|Tony Duane Powell|
Mom stood near the door with her big suitcase at her feet. She summoned us to her.
"I'm gonna be gone for a few days but when I come back I will have a new baby", she explained while reaching down to give us a hug.
"Where are you going to get the baby?", I asked curiously.
"Well I'm going to the hospital. But don't worry, Mama will be home soon", she said with a smile.
"Is the baby sick?", I asked.
"Well, no", she replied "but that's where they keep babies until they are ready to go to a new home".
"Oh", I said. I asked no further questions but my curiosity was still hanging on.
Geez, here I was nearly 7 years old and still didn't know the truth about where babies come from! What does that say about how much things have changed in our society? We were not prepared for the addition of another baby in our household... it was a sudden announcement. We were not informed that Mom had a baby growing in her "tummy", therefore we didn't experience the touch of our hands on Mom's tummy while the baby moved or kicked. We weren't given the opportunity to participate in the excitement of choosing baby items for the nursery or making up names for the baby. Matter of fact, we didn't even have a baby nursery back then. Our new baby would sleep in a baby crib next to Mom and Dad's bed. So Mom disappears for a couple of days and shows back up with a new baby? Yes, that's the way it was back then. It was just accepted that way. I don't know if I even heard the word "pregnant" by the time I was 7 years old. I personally think that siblings should be prepared for the arrival of a new baby and should be given the opportunity to participate in the excitement of it while the mother is pregnant. This gives siblings some idea of what to expect when the time comes. But, back then it deemed inappropriate to discuss pregnancy with children.
The next day Mom spoke with all of us on the phone, telling us about the new baby. She named him Tony. He had a little bit of blonde hair and blue eyes, just like the rest of us. She would be home in a couple of more days with our baby brother. It was February, 1966.
As promised, Mom arrived home a couple of days later with our new baby brother. We were all excited about him. The following months he would grow quickly and we spent a lot of time after school playing with him while Mom cooked supper. When Tony was eleven months old, he was diagnosed with spinal meningitis and became a patient in the pediatric isolation ward at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. I will write more about this in a future post. Mom and Dad went through some very difficult trials during this period in their lives and their marriage. I will always believe that Tony's recovery was delivered through the power of our mighty God.