Friday, May 30, 2008

See what I mean?  And you must have been the one who pushed the doorknob through the fiberboard wall.
One of two classic photos I took of Steve.  Where did you get the eggs?  The companion classic photo is on the right, Steve standing by Dad's Western Woodcraft sign that used to be hanging by the highway when we lived in Ralston during World War II.
Steve showing off
The day Steve was born, "us kids" were hustled off to Uncle Norman's and Aunt Cindy's, who lived for a brief period in a house just to the east of Grandma and Grandpa Wasden's, and to Grandpa and Grandma's, who lived nearby.  Dr. Harold Coulston, one of two wonderful Seventh-Day Adventist doctors who came to Powell after their medical educations at Loma Linda in Los Angeles, stayed most of the day waiting for Steve.  Mother had made fresh bread, and Dr. Coulston enjoyed eating the hot fresh bread with honey.  Always a dignified and warm gentleman, no matter the circumstances, Dr. Coulston was apparently used to home deliveries in homes without running water or inside facilities.  Just a few years before, Dr. Coulston had come to Ralston to deliver Ann, on a day when I noticed his Cadillac absent from the back of the Coulston Clinic, where he kept it parked, and assumed, correctly, I would have a little sister when I got home.

Emma Tvedtnes, our Penrose neighbor, was an important person in at least the births of Ann and Steve, and I don't know about earlier home births in the little brown house (me, Liz, and Judy; Louise was the only one born in a hospital, in Billings).  I remember going across the field separating the Tvedtnes home from ours with several loaves of fresh hot bread, lathered in butter.  Emma cared for mother and her new baby boy and, in Ann's case, came to Ralston and stayed with our family for several days.  Emma was an angel.  I remember making a little owl shelf for her in Dad's shop when I was ten years old which she hung on her kitchen wall forever, because I was so touched with what she was doing for Mother and her babies and I wanted to do something for her.

Now Steve's arrival caused no problems at first although the peace and quiet of our home was disturbed by all the racket, weeping and yowling he did and the smells he generated, but at least he resided in his crib in the living room in our crowded little house with three girls in one bedroom, Ann in the tiny bathroom-to-be with a bed where the tub eventually landed several years after I left home, and my wonderful, private bedroom since I was the only boy.  Imagine my consternation when Dad built a wooden bunk bed and then Mother plunked Steve down in my bedroom.  My days as the chosen and special male heir were over.  I no longer enjoyed the only privacy in the Blood home.  Steve claims that I persecuted him whenever he made the slightest noise, which I think he exaggerates, but, then again, maybe it was true.  That could be why he grew up to be so strong and well disciplined.  Since I left home so soon, little Stevie was unfairly privileged to have what should have been my rightful bedroom for many, many years while the girls were crammed together like sardines.   Some things in life just aren't fair, are they?

Anyway, Steve, I do remember the day you were born.  I left home a short five years after that, when you were just five years old, so I never got to know you very well until years later.  But at least you were the one who followed Dad's admonition to learn to do and make things with your hands.  Your wonderful craftsmanship and creative designs have repeatedly demonstrated your skill and devotion to your crafts and we, your siblings, are in awe of your accomplishments.  I, on the other hand, only made an FFA knot board in high school which the ag teachers hauled around to state fairs for years, winning blue ribbons every year, until the fair people told them to knock it off and leave it at home.  That was my last handicraft project.

I know your sisters couldn't do without your frequent conversations with them and as I told Judy yesterday, my conversations with you typically bring out the best? worst? in both of us when it comes to thinking what we are doing and saying would be something Dad would clearly appreciate and laugh with us about.  You deserve a happy birthday, and I am sure Mary Lynn will wait on you hand and foot in recognition of the day.


Elizabeth said...

Just a side note. I always loved the things that Mother wore when a baby was on the way. Usually, it was a flowered smock that was more bright than her ordinary clothes. I remember the warm spring day when Steve arrived. Mother was re-making the double bed in her and Dad's bedroom, and you told her that this baby needed to be a boy so that you wouldn't be quite so overrun by sisters. When we were sent to Grandma's and Aunt Cindy's, Louise stayed behind to finish baking the bread - she was considered old enough. When Dad finally came to get us that evening (we had no phone), and we arrived at the house, Steve was stretched out on a pillow, and he was so big and long that he reached from one end of the pillow to the other!

Ann said...

I love these stories. It is so appropriate to remember getting the bread baked - just talking about it brings back the wonderful smells and the feeling of home.
And it is good that someone remembers Dwight wished for a boy, even if he did have to share his room.

Ann said...

Just a quick comment about the door knob hole in the wall. That hole became a favorite repository for empty pea pods. We would pick peas from the garden, sneak them into Steve's bedroom, sit on his bed and eat the wonderful fresh peas, then throw the empty pea pods into the hole in the wall. How would Mother have ever known?

Louise Blood said...

i don't remember if we ever told that we would have a new brother or sister, just as with Judy and Ann, but by now we were wiser and knew why Mother was wearing smocks. I remember how that morning had a different excitement to it and knew that the doctor had been called. I helped Mother put the sheets on the bed, and felt kind of special to help her. After I took the bread out of the oven I went on up to the grandparents'. I also have a picture in my mind of the baby lying on the pillow, wasn't it nested on a high chair or something? Mother and Daddy were so sweet and had us all in on the name selection. Happy birthday, Steve, I love you lots. By the way, I always thought you were the cutest little boy. (Great pictures)

Elizabeth said...

P.S. ON the aside about Emma Tvedtness - She was there when Judy was born. I remember her scolding because our hair was washed in the hard well water. She thought the rain water should be collected and saved for washing hair. That is the only way I can remember that she was there when Judy was born.

Judy said...

Louise, the high chair sure sticks in my mind also.