Tuesday, November 22, 2011

1953-54 Patrick Joins the Family

Bruce had heard of a machine which could be installed in a silo to scoop up the silage and throw it down the shoot.  Such a machine could be helpful. Following up with further study we took a drive to Madison, all five of us, one day to do research with the manufacturer. I remember the salesman coming to the farm with further explanations.  Eventually, the decision was made to have the unloader installed. And so it was. Now began an interim of constant troubles, breakdowns and repairs, repeatedly, until one could say it was the bane of my husbands existence, distressing, extremely annoying in all our lives. 
The senior Stewart’s had been active in Farm Bureau, Home Bureau, Rural Youth, 4-H Fair, County Fair. They were friends with the head honchos, Mr. and Mrs. Sweeney [guests at our wedding]. We kept a subscription to Successful Farming Magazine. These were some of the resources farm families used to keep abreast of the ever expanding dairy farm business.

Uncle Art's Tank Milk Truck about first of its kind

Once before I mentioned their herd was registered, purebred. They were members of the Holstein-Friesan Association. Found this description to share:
Holstein Association USA is the largest breed organization in the world, comprised of members who have a strong interest in breeding, raising and milking Holstein cattle.
The Association staff maintains the parentage, production and ownership records of Holstein animals. In extensive data files, we have maintained records and ancestry that trace back to the original 8,800 Holstein animals that were imported to the U.S. from the Netherlands during the period of 1852-1905.
The 284 dairymen who signed the founding charter of the organization wanted to preserve and disseminate useful information and facts about the Holstein pedigree. They strove to identify desirable qualities and distinguishing characteristics of the best of the Holstein breed, and to promote and communicate these to other dairymen to help increase their business success.
Holstein-Friesian cattle originated in Europe over 2,000 years ago and were the result of the mating of black animals of the Batavian tribe and white animals of the Friesian tribe.
Books were kept up to date on each animal’s extensive lineage and identification. As an animal came into heat Stewarts would send out a call to the artificial inseminator to pay a visit to Franelchar and do his thing. The sperm was kept frozen in a sperm bank. They were members of DHIA, Dairy Heard Improvement Association. Monthly a man would visit  spending two days testing the herd at morning and evening milkings. 

My Mother and Dad, the Bergins,  had been doctoring in Harvard with a Dr. Francis J. Quincannon. After our experience with Forrest we decided to give Quincannon, GP, a Catholic doctor, member of St. Joseph's parish in Harvard, our business. He was great. A doctor anyone could love. I was visiting him periodically with Michael for baby shots and checkups.  Almost nine months passed when I began making monthly doctor visits for I was pregnant once again. 

On May 30, Memorial Day 1953, celebrating the holiday, we were spending the day visiting my mother, dad, and family at Tullybrachy. It was the hottest, most humid day I ever previously experienced. I could hardly breathe. In the afternoon I began having labor pains. Bruce drove me to the Harvard Hospital which was a white, wooden clapboard, 2-story structure, a home. Yes, this  hospital  looked like some family’s home. The people at the desk, other personnel, the nurses, all were friendly and welcoming.  I felt I was in good hands. The pain intervals were inconsistent. Quincannon gave me a dose of castor oil and in no time my body was responding. Patrick was born on this Memorial Day holiday. I was awake at his birth. I saw his thick head of long black hair and blue eyes. I called him ‘my little Indian’. They whisked him away to the nursery and me to my recovery room.

 I have a little blue card saved:

Name Baby Boy Stewart
Date of Birth May 30 1953
Time of Birth 10:24 PM CST
Weight      7 lbs. 10  0z    Length 21
Doctor Quincannon
Special Data   Room 29
Even this doctor we admired had given me only a little booklet for mother and newborn. There was a single paragraph on breastfeeding. Position for feeding the baby. When nursing the baby it is best to sit comfortably on a low chair or stool, leaning slightly forward. In order that he can breathe freely when nursing, the baby should be held in a semi-reclining position with his head well supported on the crook of your arm. After nursing, the baby should be held upright for a short period to permit the escape of air he may have swallowed. That is all!!!!!!!! 

I was concerned that as I increased my intake of whole milk, more liquid which I thought I’d be drinking to help me succeed in nursing my babe, I might put on weight. So, I told the nurse to bring me tea. This is how I initially commenced drinking tea. I never before had tea even though I saw my mother brew her tea again and again day in and day out and search the tea leaves for a story. To this day I don’t drink coffee. We were a milk loving family. Probably in retrospect tea was a good idea as the milk from the Franelchar Farm was anywhere from 3.2 to 3.5 butter fat. And we drank it whole. They brought Patrick to me every 4 hours, because they knew I would breastfeed. Otherwise one might not see one’s newborn baby that often. We didn’t have a name immediately as we did for Michael. I believe two  days passed when we made our decision to name him Patrick James. James, we thought sounded  great with Patrick and besides it was my brother’s name.  All in all, save for the heat, this was by far a better birth experience. Why aren’t parents taught?

One of these days, while Patrick and I were in the hospital R.W. fell down and broke his hip. After about five days Patrick and I returned to our home.

My plan to breastfeed Patrick soon fell away. Caring for Michael and my regular household chores overwhelmed me. Once again no one I knew was doing this to share information with, to find support. I still understood very little about a woman’s body responses after giving birth, not much further informed than for the 1st birth. I kept learning the hard way. It was haying time right now on the farm and I was expected to have meals ready for Bruce and Art Galt. Grandpa, who was usually a great helper, knowing all the ropes, was incapacitated and Gran in these early days of his affliction was totally occupied in recovery care. Bruce foolishly said to me, “There are women who drop their baby, and go right out in the fields to work”. I believe this statement showed his exasperation over the size of his dairy business commitment. And now I probably couldn’t be counted on handling my end of the business very well. I awoke one morning, and while Bruce was out in the barn I took the children with me in the Chevy, drove to a tiny grocery store in Greenwood, a few miles down the road. There I bought some cans of Pet Milk, brought them home and challenged myself with how to use this milk for baby Patrick. I had a dozen 4 ounce baby bottles and a clever new nipple just came on the market supposedly most resembling nursing. I planned on using them for orange juice and water. I didn’t know nothin’. I didn’t have anyone to tell me to wean Patrick gradually. I quit cold because I had a screwy idea that the breastmilk not taken would curdle or sour. My breasts became hard and sore as the dickens. I went around in pain for days, doing the meals, chores, caring for the babes. La Leche League was years in the future.
Baby Patrick James Rests Safely in His Playpen

Recovering, I got through the early weeks and life went forward.  We bought a pasteurizer to use our dairy milk. Years later I realized that the rich milk we drank needed to be cut, diluted, for an infant. I never asked our Doctor and he assumed I was breastfeeding. Patrick was being fed whole milk. I believe he was often distressed but did survive. To this very day he enjoys his daily 4+ glasses of milk in spite of such a rich early introduction.

Michael Was a Big Brother in 1954

Josef received a lot of enjoyment reading novels written in English. He was steadfast to improve his English capabilities.. Found this  challenging. His ’52-’53 year was ending. Bruce would miss this guy. They seemed to understand and respect each other. 
Woodstock Train Depot

The scheduled day arrived when we took Josef to Woodstock where he boarded the Northwestern to Chicago to meet up with the others in his group. Arrangements had been made at least once early in his year with us  when Joe’s extended group, spending their year in American homes, met together in Chicago and shared the experiences they encountered with their host families and in their various high schools. They’d meet once more now as they gathered for their return trip across the seas. We felt sad to be losing our son.

There’s an important memory I have from this stressful time. I recall holding Michael in my arms, the two of us standing in the kitchen doorway with Bruce, when something I said or did exasperated him. He spoke loudly to me. I looked him in the eye and said, “You speak often like this to your mother and to your sisters but you are never, ever to speak like this to me again”. Sounds emphatic, doesn’t it, like I am nipping something in the bud? It didn’t work.

We had asked, early in Springtime, while Joe was with us, for another student for the following year, ’53-’54. We were accepted once again as host parents.
Otto Schweins
Our next student is Otto Schweins, tall, lanky, brown hair, blue eyes. Not at all like Josef. We would expose him through this year to similar experiences. Otto wasn’t as willing a worker, much  more the student and socialite. He made many, many friends in town and often had night’s out with buddies.  I would say perhaps he and I had a better one on one relationship, he being more an extrovert. He had a sweetheart, Hedi, back home.  We found out much later in the year that Hedi was pregnant and Otto was the baby’s father. I believe this was revealed the day he received the announcement in the mail that he had a son whom Hedi named, Michael. That day he was shaken to his very core and had a need to share his information with us. A year later the two married.
Bruce and Otto Engaged in Fieldwork
I received another letter from my sister, Elayne, in May shortly before Patrick’s birth. She was aware of the upcoming birth and had everyone in the convent praying that all went well. She sounded so secure and dedicated to her new life. And yet by Fall of ’53 she was living in a sorority house on Highland Avenue as House Mother and taking further classes at Marquette University.
Jim entered Marquette as Freshman in Mechanical Engineering.  He shares that he would meet with Elayne once a week in what was then the new library for an afternoon of  study together.
Michael Almost 2  Patrick 4 Months
This portrait was taken before Patrick could sit by himself My hands support him behind the blanket. Patrick received a Christmas gift from Germany, an infant size blue, knit, cotton, one piece, suit. It had no closures for diaper change so I only used it on special occasions.
Patrick, Robert Wright Stewart, Michael

Before New Year’s Eve 1954 the Woodstock Sentinel came to the Stewart ‘little house on the hill’ and snapped photos of Michael and his grandpa and of the two boys, Michael and Patrick , 6 months old, and Grandpa beneath the ‘wag-on-the wall- clock set at midnight. The Sentinel intended to use this photo to welcome the New Year, 1955.

At Tullabrachy we see this picture of Patrick in the little wicker child’s rocker and sitting in front of a bridal wreath in blossom, 10 0r 11 months old.

He loved it when his granddad Bergin placed him up high into his large, empty, wood floored farm wagon. “What do you say, Corky?” My dad loved to talk to Patrick nicknaming him Corky. No one else did this. I can see the conversation going on here.
2nd row- Marcia, Michael, Mark, ?, Patrick, Polly,
Roger top left

An extended family gathering in Gran's and Granpa's back yard. Patrick not very happy without mother but then neither does Mark seem engaged. We continued our activities as referred previously. An abundance of daily contact with family on both  sides continued. 
Grandmother Bergin and  Michael
Those Bridal Wreath bushes behind mother and Michael give this location away!

At intervals we visited Dr.  Quincannon’s office for well baby visits and shots for the boys. One Fall visit Dr. Quincannon shared with Bruce what became words to alter our lives, “If you continue working at the present rate you will be incapacitated by your 48th birthday”. Bruce brought this diagnostic news home to share with the extended family. Well, now, this was hard news to deal with; extremely problematical. We had much discussion in both extended families and between the two of us. What could we do? We each wanted him to heed this well respected medical advice. Bruce knew his GI Bill would be terminated in February of ’54. This put some pressure on making decisions. What were his chances of enrolling for the 2nd semester at U of IL, Loyola, De Paul, Roosevelt, Northwestern, anywhere? At each institution the reply, “No. Impossible, semesters were  now in session”. His chances were nil. He was encouraged both by my father and brother, Bill, that getting an education was the right thing to do. Gran said she would be very proud of her son attending the University and graduating. Last resort he contacted the University of Chicago. They had the reputation of being more flexible than most institutions. He went in for some testing. He has a high I.Q. and did well on the tests. They agreed to accept him. He enrolled immediately, so not to lose his GI Bill assistance. He would commute on the Northwestern from Richmond from this day forward. 

Now what of the farm management? The dairy herd won’t wait. There was no one in the family to take his place. Bruce was the youngest son.  Bruce had been fostering a friendly contact  with the  Ken Jacobson family living in Hebron town. A deal was made that Ken would cooperate with chores all through the week, assisted by Otto. He and Otto grew to know and became fond of one another as they worked together. 
But, the only solution for the farm was to sell out all the livestock, machinery, feed, all nine yards. The Stewarts’ made plans for a Spring Farm Auction. Additionally they would need to search for and find renters to farm the land and use the buildings,  a capable family. It all happened so fast!

A magnifying glass might aid when reading to appreciate what happened here. Near the bottom of the list I see reference to the Roto-Pack silage distributor.  I'm getting tears in my eyes as I type. 

Could Otto come with us  to Chicago as our son and participate in our new life? I wanted him to. Bruce was more realistic. This was a most difficult transition. When the Jacobson family offered to have Otto come live with them for the remainder of his time here it seemed credible. This would be an exciting venture for Otto. We contacted Monsignor McMannus at NCWC in Washington, D.C. and explained. He contacted Jacobson and was extremely satisfied with the altered plans especially as it was OK with Otto and he would remain in the same town, same school, same parish and with a Catholic family. Of course, Msgr.  didn’t know that Otto was a Daddy, out of wedlock. Would it matter?
All the plans went into play. The day for the Auction arrived. The Stewart family let go of their precious, well documented, purebred herd, all their machinery, never again to work these friendly fields of their ancestors, bring in their cattle. This was a turning point for the RW Stewarts, a serious retirement, with  strangers living on the property.

It was a shocking, sad day for me the day we moved out. Seems I was unaware of how immediate the general plan would be. As I was removing our belongings down the back stairway from the farmhouse another family was coming up the stairway and into the kitchen carrying in their belongings. I experienced them as intruders in my home. I hadn’t time to weep, to let go of, to grieve over. I was leaving behind the three years we  spent in the family farmhouse. Gone. We move on. 
Patrick will celebrate his 2nd birthday with all his newly acquired little friends whose daddies are students just like his daddy at the University of Chicago.
Hedi and Otto Schweins at home ini Germany [picture received in 1954]

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