Spring 1944, Dallas County, Iowa
Clabe and Leora Wilson had one darling grandchild, Richard Wilson Scar, son of their daughter Darlene and Sam.
The Wilsons other daughter Doris had a baby due about the same time as their daughter-in-law Evelyn, wife of oldest son Delbert. Both couples had names picked out (Bruce Neal and Delbert Ross Wilson), and were betting whose baby boy would be born first.
May is the essence of spring in Iowa, with blues and purples of wild violets, the frothy white of plum thickets, songs of all kinds of migrating birds, and an earthy, woodsy aroma.
“What a perfect day to hang out the washing,” Doris told her mother one morning on the Minburn farm. “I need to get the baby’s things all ready for the hospital.”
“Do you want to take this load out while I put these through the wringer?”
“Sure. This way baby ‘Bruce’ and I can both soak up some healthy sunshine.”
“Say, after we get everything on the line, let’s walk up the hill to where your dad is plowing.”
“I bet he would like that. We can take him a cool drink, and I’d love a walk in the timber.”
Clabe enjoyed having a break with them. On their way back down to the house, Doris picked wildflowers. Bluejays called their warnings, mourning doves softly cooed.
Another day Doris and her mother helped Clabe corraled a couple of sows in a pen in order to have baby pigs. The grunting beasts didn’t want to give up their little weed patches for a hog house with clean straw, but with “a little maneuvering and persuasion,” according to Doris, they finally did.
“Isn’t that interesting?” she wrote Warren, who was stationed in Texas. “Fourteen sows have little pigs, two cows have calves (so far), and two cats have kittens. Guess maybe I’ll be next.”
The Redfield Review announced: “Born to Lieut. and Mrs. Warren Neal of Marfa, Texas, a baby girl on Sunday, June 4th at the Dexter clinic. Lieut. Neal arrived from Marfa last Friday, where he is an instructor at the Army Air base. Mrs. Neal has been visiting since March at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Clabe Wilson of Minburn.”
Instead of Bruce, they named their baby Joy.
“Gee, I’ll bet everybody is excited around there,” Delbert wrote his folks from Washington, DC. “Doris told us it just seemed like Christmas to her. What a present!”
Delbert’s jaw was swollen, two weeks after a wisdom tooth had been pulled, and he was taking sulfa for an infected saliva gland.
Evelyn was miserable with swollen legs, high blood pressure, and was tired of waiting for their baby boy to arrive. The doctor ordered her to bed and told her to stay off her feet.
When she finally went into labor, Delbert had fallen asleep with an ice pack on his jaw. Their landlady stopped by so she ended up taking Evelyn to the naval hospital.
Newspaper clipping: “Mr. and Mrs. Delbert Wilson of Washington, D.C. announce the birth of a daughter, Leora Darlene on June 15th. This is the third grandchild of Mr. and Mrs. Clabe Wilson of Minburn. Delbert, who is an electricians mate 1-c has been attending Interior Communication School in Washington, D.C. and will graduate June 26th.”
I’m still eleven days older than cousin Leora.