Sunday, February 15, 2015

April, 1945, She Said Yes.

Engaged this day! Rec'd a diamond today.

I was transferred to US Naval Hospital Oak Knoll - Oakland, California. It was a Redwood Forest of Barracks - up the hills, down the hills - quite a switch from D.C. Rode the train with Jacobs and Ron Christopher, layed over in Chicago, IL for another train, Stayed at The Palmer House on Michigan Ave. - Beat sleeping in the barracks! Gorgeous place!
Neal's ship the USS Wayne APA 54 came into Oakland for repairs - we had some liberty!! The war in Europe was over so San Francisco was pretty much shut down. We met at Clara's house for our first reunion and he proposed to me on bended knee -
  "Yes, yes I'll marry you" -

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

September 28, 1943. The Beginning.

September 28, 1943

Introduced to Neal Herron at the US Naval Hospital bus stop by Fred Bradley (Neal's friend from Norfolk Naval Station Virginia). I was with my friend Rosie Zorfas Phm 2/c.
We four piled in a hailed cab and were dropped off in Washington D.C. There we went to The Lotus Club - I was overcome by Neal Herron. He smiled at me and I melted. We were early at the club. It had no music yet. We held hands under the table and talked. Then they struck up the band! - Boy could Neal Herron (sailor) dance. No sea legs on this guy -
We jitterbugged the afternoon away . Even ate a sandwich. Then he and Bradley hailed a cab and let us in closed the door and were gone back to the base - Rosie and me.
Rosie said to me "Gee Fran, he is really cute" and I agreed but thought I would never see him again. I spent my nights in the barracks in my bunk, praying that Neal would come back. He DID.
We went into Wash D.C. to dinner. He ordered LAMB. I am from sheep country, I don't eat lamb but I did just for him. Maybe he didn't have enough money.

Went to a movie - "Buckle Down Winsockee" with Lucille Ball and smooched! He put me in a cab and we kissed goodbye and he was on his way to Norfolk again. Next heard by phone at my barracks. He will be going via Panama Canal to San Diego and shipping out to who knows where!
He mailed me a photo, I love it! He sent me a picture of he and more sailors in a bar. They had girl friends, he was alone. - Oh! I'm so glad!
He wrote. I wrote.
He received the Bronze star medal for heroic saving of a marine (wounded) on a beach somewhere in the Pacific Theatre - he mailed it to me!
I had met his parents in N.J. one day. My friend Marie Sabel lived (or was from) Cartaret N.J. so I went with her and we went to Neal's parents' home. They were shocked by the visit! They had no idea that I existed! "Here I am Mr. and Mrs. H!" They called in Chinese food and we all ate then we headed back to Bethesda Hospital.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Like, Magic.

This. She looks at me like this a lot. Like 'You've got this', 'Just breathe' or Keep up the good work'. And I believe it has been good work. Not easy that's for damn sure but it has been good. Really really good. And honestly? She's better than I deserve. Good natured, funny, laid back... so so chill. How did I get so lucky? It's like the Universe finally decided that after 4 miscarriages and years of trying that I really was serious about the whole baby thing and maybe the powers that be would give me - us - a shot. Finally.
All of my preconceived notions about parenting and giving birth were abruptly thrown out the door as soon as she arrived 6 weeks early and in the wrong state. Like literally, the wrong state of the United States. #SpeacialK and I crash-coursed caring for a newborn/premie and breast feeding took months to master. Months. But yes, master that I did, much to my amazement. We're pretty unabashed about it and not in an in-your-face kind of way, but more like, the kid's gotta eat and I am her source kind of way instead. It's kind of magical. 
And the post-partum pounds and blues? Yep, totally real and not as easy to kick as my former pre-birth giving self could have imagined. 10 months later and I'm not going to lie, maternity pants are still a regular part of my daily rotation and they are in fact so freaking comfortable... I could eat Thanksgiving dinner almost every day in those bad boys. But I don't. Instead I find myself counting calories almost daily, painfully, as I struggle to find the shape that I was once in. Once upon a time. #totallyworthit.
Right now she's in this (magical) phase where when it's time for bed, we do the night time routine and as soon as you turn out the light and turn on her fan, she snuggles tightly, right into your chest. Kind of like Yes, finally, let's do this whole sleep thing. So then we rock for a few minutes and she's out. Sometimes I rock for longer, because I can and I try to inhale her through my nose until there is nothing left... And sometimes she still squirms after a time but when we put her into her crib, no matter what, she turns her head one way, then the other. Then she just kind of exhales. And that's it. And then we watch her in the monitor like it's live television and after an hour or so of not moving, I go and check to make sure she's breathing. And then we relax. And an hour later I check again, because I have to. Relax. Check. Repeat. I can't not. She's too good. Too perfect. How did we get so lucky?
I have to write this all down now because let's face it, I'll need to go back to it when she's a teenager if her dad and I are any indication...