I came into this world on March 28, 1945, at Women’s Medical College Hospital in Philadelphia Pa. I was a tiny little baby weighing 3lbs 9oz, and immediately placed in an incubator where i spent the first three weeks of my life. My mother, a single 27 year old woman worked in center city but lived on a farm in Fallsington Pa.
After i was born, My mother placed me for adoption, then returned to the farm to make the announcement of my birth. Her mother Susan was shocked, but determined to bring me home to live on the family farm. My grandmother was a feisty Hungarian woman who said “No Granddaughter of mine will be given away”. So, she and my mother’s sister Helen boarded a train to center city Philadelphia and brought me back to the farm. I am told, I was placed on the open oven door to keep me warm. I know this would not happen today, but this was 1945.
I learned from my Aunt Helen some details of that infamous day. She explained to me that they were prepared as well as they could have been. They borrowed cloth diapers and safety pins from a neighbor, along with a blanket and baby powder. She said I was the tiniest baby she’d ever seen, reminding her of a baby doll. She remembered my mother wasn’t happy with the decision they had made, because she felt my Grandmother had interfered in her life, and that was probably true.
Although, caring for me would take a village, there were plenty of willing hands and hearts waiting to help. My mother continued to work in the city, while my Grandmother and aunts cared for me during the day. This most difficult decision, and many others would cause my mother much emotional pain for many years to come.
By every account I was small though healthy. After coming to the farm, i was given round the clock care, and placed on the open oven door for warmth. Born with a head full of strawberry blonde hair, dark blue eyes, and rosy cheeks i am told i resembled a china doll. My name was to be Patricia Ann, but i would be called Patsy. I was privileged to be surrounded by Aunts, Uncles, and extended family, who loved and cared for me. From the beginning my Aunt Beatrice was my favorite playmate along with my dog Rover. Aunt Bea was childlike, and since she never married, i became “her little girl”. Throughout my younger years and even through my adult life, Aunt Bea called me Patsy. She was the only person who could get away with calling me “Patsy”. When our children were growing up, Aunt Bea would come to visit at the holidays. She always came bearing gifts, that weren’t always appreciated by my children. For some reason Aunt Bea thought an appropriate gift to us was a large hand of “Bananas”, like twenty of them. Despite the hand of bananas, our children loved her and would look forward to her visit and unusual gifts.
A couple of years ago, My Aunt Bea passed away, leaving a hole in this now mature Patsy’s heart, but before she passed i visited her at the nursing home in NC. She gave me my last dose of “Remember When” while at the same time I was privileged to express gratitude to her for some wonderful childhood memories.
I have a few remembrances from the farm, and many have been told to me over the years by my Aunts and Uncles. I knew one thing for sure, i was cared for and loved on by many family members. I remember my Grandmother cutting asparagus, riding my tricycle and many visits from my aunts and uncles. i loved to sing, and by the age of three I was memorizing words to songs and sometimes creating my own. I sang to dogs, cats, or anyone who would listen to me. My one armed Uncle John would lift me onto a table so i could sing and dance for an audience. I memorized lines for the church christmas pageant and became impatient with children who had forgotten theirs.
My Aunt Susanne another of my mothers sisters, added many other memories and cute stories of me. She would explain it this way, “Patsy had an opinion about everything and needed to be disciplined often”. Evidently, rudeness was never acceptable at my Grandmother’s house, so i guess sticking out my tongue at the visiting Hungarian Pastor, was enough to get grandmoms attention. I don’t remember any of this, but i am told from time to time i would receive a smack on my bottom and told if i did it again i would lose my favorite doll Nancy. The doll was taken away the very next day when i loudly told Mrs Lawless, the lady next door, she smelled. Much later in life my Grandmother explained that Mrs Lawless was known to over do it on the perfume.
I suppose i was a bit naughty but it is said i could be kind and loving too. Each week i was taken to Church and Sunday School. There was a little girl at church, who cried when her mother brought her to class, but I was the child who could calm her down by wrapping my arms around her and singing in her ear.
While Living on the farm my best and only friend, was my dog Rover. I have seen pictures of me with Rover. He was a very cute dog who i am told loved me a lot. It is said, i held him tight his last day on earth and i cried when he died.
Looking back on this time in my life, i realize, those years from birth to age six were the most formative days in my life. They served me well on life’s journey when sadness, loss, and uncertainty would threaten to destroy me. I believe It was those early days on the farm that gave me a positive attitude, courage, and hope for the days ahead.