Sunday, October 24, 2010

Teeny Karin

A new blog direction, which will mean lots of installments I think. Echo and I are taking a class about writing our life stories, and ideas are just pouring out of me. So many that I can't imagine anyone reading them all, but there's a prayer if they're in short bits, illustrated. That latter takes some time, but we all need pictures. So I'm still, in fact, becoming my grandmother, and besides it's too complicated to change the name! Of course, I had to start at the start.

Besides my hospital certificate, with my footprint and handprint, the documentation of my birth includes a note from Uncle John, my mother’s youngest brother and my father’s best friend, informing his girlfriend and starting, “Whoopee, I’m an aunt!”

Actually, it wasn’t quite so easy. The fun part of my birth was that it took place in Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, April 8, 1940. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.’s daughter Daphne was born that same day, in the same hospital, and it no doubt created more press. I caused havoc, apparently, by emerging with the cord around my neck and who knows what other unseemly tricks, because while I, once unwrapped, was fine, with my mother it was touch and go. Luckily Daddy had some money on him, because my mother needed blood, and they wouldn’t do a blood transfusion without cash on the line. We were far from our home in Glendale, especially in those days without freeways, so there was no one else to pitch in.

I went home, with my dad and Grandma Guest, my mom’s mother, to take care of me. From what I’ve gleaned of child raising practices, my grandmother was an old pro and more flexible than my mother, who tried to raise me from the book, so unless I had separation trauma for that week or two without my mother, I was in good hands. Grandma Guest had raised four kids.

I don’t know what book my mother (whom I always called Mommy, which is hard to use now) consulted, but apparently it called for set feeding times, every four hours. I was bottle-fed. Finally Grandma Guest got fed up with hearing me scream, and said, “Feed that child now!” I’d say from early pictures of my plump self that I was not underfed, but I’m glad for Grandma’s intervention.

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