June 4th. 1980;
The day, it’s the morning of June 4th. It’s Wednesday; I go up the block to be with Kelli; her friend Lynne is a sleepover guest, this day. I and Lynne have never got along but if I want to be with Kelli than I’ll have to hang with Lynne for the day. We’re watching “The Price is Right” on television and Lynne went inside for a while. After a time she comes in laughing!?
“I was just on the phone with Barbra B. and she’s off and running… Let’s go down by her house and see what’s there to watch!?” Kelli and Lynne get into the front-seats of Kelli’s White Buick Electra 225
I was in the backseat; the two of them were laughing up a storm! Kelli drives up Calamus ave. until she nears 74th. Street; this is where Barbra B. lives. Barbra is frilling a most extremely large kitchen-knife; it must be the biggest knife in her house?! Here she comes with her father chasing up behind her? He’s trying to catch-up and stop this girl from getting to whatever place she is so hard-pressed to get too???
Lynne slaps onto the side of the door, Kelli slows and Lynne rolls down the window then sticks-out half her body; she waves over to Barbra B. and screams, “Hey Barbra, what’s going on?”
Kelli says, “What are you doing?”
“Where’re you going? You need a lift? Come on there’s plenty of room in the back!” The door-locks pop open… “Come-on we’ll take you where-ever you’re going!”
Barbra heads towards the car; Kelli, grips the wheel, laughing; I know this laugh… Kelli has no idea what’s going on?! Barbra takes hold of the door as her father reaches her; he grabs her arm and pulls her hand away; Barbra’s father yells to Kelli, “Get out of here; Leave!”
Kelli steps on the gas and drives off!
Heart’s racing… ‘Holy crap, that crazy ***** had her hand on the door? She was about to be inside this car, she had a knife; she, she, she be sitting next to me?! What the hell just happened???’
Kelli drives back towards the house; the two of them seating in the front seat… laughing?! Not the same laugh but…, laughing! Lynne’s, an all too familiar sort; it’s a kind I heard in the silent-times unspoken about; a delight to a well done of what just happened.
Kelli’s, her laugh is also all too familiar, hers, is the kind that reassures. It’s the kind I’d feel deep inside me at three in the morning while swinging, inside Little Bush Park, on those swings beneath moonlight knowing, oddly enough, I’m safer there at that moment than I’d be anywhere-else.
Kelli parks up on the corner, on the side of Tootie’s house; she runs across to store for soda, cigarettes and stuff then we went upstairs.
“What the hell was that…?” Kelli says, laughing, while she slaps the bag onto the table; bag brakes open and as liverwurst, cheese, bottle of soda and the cigarettes flies off to all parts of the kitchen!? “What did you do? That was f----- up!?” Kelli starts to fix us lunch as Lynne tells us about what she was doing in the kitchen while we were watching The Price Is Right.
Lynne calls up Barbra’s gay-lover and tells her she’s Barbra’s (formerly) ex-girlfriend and that she’s calling to let her know Barbra and she are back together so she’ll no longer be needed or wanted in their lives!
Afterwards, Lynne calls Barbra’s saying to Barbra, she’s Barbra’s ex-girlfriend’s newest lover and she’s calling to inform her,Barbra, that Barbra’s ex and this girl’s new lover are bopping the sheets with each-other and the two of them are being played as fools; as one could imagine and as we saw for ourselves, Barbra went into a high-speed tailspin. Barbra snaps?! And now she is out there trying to go end these two women in a pool of their own blood!?
Unbelievably, Lynne still thinks what she made happen is a big fat hoot???
Kelli, “What the hell were you thinking???”
Lynne looks at Kelli, and with this snide tone and smirk on her face she says,” What… I was bored! Did you see Barb’s father’s face?” laughter erupting from her as she turns to get her stuff out of Kelli’s bedroom; “Hey it was fun!”
Kelli,” Oh brother; you’re…? Hey, get ready and I’ll drive you… home.”
Kelli looks at me and we both put hands up with baffled looks?!
It’s just around 3 pm. as Kelli rolls up to Lynne’s to drop her off. She asks Kelli to drop her down at the bar she hangs-at so she could find-out what’s been going on there.
Kelli did and on the way back she stops by Julia’s, her mom’s, work; Julia gives us a list and we go over to key-food to shop.
While we’re shopping Kelli keeps, “I can’t get over what we saw???”
I kept thinking how did Lynne know so much of Barbra’s love-life??? She knew names, places and everything she’d need to get that girl Barbra to to such a point and state?’ I think Kelli and I were both shaking from this for the rest of the day.
Kelli drops me off, goes parks and goes into house.
I remember this date so well because later that night at around 2:30 in the morning I was at my father’s door knocking?!
” Dad? Dad? Dad; you need to get… You have to get-up!?”
My water broke??? My due date’s not ‘til September 18th. I first thought, ‘Oh no not again?! This can’t happening; … not again?! But, there was no pain, no blood, and no sense of dread like the other times?
I went into my room and grab onto my bag and what-ever-else I thought to take; I figured, by this time my dad would be ready to bring me up to the Boulevard and we’ll cab it to St. John’s. He wasn’t in the middle-room; he wasn’t in the kitchen I knocked on the bathroom door and… He’s not in there? Maybe he went up to call a cab to pick me up at the door?? I’d think he would… He’d have said something…, like when you have what you need I’ll be downstairs I’m going up to get a cab??? The hall-door’s closed?!’
No, no, no, I go back to my Dad’s bedroom door and knock. “Dad…? “
“What?” My eyes nearly pop out of my head!
I try to open the door but as usual the lock is on? “Dad?! My water broke???” As one could imagine my voice is no-longer an indoor voice?! “Never mind broke it’s like the dam broke here and there’s water everywhere out here! Come on you have to get up… you need to take me to St. John’s?!”
This low soft moaning whimper comes from behind that locked door, “Can it wait until the morning?”
??? Bang! Needless to say dad needs a new door-lock.
“Nelson…; Get up!”
“Ok.” Slowly he gets to his feet. “I don’t know why…, now? Why can’t you wait ‘til morning?”
“No, now.” In my head,’ Maintain: Four six-packs… I’m lucky I’m going alone?!’
“I need coffee? What the hell is all this water on the floor?”
“Dad? Dad; … that would be me?! It’s why you’re up? We need to go… St. John’s?! Let’s go!”
Ever notice how when you need… there’s never one to be found??? Phone-booth! Lindy’s cab come and picks us up; not one yellow-cab? We get there and they check me out.
The doctor, “You have had what’s called a premature rupture of membranes; you’re being admitted so you can continue to be monitored. Your baby’s vitals but…; we want you to understand the baby’s condition is at high-risk it’s holding its own.”
“Doctor…?” My eyes begin to whelm-up…
“Miss Rose…” The doctor places his hand on my arm, “You need to remain claim; I have the nurse come give you something and I’ll come check on you when they put you in a room; for now remember the vitals are good.”
“Ok; your father’s outside, I have him brought in to you.”
I told him I’d have to stay and he should go home.
“You have money for a cab?”
“My bag is under there, Dad.”
You know, it’s strange; he has no problem asking me to give him money so he could get home!? He doesn’t know where I get money… But, he couldn’t care less?! And, I doubt very much even if he knew it would bother him; hem, he’s lived off her all these years…, knowing that I’ve been signing Elaine’s name and cashing her checks from the checkbook I took and packed in my bag the day I left that place in Brooklyn would faze him?! Well maybe if he was aware I only cashing $50. to $100. At a time out of an account which has $33,000. In it would?! I stopped writing checks after I bought everything I needed for a baby until a baby is one month old; after $1700. I didn’t take anymore. Till the day my mother died neither she or I ever said a word about that checkbook. And, I know she knew… every time a check was cashed. When I cashed them at Manufacture Handovers Bank would confirm with a call before any check cashing; they did it since my brother, Kevin, cashed out a $12,000 check and left town! A signature that was in no way like my mother’s! The bank made a deal to replace half?! I’m sure she could have had ever last penny back but the bank would have had police-case opened and a warrant out for Kevin and she never did turned her back on that boy?! That check wasn’t even, close-to, the worst thing that boy had done. The day he died I smiled, enough said. Well, I think she thought I would have felt bad and come home and I’d do what she wanted me to do that day.
The sun’s coming up… They just put me here in this room, room 410; I hear the Doctor down the hall. I hope he has good things to tell me!? I pull the drape to see him when he comes in the door; a circle of people are out there with charts. They’re coming in…,”Miss Rose, these are the team who will be watching over you.” Doctor was saying their names but I wasn’t hearing him; all I want was for him to tell me the baby’s going to be alright. “Miss Rose I spoke to your GYN and he informed me you were already aware of this being a high-risk pregnancy?
“The chart says you been pregnant before?”
“Yes; never over five months.”
‘Well, you do have that in your favor; although, there’s still no… Miss Rose? What wrong?”
“Listen!” he places his hand on my arm. ”Understand what I’m saying; we’re monitoring the vitals and you and your baby are, for right now, fine. The longer that baby stay in there the better be the chances of survival. Do you understand this?”
“Good; in order for this to be we will need to keep you in the most sterile environment possible. Do you understand what this means? I can see you’re not; Miss Rose you’re going to have to stay in the hospital until the baby is born. And you’ll need to be on complete bed-rest so we can continue to monitor the baby. This means no wondering the halls this is a private room and you have a bathroom all to yourself no getting out of bed just to walk around, no unnecessary movement you need to stay pregnant for as long as you can. Now, you understand what I’m telling you?”
Crap! I look at this doctor like he just grew three more heads??? “You want me stay here, and to sport this bed? Until, September 18th?”
“No… Miss Rose September 18th Is full-term an ideal time for the baby; we already know that won’t happen that date’s gone and is impossible now. But the idea is to now get you as close as we can to that date. Let’s just take this a day at a time. I come and check in on you later. Remember, no getting up except if you need to use the bathroom. Ok?”
The bathroom only; got it!”
The doctor leaves my room… Its Thursday morning 7:12 am. June 5th. 1980
Mind this point, it’s still 1980?! You can smoke inside a hospital; and, if you’re in a private room without Oxygen Tanks in use.
The date and time of baby’s birth is...; Friday, morning, on June 6th. 3:54 am.
They took him right away from the delivery room I only saw him from the mirror up in the corner of the room; you know the kind where things are closer than they look type’s… they put me back into my room. It’s 7 am. I know, I have had a baby boy but I haven’t met him? Three hours not one word; not one word to me by anyone here?! Did something happen? Again.
It is 7:10am. Door, to my room, opens… The doctor steps in… “Miss Rose?” he walks to the side of my bed. “Has anyone been in to talk to you?”
“We need to talk to you about what is next for your son…”
“My, son…” I thought sure… he was going to say???
Yes, they are ordering transport for him, now; our hospital isn’t equipped to care for his needs we need to rush him to another hospital that can give him the best chances to survive this early most… we’ll do best we can. They’ll bring him in a moment I know you hadn’t had a chance to hold him.”
As he said this four people enter the room and my baby, my baby.
The nurse walks around to the left of my bed and hands me this itty biddy blanket holding this little face. I look at him and thought ‘His skin he’s so purple; his face… he looks just as she did. But he’s here. ” Hello Joseph! I’m your mommy. I’m grateful you’re here. “
Big hands; the nurse who handed my baby to me to hold is now on my right-side to take him away from me.
They rush my tiny boy out to the neonatal ambulance He’ll be at Long Island Jewish Hospital when I leave here on Monday.