedure. It was called an operation, although she wasn't cut - they had worked the bone into position.

This was the first time Rose had been away from us and she screamed all the time. The hospital was so far from where we lived, that we could only visit her on weekends. I was 7 months pregnant. The first time we visited her, we walked back and forth, up and down the corridors, looking into each room and we couldn't find her.

We asked a nurse and she showed us where Rose was. We didn't recognize her at all; her hair was wild looking, her eyes all puffy and red, and she was strapped to the frame. She slept through our first visit, the nurse said it was because she had been crying all the time and was exhausted; I am sure she felt abandoned and may still have things buried in her subconscious because of it.

Rose had to stay in the hospital longer because of the two operations and they had to check to be sure her circulation wasn't being cut off by the cast.

We took her home in June - I think in time for her 1st birthday. It was so very hot upstairs in our 3rd floor apartment; the sweat would just roll down my chest and onto my big belly. It was hard unstrapping the cast from the frame and turning Rose a few times a day. I developed very strong hands and arms; our pediatrician couldn't do it, when he came to see how she was doing. He was amazed how strong my hands were. I would take Rose off the frame a few times a day, and hold her on my knees, with my big belly in the way; to give her some hugging time. She was very good natured through all this, smiled all the time.

Joe got an old carriage, took it all apart, except for the wheels and built a wooden compartment that the body cast would fit into, the little "potty" fitted below the cast - had a little door that kept the potty out of sight, except for emptying time. We were able to take Rose for a walk down the sidewalk in this carriage.

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Pen Name: Aimee Love



Mom Lorraine - Rose Marie - Daddy Joe!