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Tacoma, Washington, United States

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Family Increases

Another big event early in 1936 was the birth of my little sister Sandra.  Since it had been ten years since Rex was born, I expect that she may have been a bit of a surprise to Mother and Dad.
“All we children were “spring lambs”.  Richard was born in April of 1920, me on March 3rd of 1922, Rex in May of 1926, and now Sandra on March 22nd in 1936.
It seemed like Mother had gone around pregnant for a long time but finally she knew the time had come.  Sandra would be born at home just like the rest of us had been.  On a Saturday they sent us three boys off to Grandma’s house to stay the night.
Early Sunday morning, my Aunt Alice (she was an old maid living at home with Grandma and Grandpa) woke us and told us that we had a little baby sister.  Alice said that we could go home and see our new sister after breakfast.  I slipped away and walked the quarter mile home.
Mother was lying in bed looking pale and tired and the baby was in a basket behind the bed.  I sidled around there, pulled back the blanket, and looked at the little pink face.  Mother said, “Well, Connie, what do you think of her?  Who does she look like?”
Now newborn babies have always looked about the same to me—wizened little red faces and their eyes screwed shut.  This one did not look much different to me so I thought I would sort of make a joke of it.  I said diffidently, “Well—I guess she sort of look like a little monkey!”
Mother seemed a little put out for a second but then she laughed.  Guess I should have said that she looked like a cute little monkey—which she did.  In fact, when I looked close, she looked most like my Grandma Stanley and my mother and she would resemble them even more in later years.  She is short and round like they were and, when she walks she sort of trots like Grandma did.
I was pleased as punch when I got in on naming our new sister.  Dave wanted to call her Dean because one of our cousins was married to a girl named Dean whom Dad admired.  They talked about a lot of names that did not sound right to me.  In some book I had read about a girl named Sandra and I liked that.  I suggested that and they wound up naming her Sandra Dean.
We all adored little Sandra Dean.  We had a little red child’s rocking chair that all of us had used when we were tots.  I recall that the back bow was worn down from our turning it upside down and pushing it around the floor playing “choo-choo” when we were learning to walk.
I never learned to change Sandra’s diapers but when she cried I would sit in that little red chair and rock her while I sang cowboy songs.  It worked because she would stop crying and lie in my arms looking solemnly at me with her blue eyes until she fell asleep.

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