Maybe the title sounds like an ode to a famous route, or a high-roll with a pair of dice. But, no, dear reader--the title alludes to my natal anniversary, looming straight ahead of me.
I am now official a Medicare beneficiary as well as someone collecting Social Security. I guess I join the ranks of curmudgeonly seniors snarling--get your hands off my entitlements. Oh, please don't let me become self-centered and selfish.
Anyway, it is time to run a bit more of my parents' biography. This story is taken from my father's account of the day I was born. While all the details, and most of the words are his, I have edited it a bit. At the time of my birth, my parents were living in Waukena, California, where my father was the pastor of a church in central California, and also a public school teacher in a school some 25 miles away.
I was born on February 13 on a Tuesday evening. Because the due date was five days later, my father had gone to school that morning all unsuspecting that "today" was the day. While my mother was beginning to have feelings and symptoms pointing to the fact that she would likely soon deliver their first baby, she had not told my father. It was his week to drive to school. After school, he had dropped off his fellow teacher with whom he car-pooled at her home. When he arrived home, he found a friend there with my mother, who had been having labor pains all day long and she was beginning to become concerned knowing that my father did not know. She had walked over to a local store and Post Office in the morning and told the store owner. Eventually, word got around to the friend who stopped by just before my father got home; she was prepared to drive my mother to the hospital.
When my father got home and learned that "now" was the time, his first feelings and emotions were to be overwhelmed at all that was happening. So he took my mother in his arms and hugged her, with the friend hovering over them and urging--go, go, go.
So, off they went to the "East Tulare Hospital", about twelve or thirteen miles away. About halfway on the trip, the car began a knock in the car engine, and my father felt the car losing power. He kept the accelerator down and kept moving until they got in closer to town. They had to cross a railroad track, the Southern Pacific Rail Road, as they approached the hospital. Looking ahead, my father saw a slow moving southbound freight train coming to the crossing. Trying to keep his speed up, for fear the engine would die, he turned on to another street to avoid the crossing altogether.
As he slowed to make a left turn the motor died completely. It would not budge. They coasted to the side of the street. My father jumped out and ran across the street to a house where several people were sitting on their front porch. He said to them, "I'm taking my wife to the East Tulare Hospital and my car died." They had seen and observed that fact, and the "East Tulare Hospital" was a maternity hospital only. So they took in the situation immediately. A young man there jumped up, ran into the house saying, "Where are my keys?", grabbed his car keys, ran out to the carport at the side of their house, backed out and pulled his car up beside their car. My mother was transferred to that car, and the three of them sped across town to the "East Tulare Hospital."
With my mother safely in the hospital, my father made his way to the house of one of his church members. They then took him back across town to the car to tow it back to his place. It was parked where he had left it, parked at an angle partly out into the street. After they all got back to the church members’ house, my father wanted to go back to the hospital right away. But the church members assured my father that it could be hours and hours yet, that the first baby usually took a long time coming. So they insisted he eat supper with them.
By the time my father got back to the hospital, I had been born. My father came into the room to see my mother just as a nurse came along and popped a thermometer in her mouth. Anxious to learn of his child, he asked her, "Is it a boy?" And she shook her head "NO". My father then said, "Is it a girl?". And she shook her head "YES".