Friday, December 18, 2009

Mumps and a Baby Sister

Today – a Friday Flashback.

Next week, my baby sister will turn 40 years old. Happy early birthday, sis. I know exactly where I was 40 years ago the day she was born. I was all of 7 years old – my brother, 3 years old. And it was getting pretty close to Christmas.

Daddy woke brother and I up very, very early the morning of Dec. 22. He scooped us up, put us into the car in our jammies, and drove us up the street to Janice’s house – my mom’s best friend.

“Where’s Mommy?” I sleepily asked. “Where are we going?”

“Shhhhh – Mommy’s getting ready to go to the hospital; the baby's coming,” Daddy replied. “You’re going to spend the day with Aunt Janice.”

We arrive at Janice’s house, and shuffle off to the guest bedroom where both brother and I fall back to sleep. I had school that day – it was to be our Christmas party – and the last day of school before Christmas break. (Yes, they called it "Christmas break" back then – screw “Holiday” break. It was Christmas.)

Later, Janice got me up for school. She fried an egg and sat it down in front of me – and then the phone rang. It was Daddy with good news – we now had a new baby sister named Traci Christine. Mommy and baby were doing well.

However, I wasn’t doing well. I was having a very difficult time chewing that fried egg. My mouth wasn’t working. What the hell? I debated whether to tell Janice or not. Janice was a very vocal, fiery redhead – as a meek, mild-mannered 7-year old, she scared the hell out of me. Do I tell her? Would she yell at me? Would she beat me?

I finally resigned myself to whatever consequences this would bring, but I knew that egg wasn’t going down my throat. I tentatively said, “Uh, Aunt Janice? I’m very sorry – but my mouth’s broke. I can’t chew the egg.”

Janice took one look at me, and shrieked, “Oh. My. God! You’ve got the mumps!!!! Back to bed.”

Yes. I officially had the mumps. Which meant I missed the Christmas party & gift exchange at school. Which meant I had to stay at Aunt Janice’s for a week. And at the end of that week, my baby brother got the mumps, as well. So we stayed another week. Janice never let my parents live that down. Our “one-day” visit turned into a two-week extended stay. We couldn’t be near mom or the baby – we were in “quarantine” – whatever the hell that meant. To a 7-year old, it meant I was stuck in a terrifying woman’s house without my own clothes and without my own toys and missing my Mommy. And I couldn't play with any of my friends.

Christmas was very weird that year. We celebrated Christmas in late January –after we were all reunited. I was terrified that Santa wouldn't come in January - he was probably lounging on vacation in Florida by then - but my folks reassured me that Santa makes "late runs" - and he did. Santa came in January to our house. All was well in my world.

Yup – a Christmas to remember, 1969. The year Santa brought us a baby sister and the mumps. I’m still not sure which one was the better deal. ☺




Noelle said...

oh my! what a story! and you tell it so well!

i'm baaaaack!

Deidra said...

My baby sister was born in March of 1969! What a crazy story you have about your sister's birth!

The Grounded Drink Lady said...

That's just plain sad. Glad Santa made it in January. Did you hold that against your baby sister? Or do you get to celebrate twice now? Hehe!

Drama Queen said...

Noelle: Thank you! And I'm glad you're back - you were missed!

Deidra: I keep saying we are living parallel lives! Spooky, huh?

GDL: I was glad that Santa didn't skip us in January - that would have really sucked! And I've always held it against my sister. Kidding.

Okay - this is weird, ladies. Tonight, we had a 40th Surprise Birthday party for sis. And guess who walked in? Aunt Janice. I have not seen Janice in 2-3 years...and here I had just blogged about her this morning. That was really freaky - but it was good seeing her. She doesn't terrify me (as much) now that I'm 47. :)

Anonymous said...

It is useful to try everything in practice anyway and I like that here it's always possible to find something new. :)