Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Birthday, Angela Crider Neary!

Another repeat post, but it's still a good story and it's the right day for it.

On the evening of January 26, 1969, Judy and I went to a party for some of the graduate students in the English Department of The University of Texas at Austin.  Judy was pregnant, but the baby (we had no idea whether the baby was male or female; these were the old days) wasn't due for six weeks or so, according to Judy's doctor, and we didn't give a thought to whether or not the party was a good idea.  We went home a little earlier than most of the revelers because I had to go to work the next morning.  We went to bed as usual, neither of us noticing anything unusual.


About 2:30, Judy woke me up.  She was in the bathroom, yelling "Kill it! Kill it!"  I ran to the bathroom, where Judy pointed to an enormous roach that was skittering around on the ceiling.  I killed it.  After Judy calmed down, she told me that she was having lower back pains.  Not bad, but noticeable.  It couldn't be labor pains because it was way too soon for those.  So we went back to bed.

The pains got worse.  And worse.  About 4:30 or 5:00 we called Judy's doctor.  These were the old days, as I said.  The doctor was very kind and told us that there was nothing to worry about.  "Just put a heating pad on your back," he told Judy.  "The pains will stop."

That would've been great if we'd had a heating pad, which we didn't.  The doctor asked if we had an iron.  We did, and he told us to wrap the iron in a towel and hold it on Judy's back.  We did that, and Judy said the pain was a little better.  The next morning, she told me that she was fine and to go on to work.  So I did.

The spring semester hadn't begun, but I worked in registration.  I sat in the balcony of Gregory Gymnasium, which is where registration was held.  Did I mention that these were the old days?  Everybody had to register in person, and the process was lengthy and debilitating, especially in the fall, when temperatures in the gym were quite warm.  How bad was it?  When I was a freshman, one of the guys on my floor of the dorm came back from his first registration experience, walked into the bathroom, got in the shower fully clothed, turned on the water, and sat down in the floor of the shower.  But I digress.

My job was to give students their score on the English placement test and tell them if they'd qualified to skip the first semester of English and go right into the second semester.  So that's what I was doing when the guy who'd thrown the party showed up.  There was no phone in the gym, or not one where I could be reached, so Judy had phoned the English Department.  The secretary had found the guy in his office and sent him over.  He had a message for me.  Judy's pains had gotten much worse, and she'd called the doctor again.  He'd told her to get to the hospital immediately.  The guy said he'd take my place in registration, so I left.

I drove home quite calmly, got Judy, and took her to the hospital.  In a few hours, Angela Antoinette Crider was born, surprising all of us, including Judy's doctor, with her early appearance.  At five pounds, twelve ounces, she wasn't premature, at least not by six weeks.  The doctor had been a bit off in his estimates.

Nobody has ever been less prepared for parenthood than Judy and I were, but we muddled through, doing the best we could.  Angela's always been afraid of roaches, though.


13 comments:

Deb said...

Poor Angela--she can never exercise a woman's prerogative not to reveal her age...at least to those who read your blog. So happy 29th birthday (for the 18th time), Angela!

Great story, btw. Our first arrived a week early. We'd had friends over the night before and had a huge meal--steak, baked potatoes, all the fixings. We figured Lilly just decided there wasn't enough room for her and all that food and started yelling "Get me out of here!" What I didn't know was friends were planning a surprise shower for me that day...so while I labored at the hospital, my husband had to attend a pink and purple baby shower. Good times!

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Nice story! And Happy Birthday to Angela, a lovely woman.

I was thinking all through it, it was another world - no cell phone, no texting, no nothing. So even though I do miss the old days, there are some benefits to be had today.

Seepy Benton said...

I remember the long line to get into Gregory Gym, and then there were also long lines in front of all the tables for the different departments. All except for one - mathematics! Yet another good reason to be a math major. :-)

Jerry House said...

Happy birthday, Angela!

George said...

Happy Birthday, Angela! Both of our kids were weeks LATE.

Cap'n Bob said...

Happy birthday to the lovely Angela. Great story.

Rob said...

Great story Bill and Happy Birthday to your daughter Angela!

Scott Cupp said...

Happy Birthday, Angela!!

Angela Crider Neary said...

Thanks to Dad and everyone! And you and Mom did a great job, if I do say so myself.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

You guys obviously did something right (I can hear Bill now, giving Judy the credit).

Great story again.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

We had to go through the same registration nonsense at Hunter College. You'd get a time you had to report and would line up for your chosen classes, hoping they weren't full before you reached the head of the line. We had a friend who worked registration one year, who let people he know jump the line, but otherwise it was tedious.

Somehow Jackie always seemed to end up with one 9 am class and one 5 pm class. I was usually able to get my chosen classes, which had me going 4 out of 5 hours in a row a couple of days a week, with a couple of days off.

Angela Crider Neary said...

Thank you again, Dad! I still like to read the story.

Todd Mason said...

Happy almost not your birthday, Angela! (At least in the ET zone.) Clearly, you both have a lot to be proud of.