... How David (#10) was pushed into the world
Editors Note: In October 1942, we were in the midst of World War II - the country was in action and so was the Driscoll family of nine children - and soon to be ten. There were new jobs, military service, marriages, school graduations and Mother (Mary) awaiting birth of another child - after a hiatus of eight years - at the age of 44. Bob Driscoll, who was sixteen at this time, describes his active part in the trip to the hospital. The never-ending question so often asked is: Where was Jim? As the story goes, Mother was said to have replied at the time: "Oh, don't wake Jim, he was out late (again) last night and needs his rest for work". Thanks Bob. (JimD.)
The date: October 9, 1942; the time: 5 a.m. Dad woke me to say it was time for Mother to go to the hospital - and the car wouldn't start! (So, what else was new?) He needed a push to get going since we only had one car. A push meant that he would sit at the wheel and I would go to the back and - push.
It took me a few minutes to get dressed, and by the time I came downstairs Mother and Dad were already in the car waiting for me. As I prepared to lean on the trunk - and push - I looked through the back window - - - and there was Mary and Frank sitting up front chatting away. Like Rose and Joseph Kennedy waiting for the chauffeur to drive off. (Not quite the same.) I rapped on the window to signal that I was ready to go. As usual, the car was at the end of the driveway and had been backed in. It was always a gamble each morning as to whether or not the car would start.
The portion of Upham Street (#163) where we lived had a slight downward pitch, which helped me get going. Remember, I said slight pitch. Well J.F. (Dad, Frank) decided to get the car going by jump-starting it. Of course, he never warned me, and when it stalled, I promptly bounced off the back of the car. Naturally, that didn't stop Frank - he tried it again - with the same disastrous results. At this point I suggested we do it my way.
We turned right on to Bellevue Avenue and the momentum I had hoped for was gone because of Dad's trying to jump-start earlier. It was important to have some more "mo" because, unlike Upham Street, Bellevue Avenue (as pictured below) was very flat and pushing alone was very hard.
The good news was that we only had one block to go and then turn left to East Emerson Street, which was all downhill to Lebanon Street. The hospital was right around the corner and with any luck we could coast right to the front door. So, the very thought of the coasting ride down the hill gave me renewed energy to keep going - and pushing!
A little failure in communications, however. As the car made the turn down the hill, Dad kept on coasting, leaving me stranded so that I ended up walking down the street and praying that the brakes worked at Lebanon Street.
As I turned the corner at Lebanon, I could see Mom and Dad through the rear window. It was like they had never stopped the conversation that they began in the driveway and it was obvious that this was not their first baby.
Incidentally, they still were not near the front entrance to the hospital, so - you guessed it - I had some more pushing to do.
Finally, Mother and Dad entered the hospital and I sat on the wall outside the building. It wasn't long before Dad came out and we walked back home. The baby was not born yet, but, of course, Frank had to get home to get everyone else up and going (while Mary took care of running the hospital). It was not too long before we got the call and learned who number ten was: David Paul Driscoll.
The adventure was not quite over. Remember Mother and David - and the car - were still at the hospital. Due to the passing years I am a little hazy on the exact details but I do know that Mother and David returned home before the car did. In those days, there was no health insurance coverage, or if there was, we didn't have any. So Dad had a choice: pay for the new arrival or fix the car, not both. So that is how Mother and David beat the car home.
As I recall, I was able to get some friends to tow - or was it push - the car back to our yard, where it sat for a few days. Eventually, like all other setbacks that occurred over the years, the car was repaired and life went on like nothing ever happened.
Except - David Paul happened!!
October 6, 2000