Happy Birthday, Jessica!

jessica on phone spring 1983
Spring 1983

On this day In 1982, I gave birth to the first of my two children, Jessica Marie.

She was a much anticipated granddaughter, the first after my brother and his wife had three sons.  This picture was taken in the Spring of 1983, just before her first birthday.  We were living in Canfield, Ohio at the time.  The house we rented had a huge screened in porch, and if I had something to do, I would put Jessica in a playpen, bring my project to the porch, and she and I would play and visit.   By the time this picture was taken, Jessica had already lived in three cities:  Indianapolis, where she was born, Minneapolis, Minnesota, where we moved just after she was six weeks old, and Canfield, which is a small town outside of Youngstown, Ohio.

I made her a birthday cake in the shape of a rabbit, and thought she would be so pleased.  But, Jessica cried and wouldn’t have anything to do with her bunny birthday cake.  I’m not sure why she was so bothered, but it was so funny!  We celebrated her first special day in Ohio, and then went to visit my parents in Indiana for several days.  The first birthday of my first child!  Such a special time, and I couldn’t wait to see her pictures.  But things happen . . .

Now, this was in the day of 35mm film, we had no digital anything, and I mailed her birthday film to be developed rather than take it to a store in Youngstown.  While we were gone, our landlord, who lived in the house next door to ours, agreed to collect our mail.  When we returned, I immediately went over to our neighbors’ house to pick up our mail and Jessica’s pictures.  Their housekeeper greeted me, and told me there was no mail for us.  She wasn’t aware the homeowners were saving the mail.  Apparently, our neighbors put all of it in a paper grocery bag, and the housekeeper thought it was garbage and threw all of it away.  Nuts . . . I was heartbroken, knowing there was no way to recreate that unique moment in time.

To share another Jessica factoid, she is the firstborn of a firstborn (me), of a firstborn (my dad), of a firstborn (my grandmother and her paternal grandmother), of a firstborn (my dad’s grandfather, my great grandfather and Jessica’s great, great grandfather).

Jessica can be so sentimental, so I won’t get mushy, but she has been and continues to be such a joy. How could you not fall in love with those big brown eyes and mop of dark hair.  And I love how well we get along, as long as we’re not driving each other crazy – it’s a mother-daughter thing, you know.  I’m sorry I’m not with you today, but know that I love you, sweetheart, and wish you a very Happy Birthday!

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