When I was six years old, I was blessed with a new baby brother. My new brother’s name was Jeffrey. Back in those days no one under 12 years old was allowed to visit in the hospital. My sister and I waited in the car for Dad to come back each time he visited Mom. One time, he returned to the car and told us to look up. Mom was in the window holding a tiny baby up so we could see. We waved and were excited that she waved back. I recall when we were waiting for my mother to be allowed to bring him home, my father got the reputation of being a great chef for me and my sister. He opened a can of what was called “Beef Stew” and heated it in a pan. Instantly I brightened up and said “Wow, this stuff is really good.” I told my mother that Dad was a really great cook, but Dinty Moore deserved the credit more. I didn’t know at the time why they were laughing about his skills as a chef.Soon, Mom was bringing Jeff home for the first time.
It wasn’t long after he arrived home, that we had to take him back for an event that turned out to be more traumatizing than it was supposed to be. My father’s brother Bobby was home from the Navy on leave, and he was elected to bring us back from the hospital after Jeff had gone in for his circumcision. I remember it was a quick trip and he wasn’t really staying to visit. He helped get my mother and the baby up the porch stairs and got into his car to leave, but barely left the driveway when she began shouting at me to “Go get Bobby!” We were a one car family, and my father had to take that car to work. We also lived in the middle of the woods in Vermont, adding to the urgency of the situation. I ran as fast as I could to catch up with the car and was screaming his name, waving my arms frantically. He crested over the hill and I thought I’d failed, but luckily he had seen me in the rear view mirror. Suddenly he put the car in reverse and backed up asking me what was wrong. My mother came back outside with the baby in her arms and was crying. She said she had taken off Jeff’s diaper and it was soaked with blood. The doctor had made some sort of error and he was bleeding a lot, especially for a little baby. We raced to the hospital 13 miles away, and they corrected the mistake in time. It was extremely scary and worrisome for my mother, and for me, it was my chance to become a big brother who saved the day.
Photo: Me and my brother Jeff, on our front lawn. Cavendish, Vermont.
(c) Rick Wyman