new icn messageflickr-free-ic3d pan white
Untitled | by Joey Harrison
Back to album

[Photo and comments by my mother]

"We're expecting..."

said the face of our 1953 photo greeting. The inside continued:

"...the Blanks to have a Merry Christmas!"


Joey was anticipated in late January, 1954. We moved in January of the prior year to an apartment above the doctor's office to make my workplace downstairs extra handy. A good friend in the other apartment was poised to be baby care-giver. Everything happened as planned, so a small room off our bedroom was prepared as a nursery with white baby furniture. I sewed curtains from 50 yards of cheesecloth gathered on a rod, making the one large window look like a big soft cloud. A satin streamer of a different pastel color hung every six or eight inches over the cheesecloth and lent a festive touch. The floor of wide pine boards got three coats of white paint, then light spatters of the colors in the streamers. All was made durable by a clear lacquer coating. We placed an oval white rug by Cabin Crafts -- recently retired to Goodwill -- in the center.


When the Korean war began I rushed downtown to buy a Singer sewing machine, remembering all too well the scarcity of such civilian goods during the second world war. It cost $150, which included six lessons, providing a good foundation for a lifetime of sewing. The little Singer Featherlight weighed 12 pounds with carrying case, and I still use it. Right then its highest and best use was sewing a lining and cover for the little heir's basket. Jerry is shown in this photo offering his enthusiastic help. The white broadcloth basket lining was sewn to a skirt of white eyelet that reached to the floor. This revealed slightly the underskirt of gender-neutral yellow. We were strictly pink-for-girls and blue-for-boys in those days.


Of course we didn't have the benefit of amniocentesis or ultrasound, so we didn't know the sex of our child until the moment of birth. My older sister, mother of six girls was floored -- and envious. After queening it up in a private room in the hospital for 8 days, Jerry took us home and did something very unusual. We entered the front door, instead of using the utilitarian back stairway. Carrying the precious bundle, we ascended the curving, carpeted front stairway to our apartment.


We didn't carry insurance, as Jerry reasoned that we were both so young and healthy we would take the chance. Hospital stays weren't expensive at all, and we just paid it. The doctor that my employer, Dr. Pott, lined up for delivery did it as a courtesy.


Just a note on the creation of this photo. As I've mentioned before, my mom did a lot of setup photos, using a tripod and timed shutter-release. This allowed her to appear in her own shots. -- Joey


47 faves
Taken sometime in 1953