Arrival of Marisa

The summer of 1977 was beastly hot and our baby was not due until the end of August. Elaine never complained, but the heat and humidity were unbearable and her extremities were often quite swollen. We did not have an ultra sound this time so we had no clue about the gender. My Italian Aunt Mary perceived that she was a bit of a mystic, and asked for specific information about John’s birth. There were seven categories that required responses and candidly I faked all of the answers because I could not remember whether it was a full moon, and what the tides were in Jamaica. Passing on these counterfeit facts Aunt Mary went into her Sicilian incantations and after much meditating announced that our second child would be a boy. She claimed that she had an unbroken streak of thirty two babies being correctly predicted, and assured me that we should only accept blue infant clothing.

The appointed time came one evening and Elaine announced that we should consider after dinner heading for Cooley Dickinson hospital. The labor had been so prolonged with John’s birth that the sense of urgency was minimal. I think I actually did the dishes before going upstairs to gather the necessary items.

We chatted aimlessly away in the car when all of a sudden Elaine’s face became ashen, and when we arrived at the emergency room she could barely walk. For a few moments I thought she was going to give birth in the parking lot. Unlike John Marisa made her initial appearance into the world shortly after Elaine and I went into the delivery room. We were so grateful that again we had been blessed with a healthy child, and the only negative consideration was conveying to Aunt Mary that her streak had been broken. I shuddered at the thought that the curse of the Sicilian Mountain people would be upon my head the instant she heard the news.

The birth of our second child was certainly less daunting and fearful than John’s birth. John at eighteen months was a delightful energizer bunny and had obviously thrived despite the lack of experience of his neophyte parents. The arrival of Marisa was initially welcomed by John, but I think he felt her stay was temporary. He called her “Risa baby’ and seemed very happy to have her around. This reaction was short lived because when he arrived home from daycare two weeks later and observed that she had taken residence he flailed on the floor and expressed disdain for the new contender for his parent’s attention. Fortunately this demonstration was never again repeated, and soon he became the loving older brother to this adorable little girl

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