Summer in the Waiting Room: Faith • Hope • Love
Chapter 1: Baby García # 5
The sky was clear and the weather was in the low 50s, a typical crisp November night in San Jose, California. That night and early the next morning wouldn’t be ordinary at all for my mom and dad. They raced through the night in their two-toned orange and white 1955 Mercury on northbound U.S. Highway 101. Not saying a word to each other, both wondered how they were going to make ends meet now that another mouth to feed would soon be added to the family.
Mom and Dad grew up in poor single-mother households. Now with a family of their own, they were just getting by. They lived check to check on dad’s postal worker salary and mom’s odd jobs cleaning houses and working in the canneries. The little creature in her belly causing her so much pain and discomfort would be their fifth child. The proud parents-to-be were excited and happy as the Mercury pulled into the hospital parking lot.
Dad jumped out of the car to walk mom into the emergency room. Wearing a camel colored coat and carrying a small overnight bag, she waddled up the steps to the hospital and breathlessly slumped herself onto a waiting wheelchair. As was the custom in that era, nurses rushed my mom into the maternity room to await the doctor who would deliver the baby and told my dad to wait outside. Hospital volunteers showed him the way to the waiting room to join other nervous, expectant fathers who were smoking up a storm as they paced the floor.
In the delivery room all was going well. When the baby was finally born, the doctor gently gave the newborn the obligatory slap on the backside and waited for the familiar wails of a new life catching its breath for the first time. The doctor cut the umbilical cord and the nurses wiped the baby clean before swaddling it and allowing my tired, but happy, mom to cuddle her baby for the first time. As the doctor completed one last check of vital signs, the baby slipped out of his arms and banged its face against the metal railing of the bed. A nurse broke the baby’s fall and prevented a disastrous accident. The baby screamed in pain as the nurses and doctors worked to stop the bleeding that had emerged from the baby’s face. Luckily, that scary incident only resulted in a small scar at the tip of the newborn’s nose.
That baby with the cut on his nose was me, born on November 6, 1963, at 5:25 AM at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, California. I was the third García boy, 19 inches long, 7.2 pounds, with dark brown eyes, and lots of thick dark hair. My parents were excited and relieved, especially after the brief scare in the delivery room. That little scar at the tip of my nose would forever find a special place in my mom’s heart.
At home, my brothers and sisters, David 12, Barbara 11, Patty 10, and Steve 9, were still asleep unaware of what happened earlier that morning. When dad burst through the front door of his modest house on 48 Viewmont Avenue in east San Jose, his four older children suddenly woke up and rushed to meet him to hear the good news.
He stood at the counter that separated the kitchen from the dining room and excitedly told his kids about “Eddie’s” chubby cheeks and thick black hair, and how he slipped, and cut his nose. After a few minutes of taking questions, my dad turned to the heavy black phone sitting on the counter and started dialing to call everyone he knew.
To be continued…