Sunday, December 20, 2009

Okay, ready or not, here's the first chapter of my memoir, entitled "Born in a Boxcar." I should explain that I wasn't actually born in a boxcar, but I was conceived in a boxcar and that same boxcar was my first home. But somehow, the titles "Conceived in a Boxcar" or "Lived in a Boxcar" didn't seem as catchy as "Born in a Boxcar," so there you have it. This first chapter should probably be called, "Born in the Hospital That Was Closest to the Boxcar at the Time."
It is the story of my birth, as told to me by my father.
Old Doc Sullivan didn't perform episiotomies. "If God had wanted a woman to have an extra slit down there he would have given her one," he explained to my father as Daddy stood awkwardly by, watching the painful labor. So, when my big head had stretched my teen-aged mother's vagina as far as it would go without help, Doc Sullivan inserted his gloved finger gently between my head and my mother's taut skin and slowly and carefully moved his finger around and around the perimeter, stretching the skin gradually as my exhausted mother pushed and heaved. Pop! The head was out, shoulders and torso followed easily.
My father gasped. "Oh my God, what's wrong with the baby's face?"
"Hold your horses, Ken, and let me take a look." The doctor gently wiped me off and examined my mouth. "Well, it looks like she has a cleft lip." He opened my mouth and looked at the palate. "Her palate's okay. Be grateful for that. Everything else is fine. She has all her fingers and toes. We'll get this lip stitched up and you can take her home in a couple of weeks."
"What's wrong? Let me see, " Mom asked.
"Just a minute, Evie," Doc Sullivan answered. "I'll cut the cord and you can hold her." He looked again at Daddy and added, "She'll have to have plastic surgery in about a year. That'll smooth out the scar a little."
Mom was crying as the doctor handed me to her. "Oh, my poor little baby. Don't cry. Mommy and Daddy love you, no matter what."
Daddy moved next to her and put his hand awkwardly on her shoulder. All he could think of was, How the hell am I going to pay for all this?


Harry said...

Is this really non-fiction?

bizQuirk said...

Good Morning, America how are ya'
Don't you know me I'm your native Daughter
I was conceived aboard , "the city of New Orleans"
I'll have aged 50 years before this blog post here is done.

Madam Z said...


Unfortunately, yes. It is non-fiction.

Ms Smack said...

I'm already GLUED to the screen!

One of my best friends in the whole world has a seriously bad cleft lip/palate thingy.

She can't say s properly and get self-consciously, but I LOVE HER and she's brilliant at everything she does.