Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Santa Clara Day, 1961...Our Last Day Without Donna

It was the evening of August 11, 1961 when my mom and dad arrived in Santa Fe.  It wasn't their very first visit, but they were still newcomers to the enchantment that I felt in the small 'city' in northern New Mexico.  I'm not sure they ever understood that enchantment.

The purpose for their visit was to be the birth of our second daughter, whom we were expecting "soon".  Mom was to stay a couple of weeks to help out with the new baby while dad hit the road to get back to his work of traveling to different cities as a factory representative for several furniture manufacturers.

The next day, we decided to make a sightseeing day of it, showing the "old people" the world we had discovered.   We left our apartment at 530 E. Garcia Street in the morning, and headed up the hill to Camino del Monte Sol, where I worked at the corner of Camino Monte Sol and Camino Cruz Blanca, in the shadow of the prominent landmark, Monte Sol.

From the office, we wound our way along Camino San Acacio to have a look at Cristo Rey Church, a prominent monstrosity which is attractive to tourists, before heading up the "more or less" paved Upper Canyon Road.  Looping back toward town on the unpaved Cerro Gordo Road, we turned back uphill when we encountered pavement at Gonzalez Road, and proceeded to the mountain.  No newcomer to Santa Fe should tarry too long without going up the mountain!  We actually went all the way to the ski lodge, but in August, it was pretty well deserted, and whatever snow lingered was hardly noticeable, as it was dirty enough to blend into the soil.   The park road down to Tesuque was unpaved then, and somewhat rough, so we took it for its scenic quality.

Arriving back to the highway at Tesuque, we turned north to Española, and crossed the mighty Rio Grande. It was Santa Clara's Feast Day at the pueblo, so we joined in the festivities for awhile before heading down NM route 30 past Black Mesa and making a right at the intersection to go back up to Los Alamos.

We looped through Los Alamos, and apparently my old (forty-six year old) dad must have been getting tired, and certainly not knowing where we were by then, saw the sign pointing to "Bandelier",  and mistook it for "Bernalillo", and remarked that we must be close to Albuquerque, which was a known quantity, and wanted to take it as a "short cut".

I took that as my cue, and headed for home.  We arrived back home in the early evening, having felt that we'd put in an eventful day, even though the telling of it was not nearly so adventurous.  Needless to say, we turned in early, both the old folks, my wife, and I.  Our only daughter Adrienne, who had recently turned two, was never ready for bed, and she often would get up and wander around the apartment for long after we were asleep.  She was asleep before dawn the next morning, however, when we determined that "it was time".   I alerted the obstetrician's service and we left Adrienne with the old folks while we headed down to Saint Vincente's, which was only a short distance away, at the corner of Paseo Peralta and E. Palace Avenue.  Apparently, we had timed it well, or pitifully, depending on your point of view, because I had only just settled into a chair in the waiting room, in order to wait for the long hours of anticipation, when the doctor himself came in and escorted me to where I found a wide awake Donna, casting a sidelong glance at me (a look which has a certain distinction which has remained with her throughout her life), and I almost expected her to say something, she seemed so alert.

Of our four daughters, Donna was the nearest to "natural childbirth", that we've experienced, and not necessarily by choice.  My wife assured me that she didn't want to do it that way again, but it happened so fast that they didn't have time to "put her down" in the normal "hospital" manner.  I'm sure it was our Santa Clara Day adventure that made our Donna unique among her sisters, who themselves, are each unique in the context of human existence.

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3 comments:

Rie Sheridan Rose said...

What a lovely story! (I don't remember any of it...but it's still a lovely story. :) )

Rie

Willie C said...

I can't really understand why you don't remember it. You were there with us on the trip.

Later, when we got home with Donna, you seemed interested enough. I asked you once when we were in a different room, "What was that noise I heard". You answered excitedly, "The baby noise!"

Another time, you and she were in the same room, while Mom and I were hanging out in the living room. She was getting pretty loud, so we decided to go check. You were somewhat dismayed, as you explained, "I jus' don't know what's the matter...I've been reading she stories and reading she stories, but still she keeps crying and crying!"

I don't really know if you quite accepted our explanation that, "That's what babies do."

chopralam said...

Hi,

Nice post.



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