1957 Baby Girl  2007

She came in August after 9 months of paralyzing her mother from the waist down.

Mom speaks: it was an old injury, you know, but not too old.
Probably from two falls.
One out of that old mimosa tree in Daddy Baldy’s front yard at his house in Saltillo.
I was sitting in that tree, reading a book, I was always reading a book! And I had the salt shaker and green apples to munch on.

I didn’t play with the girls and their dollies too much. I always preferred mumbly-peg with the boys, or reading in the big mimosa tree, or swinging from my toes on the bar, daydreaming of tap-dancing on Broadway or in the movies like Ginger Rogers. . .that’s when I realized I was falling.

I took that preacher’s seat from 12 feet up.
I got up and dusted off my seat, wow it hurt! But, I just climbed back up.

The next fall happened at college right after her mom met her dad. They were coming out of the university center.

Mom speaks: it had been raining and I had my moccasins on.
You know, I really love those kind of shoes. They’re so soft. Too soft for rain-slick marble steps.
I came out fast and there were those wet, gleaming white steps, and I went down. Hard. I knocked myself out, he said. He carried me back to the frat house.

Daddy speaks: yeah, she knocked herself out!

When I laid her down on the couch in the living room, she just started screaming! Bloody murder!

Mom speaks: yes, I screamed!

There was so much pain. I didn’t know what had happened. We didn’t go to the doctor, I just had a big lump on the back of my head for weeks.

Well, it all came to a head when I got pregnant.
I was in no shape for pregnancy, but I didn’t even know that! I mean, I couldn’t move.
There were times I couldn’t even go to the bathroom by myself. How demeaning. How demoralizing.

Then when labor started, in a restaurant with her mother and sister, they went straight to the hospital.

Mom speaks: I put my arm out and said “put me to sleep, doc!”

When I woke up the next day, I had this little baby girl.

I didn’t even know her.

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