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Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Happy Mother's Day - A Guest Post

Crailsheim Germany, Family, Guest Post, Mother's Day

Mom and dad have been gone for some time. 

I was paging through my dad's memoirs last evening and stumbled upon this oft-told family tale of my arrival into the world.

In my dad's own words is this mother's day post...

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Grace and I were so looking forward to the birth of our first child that this upcoming event seemed to consume our thoughts. Grace’s mother, also a Grace, decided to visit us at this time despite the fact she was not in the best of health.  She flew into Stuttgart where we met her.

Shortly after arriving, Grace and her Mother took off for a trip to Munich and the Bavarian Alps. They stayed at the Army establishments and had the time of their lives shopping and sightseeing.  At this time, Grace was in the eighth month of pregnancy.  In those days pregnant German women were not generally found in public, especially at eight months. Grace M. rolled with this exposure to a new way of life. I believe we even took her to the local beer fest.

On the early morning (2:30 am) of Tom’s arrival I could hear Grace and her Mother discussing whether it was time or not for the journey to Bad Cannstatt, Stuttgart, the home of the US Army, Fifth General Hospital.  Grace called Captain Boyd and they agreed to meet at the dispensary within minutes.  I dressed and with Grace and Mother, we drove to the dispensary, only minutes from the housing area.  The good Captain Boyd examined Grace and gave her a shot of some medication to slow down the contractions.  Grace was placed on a litter and put into a dependable WWII ambulance.  Captain Boyd packed a delivery kit (in case) and stowed it in the trunk of my car.  Mrs. McNulty joined me and Captain Boyd in my car for the 65 plus miles to the hospital.

Captain Boyd stretched out in my back seat and dozed.

It was agreed that I would follow the ambulance to Stuttgart.  In addition to the driver Grace was kept company by an African-American Sergeant, a member of the medical unit.  By now it was 3 am as our convoy of two took off.  The highway to Stuttgart was but two lanes, one in each direction, no shoulder and with many steep winding hills and valleys.  The weather was cool with extreme ground fog.  Outside Schwabisch Hall there was a fork in the road.  To the right headed for Heibromn, to the left, Stuttgart.  The ambulance driver chose the right. I speeded-up and pulled alongside, honking my horn and motioning him to stop.  I got out of the car and approached the young G.I. and asked in somewhat of an angry tone, where in the hell are you headed? He responded, I don’t really know, I only got to Germany yesterday. 

We turned about and proceeded to Stuttgart as dawn was breaking.

Grace was checked into the Fifth despite the fact she had lost her A.G.O. (I.D.) card some days ago. The maternity ward was bulging. Beds were even set up in the halls. There was a shortage of delivery rooms. It seems that in the Army (it may also be true among the civilian population) many births occur at this time of year.  Remember folks, what celebration was observed nine months ago.

Our son, Tom, was born at 9:08 am. He was delivered with the help of Major Albert B. Lorincz, US Army, MC.  Grace’s mother and I stayed around for a period and then headed back to Crailsheim before dark. Captain Boyd returned to camp with the ambulance which so carefully and attentively transported Grace to the hospital.  In retrospect, I often wondered how many MDs today would be so giving of themselves.  News of Tom’s birth spread around the camp like wildfire.

The following day, Grace McNulty and I went to visit Grace.  Another unusual event took place.  As we stood before the large viewing window of the nursery I flashed my A.G.O. card to the attending nurse.  In this case, it was a German national hired by the Army.  She retrieved a baby from the crib in the nursery and held it up to the glass for us to see. 

It was an African American child. 

The nurse did a double take.  She had noticed that the baby’s father was white and that his wife was also white. It seems that the nurse, when looking at the A.G.O. card, saw only my first name, Howard.  It so happened that a Sergeant Howard’s wife gave birth to a son on the same day.  He, incidentally, was based at our camp and well known to us since he had a child attending our school and was of African-American descent.

Several days later, Grace was released from the hospital.  Grace McNulty and I went to pick her up and return her and our son to Crailsheim, our home.  The teachers were more than gracious in lending a hand to help Grace.  It was almost like having a full-time nursing service at our disposal.  Tom was a good baby and thrived.

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