Everything that Happens to Parents . . .

The beginning impact my first child had on me was nausea, upchucking every meal, and losing fifteen pounds. Three months into my pregnancy that stopped; nature’s course followed and baby Larry emerged healthy and happy.

During the next four years that experience was repeated three more times as Lee, Carl, and finally Holly completed our family. The business of bearing and rearing four children occupied my complete time, energy, and attention for ten years until the day came when all four were in school.

Baldwin family photo, 1951, in St. Paul, Minnesota
Baldwin family photo, 1951, in St. Paul, Minnesota

By that time my marriage to Larry had dissolved. I spent the summer getting a teaching credential, and was hired by Los Angeles Unified School District to teach elementary school.

When I remarried, two more children were introduced into the family, Robbie and Sue. The transition had been slow. Bob and I were both teachers in our church school; that meant most weekends our families had been melded, as well as in many camping experiences during summers and holidays. Bob’s two children lived with their mother two miles away, but they spent weekends and outings with us.

With six kids, a husband, a full time teaching job, and an active church life, my life was totally filled. When Bob and I were married he said, “Everything that happens to parents is going to happen to us.” That Christmas Larry Jr. got appendicitis and had surgery Christmas Day, then in rapid succession three got chicken pox, three, including me, got mumps, and four got German measles.

Some other ways my life was impacted: Carl kept disappearing from home and the fourth time he was brought home by the police they suggested he needed to be taken to therapy. After three sessions the therapist said he wasn’t running away, he was running to—and that I was the one who needed the therapy to help him. Twice I was called to rescue a son who was hit by a car while riding a bicycle. There was a full page picture of a son in Life Magazine depicting him giving his cat LSD (he denied the story). A neighbor accompanied by a policeman appeared at the front door complaining the kids had climbed his avocado tree and were using the little avocados for ammunition in their wars (a $20 check satisfied him). A few times the police woke us in the wee hours to come get someone out of jail. And then there were Boy Scout activities, Girl Scout meetings, and strangers knocking on the front door asking to “see Holly’s room” whose walls, ceiling, and doors were completely covered with Beatles photos.

In 1967, Holly moved out and I felt I was a free woman.

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Baldwin family photo 1952, picking oranges in California
Baldwin family photo 1952, picking oranges in California

C-1949ChristmasCard C-1948ChristmasCards10003 C-1947ChristmasCards1 C-1946ChristmasCard
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In birth order: Larry, Lee, Carl, and Holly
In birth order: Larry, Lee, Carl, and Holly

C-Carl
C-Holly

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C-1955ChristmasCard

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