Friday, November 22, 2013

The Seventh Daughter

I can't imagine what the couple must have thought when, on Nov. 22, 1924, their seventh daughter came into the world.  With a houseful of girls already ranging in age from sixteen down to two, was there disappointment?  Was there resignation?  Was there joy?

Story and song give us fascinating accounts of the psychic powers sometimes attributed to seventh sons. Just ask Johnny Rivers, because after all, as the song goes, "[He's] the one, [he's] the one," you know.  Is there any witchcraft or voodoo attached to a seventh daughter?

No--not this one, anyway.  She had what must have been a pretty uneventful childhood; at least, she doesn't recall much of it.  She grew up and came of age, it seems, pretty much spoiled by her older sisters and their husbands.

Of course, she was of that generation that walked miles to school in all kinds of weather.  This, she remembers.  She went on to graduate salutatorian of her high school class, marry her high school sweetheart, and become a stay-at-home mom before it was really a choice.

She stretched her own curtains.  She never drove a car.  Every Monday she ran clothes through an old Maytag wringer and, when she was done, carried the water out to the back yard a bucketful at a time.

Her birthday is noteworthy for numerous reasons.  Over the years, it has occasionally fallen on Thanksgiving Day, as it did last year.  Fifty years ago today, on her thirty-ninth birthday, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  There was cake that day anyway.

Today she turned eighty-nine.  She is mother to two, grandmother to four, and great-grandmother to eight. Her youngest great-grandson came not quite three weeks ago, and she was one of the first to welcome him.

Happy Birthday, Mom.  You and Heero are like bookends, framing our month of November with your birthdays and giving us two great reasons to celebrate.

I don't know what your mom and dad thought when you were born.   I never got to ask them.  But I, for one, am glad they had Daughter #7--and I know a whole slew of little rug rats who would be quick to agree.    


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