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Baby Pictures
A Few Images from My First Six Months

Written January 10, 2003


Weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces, I entered the world at the height of the baby boom  on Thursday, February 20, 1947, at 7:58 pm.

At that time my father and mother, and her father and mother as well, were living in Cambridge, Ohio.  However, that city's Guernsey Memorial Hospital had not yet been built.

So although we were Methodists, I was born in this Catholic facility 23 miles to the  west.  It was the Good Samaritan Hospital in Zanesville, Ohio.

On my seventh day, my mother was still in bed.  Hospital stays tended to be longer back then.  Also, my mother was 34 years old, and I was her first and only child.

At 5:30 pm on that Wednesday, she retrieved the envelope from a card that she had received.  On that envelope, she scribbled this message to her mother.







My footprints from the Hospital Birth Certificate

I'll write you a note now, before they bring Tommy in.

Received your postcard this afternoon and your other nice cards yesterday.  Sorry Dad is having so much coal trouble; hope it warms up soon.  Don't bother to come over — I'm OK.

Denny was in this morning.  He said Tommy went down to 7 lb (he lost 6 oz) but is back up now to 7 lb 2 oz.

He won't promise me yet that I will have enough nurse for him, but I think he just doesn't want for me to get too built up on it and be disappointed.  I asked the nursery sister at noon, and she said Tommy seemed to be satisfied, so I think it looks encouraging.

I had been letting him nurse the full 45 minutes he was in here, and my nipples got sore.  Denny told them Monday to give me some benzoine for them.  I use it after each feeding now, and they don't hurt much at all.  Then the nursery sister told me to only let him nurse 20 minutes, but I add five more to it for good measure.  Ha ha.

He hasn't cried in here for three days and eats real good all the time.  I expect he cries some out there in the nursery, though — guess they all do.

I sat up an hour and 10 minutes and ate my lunch, and half an hour tonight and ate supper.  Have heat on full blast; sure am cooked done.  It is snowing real hard now.  Denny spun around as he turned into the hospital this morning, but he said the main road was clear.

They are still swamped on this floor, having from 7 to 10 deliveries a day.  Sister said the babies were coming as much as the snow these days.

One of the best nurses, the one who dressed and weighed T in the delivery room, said they just walked around and looked at and watched the babies all night long in the nursery.

I cost my parents $133.45, including tax.  I know the amount because they paid in cash and saved the receipts.

One bill was from the hospital.  My father paid it when my mother and I checked out to go home.  

The other receipt was from "Doc Denny" — W.L. Denny, M.D., our family physician back in Cambridge.

By the way, do you have your receipts?  No returns without a sales slip, you know.

After Mother and I got back to Cambridge, she still had to spend some time in bed.

Our family as of March 1947 was pictured by one of my father's friends down at the bowling alley.  This pencil cartoon was signed on the back by Nan, Alfred, Bill, George, and Jack.  It was my first portrait, although I was misidentified as "next champ bowler."



Incidentally, the only other artist's portrait ever made of me is this one.  It was drawn nine years later by a sidewalk sketch artist on Jackson Square in New Orleans.

I didn't think at the time that this sketch looked much like me, either.  But there is a resemblance.

My first photographs were taken in the summer of 1947.

Here I am on my father's lap (don't drop him, Vernon!) and with my mother and Grandma Buckingham.

That summer, we took three weekend trips to Cleveland to visit my Uncle Jim and Aunt Virginia Buckingham.  And on August 10 we went to Livermore, Kentucky, to meet my family on the Thomas side.  Mother recorded all this in her baby book.

She also made the notation that when I was born, I looked like my father, but after six months, I resembled my grandfather Harry Buckingham (at right).

On August 20, 1947, my ½th birthday, I posed for studio photographs.

My mother told a story about these pictures.

It seems that the photographer decided to show off his work.  In the window of his studio on Wheeling Avenue in downtown Cambridge, he put a couple of these portraits of me on display.

Outside on the sidewalk, a small group of onlookers oohed and aahed at the chubby baby.

Then the photographer inserted the punch line:  the center picture.

Wasn't I cute?



Gift to cute baby arrives 57 years later!

After my father's death in 1999, I sold our family's house in Richwood, Ohio.  The current owner, while upgrading the basement in May 2004, came across a box containing a present addressed to “Our darling Thomas” and mailed it to me.


It apparently was originally bestowed upon me in the first week of April 1947, when I was six weeks old.  The card identified it as an Easter gift “to a darling baby” with “lots of love & best wishes” from “Mamie & Gertrude.”  Nowadays I don't even remember who Mamie and Gertrude were.  They were probably relatives on my mother's side of the family.

The gift itself was a little blue shirt, a mere ten inches from collar to hem.  It's now faded, but I suppose it was originally the color of the ribbon.  The embroidery includes a few tiny pink roses.

As a boy, gifts of clothing never interested me —  I preferred toys.  Perhaps that's why this present remained folded in its box from “DePinna, Fifth Avenue, New York.”  Somehow it stayed with us as we moved five times, only to be rediscovered in 2004.



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