My mother had her babies 1950s-style: she had zero preparation, withstood the pain of childbirth until it became unbearable, begged for relief, was immediately knocked out, and missed the big moment entirely.
After giving birth to my older brother, her very first baby, she awoke in her hospital room to see the sky lit up at night.
“Look at the fireworks!” she said groggily. “Are they for me?”
“Yes, dear,” my father said. He had no desire to remind her that it was the 4th of July. As far as he was concerned, they were for her.
Is that how God’s story is told in the Bible? The same people who somehow leapt ahead of all others in their insight into the divine nonetheless understood their history in a childishly self-centered way. When terrible things happened, they believed that God had inflicted them on their behalf. They told the story with earnest certitude, but maybe they made parts of it up, as children do.
In The Young Visiters, or, Mr. Salteena’s Plan, Daisy Ashford writes,
Mr Salteena was an elderly man of 42 and was fond of asking peaple to stay with him. He had quite a young girl staying with him of 17 named Ethel Monticue.
Miss Ashford was 9 years old when she wrote her novel in 1890, reporting with arresting clarity the adult behaviors around her.
In Chapter 1, Mr. Salteena and Miss Monticue go to visit Bernard Clarks, a friend in the country.
Then Bernard said shall I show you over my domain and they strolled into the gloomy hall.
I see you have a lot of ancesters said Mr Salteena in a jelous tone, who are they.
Well said Bernard they are all quite correct. This is my aunt Caroline she was rarther exentrick and quite old.
So I see said Mr Salteena and he passed on to a lady with a very tight waist and quearly shaped. That is Mary Ann Fudge my grandmother I think said Bernard she was very well known in her day.
Why asked Ethel who was rarther curious by nature.
Well I dont quite know said Bernard but she was and he moved away to the next picture. It was of a man with a fat smiley face and a red ribbon round him and a lot of medals. My great uncle Ambrose Fudge said Bernard carelessly.
He looks a thourough ancester said Ethel kindly.
Well he was said Bernard in a proud tone he was really the Sinister son of Queen Victoria.
Not really cried Ethel in excited tones but what does that mean.
Well I dont quite know said Bernard Clark it puzzles me very much but ancesters do turn quear at times.
Peraps it means god son said Mr Salteena in an inteligent voice.
Well I dont think so said Bernard but I mean to find out.
It is very grand anyhow said Ethel.
It is that replied her host geniully.
Well? And what’s wrong with that? If you don’t understand something, you take your best guess.
Can I excuse God’s story by attributing it to the limitations of God’s interpreters?
April 28, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Deaths
Addendum: Just went on a search for “American childbirth 1950s.” Yipes. I wonder if my Mom experienced anything like this.