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52 Stories in 52 Weeks #25—Babyhood

Obviously I do not recall the day I was born, but later my mom did tell me a bit about my infancy.

My parents lived in the college town of Laramie, Wyoming at the time I was born. I came into the world at the old Ivinson Memorial Hospital one spring night. I was my mom and dad’s first child.

I arrived a couple of weeks prematurely. Consequently, I was tiny and weighed less than the usual 5-pound threshold for life outside an incubator. Still, I had a lusty cry. The doctor decided I could skip the incubator and go home when my mother’s prescribed recovery time in the hospital ended.

The first time my mother looked at me, she thought I resembled my Finnish relatives. I had a bald head, and perhaps she suspected I would be blonde like them. She was right.

My dad was finishing up school as a business student at the University of Wyoming that year. He was graduated a month after I was born. He must have loved studying for his final exams with a wailing infant in the house. I had the privilege of attending his graduation ceremony, but I wasted it by crying the entire time. My mother had to take me out of the auditorium, so she missed it, too.

After the graduation, my dad needed to attend a three-month orientation in Casper, Wyoming for his new job as a petroleum landman. In the fall, he would be assigned to a permanent location in a field office. Not wanting to live in temporary digs in Casper, my mom took me to stay with her parents in Rapid City, South Dakota for the summer. There, my grandparents and aunt doted on me, the first grandchild.

In early July, my dad drove over from Casper for a visit. While he was there, I was baptized at the Trinity Lutheran church on the Fourth of July. My mother’s younger sister and my dad’s older brother served as my godparents.

When autumn arrived, Dad collected us, and we three moved north to Bismarck, North Dakota to begin his job. It fell to my mom to find us a place to live.

She thought the perfect location was an upstairs apartment for rent across the street from my dad’s office and the grocery store. Only problem was that the landlady wanted no children around. Mom went to talk to her and claimed that I was a very nice baby. She promised to keep me quiet.

The landlady relented. Mom, Dad, and I moved in. We stayed in that apartment until our family outgrew it when my brother was born a little over a year later. My mom said the landlady eventually grew to like me and was sorry to see us leave.

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