This evening fifty-eight years ago, we walked through the door of the emergency room at Athens General Hospital, we were living in Athens, Georgia, and I told the several nurses standing there, “We need somebody to tell us if we’re going to have a baby.” Behind me, Linda pushed an enormous stomach up to the counter, and the nurses burst into laughter. She was 21, I was 22, a Navy ensign, and we had been married exactly a year. It was our first experience with birth labor, and we thought what was happening was contractions, but we weren’t positive. Malinda was born that overnight. I had wanted a baby girl ever since taking care of first cousins the Malone girls when they were infants, and my heart filled to bursting with love for this child.
It was still the day and age when fathers were nobodies at hospital, and I wasn’t allowed to hold her until I took her out of the car when we arrived home a day later; after which Linda practically had to fight me to hold her even for nursing.
One year later to the day, I was a lieutenant (junior grade) in USS Corry, a destroyer, ship tied up at our homeport in Norfolk. Wife and baby picked me up at the destroyer-submarine piers and drove us home. As we walked into the livingroom, Linda stood Malinda on the floor and she toddled straight across the room to her daddy. Somewhere around here in family memorabilia is a picture of her later that day, June 25, 1959, burying her face in her first birthday cake.
Wasn’t this morning’s best picture of distant clouds over the horizon, but the only one a seagull flew into the scene just as I snapped.
DThos+ in +Time+
still smitten with my girls, all of whom I will see today. Linda, Malinda, Tass, Kristen, Caroline, Charlotte, Lillie.