Tales from the large mound 'o boxes
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Sun, 28 Aug 1994 02:39:45 CST
I thought that since both my daughter and oldest son's birthdays have
passed here and I've haven't had the time to mention that fact, that I
would include a couple of passages I wrote a while back about their
earlier life. The first one is called "Yarn and Cloth" and the other
is called "Junior".
(the following was extracted from the novel "Patches and Pins" (c)
1988, Mike L. Walton)
Yarn and Cloth
It was not until Mildred (my former wife) was in her seventh month of
pregnacy that I really realized that "we were about to have a child".
While we argued back and forth about the name of the child if a boy
came out from inside her, there was no doubt as to the name of the
child if she was a girl.
And believe me, I was really praying for a girl.
When we were dating at Eastern Kentucky, I would come over to her
place for "open house". Back then, "Open House" consisted of a lot of
heavy breathing for about two hours on alternating evenings, with the
girls having visitation on the Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays and boys
on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Saturdays were open by both male
and female dormitories for visits.
We also had to keep both feet on the floor (lest a swift dismissal
from the hall and "open house privs" taken away for a period of time)
and the front door must NOT be locked at any time.
I think that's the reason why the city of Richmond, with little or no
tourism to speak of, had well over 22 motels and hotels ranging from
the Knights and Holiday Inn to the "no tell Motels" that lined and
bordered one corner of the campus.
Mildred's roommate, a young lady from Irvine named Kim, brought along
with her some of her stuffed dolls and other memories from home. She
wanted to make her part of the room resemble as close as what she had
at her home only 45 minutes away over the mountains. One of the items
she brought with her was always on the center of the bed while she
was gone to class, or in this case, while we had "open house". It was
a cloth doll, with red yarn hair and freckles, wearing a pair of bib
overalls with her name embrordered in script, centered on the top part:
We would laugh at the fact that Millie's roommate was such a child at
heart still. Kim would refuse to move the Amanda doll from the center of
the bed while I would sit there and watch TV or listen to old rock
albums with the two of them and Kim's boyfriend. "She looks great
there...sit on the edge of the bed if you want to sit there!"
But when it came time to name our first female child, there was no
mistakes; no arguments; not even a letter of contention from either of
us as to her name. It would be Amanda. Amanda Lauren, after my "Big
Mom", Laura Brown.
And that silly doll with the hair in pony tails and those dark eyes
looking up at you. Amanda loves her hair in pony tails even now.
There were several firsts that occurred during the birth of the first
child. The first time that I was called every obscene name in the
book in my face without me returning the insults. The first time that
I had to see what previously I'd watched on television while my
stomach ached from the pain the woman was suffering on TV. Funny, I
never thought any part of it was "gross"...even the afterbirth stuff!
The first time that I really participated in a live birth. I
took part in a live birth at my high school my Senior year, but it was
a support role of making sure that the ambulance got there and knew
where Connie was having her child at. In this time, *I* was there,
beside a very unconfortable woman having to "hold it in" until the
right time, in which she was told to "PUSH!!" in German.
Did I mention that Amanda was born in a German hospital?
Because we lived too far away from an American hospital, the
military medical command in Europe gave those women living in outlying
areas two options. The first was to be air-evac'ed to the nearest
American hospital. The other one was to have the "operation" in a
host-nation hospital. Since we've heard extreme horror stories about
the American hospital and their treatment of pregnant women, we opted
for the German hospital.
The only person that understood English was the Doctor that delivered
Amanda to us. Everyone else had to literally pull out their Berlitz
*Deutches zum Americana buch* to translate phrases like "please give me
something for the (explitive deleted) pain!" to "please give me a
drink of water" in German. There was one nurse that had a high-school
experience in the United States and when she saw the two of us in the
room, she wanted to use her English on us. Unfortunately for both her
and us, Mildred scared her too much and she had to leave to go home.
Dr. Hartz (yeah, like in the company that makes pet collars and cat
and bird food...during the crowning period, we made fun of his name)
finally delivered Amanda at 4 minutes after midnight on the morning of
the 20th of August. As she screamed after exiting her mother's womb,
the doctor cleaned her, applied something to her eyes and suctioned
out her nose and ears, wrapped her in a warm blanket and handed her to
me. After she heard my voice and felt my finger, she immediately
stopped crying. I showed her to a crying Mildred whom stroked her
black hair and then started to talk to the newborn as the doctor and
nurses attended to her.
I told Amanda about her new family. I told her that she was the first
in a new line of Waltons. I made fun and told her that some people
would tease her about coming from the mountains somewhere and about
John-boy and Mary-Ellen. I had to tell her that it was a very popular
television program and then I had to explain what TV is. "You'll love
TV...we'll watch cartoons together and maybe we'll learn something
from it!", I told her. I then got serious and told her some things
that I had forgotten that I told her until later onward.
I told her that people would be forever trying to figure out if she
was "white" or "black" and that she don't have to be either. I told
her that her world will be one of decisions. I told her that the world
was in a royal mess and that it would be her and her peers' jobs to set
things right. As I tearfully told this newborn child how glad I was to
finally see her face-to-face instead of talking to her through her mother's
tummy, I didn't remember hitting the "down" button on the elevator. Nor
did I remember getting into the elevator and riding the five flights
downward to the lobby.
I do remember telling her that she would forever have boys wanting to
take her places, to talk with her and to work with her. I told her
that that's all a part of growing older and that I would have to "beat
them all off with a stick". I also remember counting her fingers and
her toes through the blanket as she peered at me with her dark black
(later to turn brown) eyes. I knew she was listening to me. I told
her that I witnessed someone killing herself because she felt that she
was not loved. I told this new warm bundle that she would always have
a home, and always have a set of parents that would always love her no
matter what happens in the world around her. I don't remember getting
to the lobby, where there was not a soul in sight during that early morning
I finally returned to my senses only when my Army boots were once
again cleaned by the floor "shoe scrapers" which ran in front of the
main doors to the Klinic am Eikert. The "shoe scrapers" gets all of
the dirt and grime off of the bottoms of your shoes. Germans are
notorious for their cleaning habits, and their hospitals are so clean
that one can literally eat from the floors.
Holding my firstborn child just inches from the main door to the
hospital, I finally realized what happened, and we quickly returned to
the delivery room. Nobody knew except me, and now you, that Amanda
Lauren Walton was almost taken out of the hospital literally minutes
after her arrival into this world.
A citizen of both Germany and the United States, "A-Man-Dah", as
everyone attempted to learn the new child's name -- not "Hilda", not
"Gisle", not "Katrina", but "Amandah" -- became the focus of the
entire hospital staff. Both mother and child stayed at the hospital
for a unheard of SEVEN days. There was nothing wrong with either
mother nor child. That was just the way the Germans did things.
(When Jessiann and I moved here three years back, our first visit from
my children to our place in Greenwood was a very tense one. What
broke the ice for both children and adults was a note left on my
computer terminal from my oldest child, just learning how to compose
paragraphs and sentences. The cover of the note spoke "To my Dad".
Inside, was some words that I have seared to my small heart: "Where
Ever you go, I will Always Love You. Amanda W.")
Happy 10th birthday, Mandi! Your father and his finace, soon to be your
"other mom", loves you and misses you! Stay a child as long as you
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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