Sunday, January 29, 2012

1958 Robb Joins the Family

Dr. Gregory White, GP,  Comes to Our House

Dr. Gregory White was now our family doctor, GP. Greg was cousin Maryann Collins Kerwin's brother-in-law. He delivered their 1st born babe, Thomas More Kerwin at home. He has a reputation now. Women are requesting he deliver their babes in their homes. So Greg was known as the home birth doctor. He was on the staff at Loretta Hospital, too.  We decided to asked Greg to come to our home for delivery. His office was in Franklin Park which was nearly 20 miles away and took more than 30 minutes to drive. Even so he generously consented. The afternoon, June 18, I began to have labor pains which were moving steadily along by 4 PM, dilating hard by 5:30. We called Dr. Greg who came promptly from Franklin Park to our house on Springfield Avenue. It happened conveniently to be a Sunday. I have notes: “Daddy bathed and fed the children stew, had them brush teeth and assemble in the living room totally absorbed in a Disney story." Dad, Dr. and I were intensely involved in birthing, in our bedroom just north of the living room. All the doctor requested was a pan of boiling water- no needles, no medications. Greg and Bruce were having such a nice visit. At one point in time Greg said to Bruce, “Would you like to catch”? Today Bruce gets so elated as he describes this moment. He saw this hairy scalp and in just one more instant this babe was in his hands, in his arms.He had experienced the miracle. By the time Disney had ended we had our lovely baby boy laying beside me on our double bed. Robert after Robert Stewart his paternal grandfather and William after his maternal grandfather. He was lovely and beautiful. Nobody rushed in and removed him from my side. They lay Robbie on clean diapers across my chest. After a bit of cleaning up Daddy, cradled Robbie in his arms, and carried baby Robbie out of the room  to share so the children could have their first look at their new, baby brother, Robbie.  Today he shared, “This was an ecstatic experience such as I had never experienced previously”. Upstairs neighbor, Mary Eckstein, was taking care of JoanMary, 17 months old, in her apartment. These are the notes I saved: “Daddy changed her, gave her a bottle in her crib, heard the boys say their prayers all in 11 minutes and was back to assist Greg. Baby looks like everyone in the family-- Kevin’s lower lip, Michael’s mouth, Pat’s dark hair and nose. He’s very bright eyed and alert from first moment’s entrance. Nicely filled out, chubby hands particularly. Put to breast immediately which he took to quickly and vigorously sitting in our rocking chair in the living room. Slept well the first night in bed with mother and daddy. Bruce and I had announced babes arrival over the phone to grandparents. Noisy airliner passed overhead just as Gran and Granpa were called causing us to raise our voices and Robbie sounded off for his grandparents. Mary Eckstein visited before Robbie was 1 hour old.  Robbie slept well all day being wakeful and fretting from 2 to 3 in the afternoon. Grandmother Bergin and Uncle Jim visited for a couple of hours. Bruce did grocery shopping, washed clothing all day long, prepared meals, changed and cared for his 4th son, mailed insurance policy, cared for the other children. Mother brought chicken soup, asparagus, chiffon cake, and fresh strawberries. Children asked so many questions. Brought in visitors to see their new brother. Robb’s cord fell off in 3 days following an uncomfortable period as it became so dry and stiff as wire rubbing his tender skin when on his tummy.”
Robert William Stewart   A Few Hours Old
 How Big His Newborn Clothes Seem to Be on His Tiny Body

Our little Robbie suffered no trauma at all, neither did I nor his father. Would this ever be so again? 
Here is a clip of  Mary, Greg’s wife saying it like it was:
“We always said, back in those days, that the three main obstacles to successful breastfeeding were doctors, 

hospitals, and social pressures. I think the desire to breastfeed was always there along with the conviction 

that ‘breast is best.’ We were not promoting a product that people had to be convinced about. But very few 

young mothers knew anything about the ‘how to.’ Women had forgotten the wisdom of previous generations.”

By the time LLL came along, new mothers did not have the support of family or friends, let alone 

doctors, nurses, and hospitals. Mothers who tried to breastfeed on their own in the early 1950s were almost 

destined to fail.”

We kept the bassinet tight to our bed where Robbie spent his nights sleeping and in our bed when breastfeeding. This was great! Gave me rest I could certainly use. Absolutely no problems at all. The secret of success all along had been in approaching all as natural physical phenomena. June 29  he was baptized at St. Brunos Catholic Church just 2 blocks from our house with Tom Sullivan and MaryAnn Kerwin, godparents.
Then a month later Johnny Sullivan was born July, 1958. I know Elayne would now breastfeed her baby though I do not know what guidance she used, perhaps it was with the League as well. 

They were living in a small southern Illinois town,  Worden. 

One of the joys of nursing a baby is the freedom and mobility it provides. This same summer, having the nice Volkswagen Microbus, we decided, as a family, to    accompany,  Bruce on his annual Air Force Reserve 2-week Tour of Duty. 

There had been talk of camping between the Kerwins and us. We had the excuse to just do it.
We purchased sleeping bags, found a nice gas camping stove,  cast iron grill, lantern, water jug, ice box, tent, large canvas, and all the gear for family camping. Resurrected Bruce' Air Force nest of pans. 

His tour would be at Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Delaware. Once there the Air Force would accommodate family in their barracks. This was a 2-day trip east. Quite an exciting, new experience  traveling on the super highway and the Pennsylvania turnpike. First night out was a great initiation. We camped en route, set up tent, ate, bedded down for the night and then it poured down rain. Perhaps, if more seasoned campers we would have done things  in anticipation of the forecasted probability of pounding rain and pools of water. As it was we suffered through this long night learning experience. Water was in the tent, around the tent, everywhere, soaked sleeping bags. We parents at any rate spent a miserable night. I was nursing my babe. I don’t suppose the water, the wet, mattered to him a bit. Joan Mary would be whining and the older kids trying their best to cope and handle this awful 1st night out experience. 

On arrival  at the Dover Air Base we jumped from the bus, free at last. The day was so hot and very humid. The air was filled with mosquitoes hungry for blood. We carried our stuff down a long barracks hallway to our given quarters, totally dejected. How would we survive as a family with the little children in such an atmosphere? Soon Bruce learned from a companion about a lake near the base, though not too close, which had Cypress trees, even growing in the water, which kept the lake and the beach free  of those mosquitoes. We took advantage of the opportunity to camp there while Bruce commuted the distance, 50 miles,  to and from the base. What seemed some kind of hell turned into a   great  follow up camp experience, much preferred to what the base could offer. The water was brown but Bruce learned quickly it provided a wonderfully refreshing swim following a hot, muggy drive. Not only were we free of mosquitoes there was a built in play ground for our kids and all this nice, warm water to play in. Another memory here at the lake  was the barrels of water filled with live crabs  cooking over campfires. The crabs were moving about in the boiling water, bouncing their shells against the metal barrels as they were being cooked live for  folks’ dinners. This was our camping initiation to be followed by many in coming years.

Back home again on one of our family Sunday excursions out of Chicago into the western suburbs in our quite new VW Microbus we came to a small town, Winfield. On the hilltop stood this picturesque, red brick, St. John’s Catholic Church with a steeple, with bells. A creek ran through at the foot of the hill. The town was off the main drag. The site was like a drawing on a greeting card. Further along Church Street at the corner of Beecher Street, we spotted a For Sale/ For Rent sign on a 2 story, aged Victorian, frame, asbestos shingled covered, home. Upon inquiry the owner was agreeable to renting this home to a family as large as ours. He was anticipating in the near future when the property sold the dwelling would be destroyed and replaced. All of us were delighted. Not only a church and school in walking distance but a 2 story home, nice screened in porch for cold and rainy days, huge yard, green trees in a lovely, quiet town with the whistle sounds of a commuter train passing through at intervals. Made for this family. We immediately initiated a move to Winfield, IL.  Our 1-year lease with Mr. Soprich on Springfiled Avenue was about to expire. We would not renew. Much of  our life in this town would revolve around this Church.  

This was Fall of ’58. Dad would take turns in carpool to Nalco with a couple of their very willing employees who lived westerly. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Late '57-1958

Dressed in Sunday clothes at Nalco's Open House

In the Fall of ’57 we moved to 4505 Springfield Avenue far west within the city of Chicago. This was an easy commute to Nalco Chemical Company where Bruce was then employed.

Almost unheard of with this large family we were able to rent a brand new home, 2-flat, located within the landing patterns of the airplanes arriving and taking off from Midway International Airport. Was grand to be living in brand new space, suburban almost. We bought a tan naugahyde hide-a-bed and placed it in the bare living room. Soon we bought some Bates bedspreads which I cut and hemmed for the large picture window to close us off at night from passer-by view. Gran said, “Truly, you don’t need those drapery for it would be wonderful for folks passing to look in on such a nice family”. We found we needed some privacy. There were 3 bedrooms. Joan’s baby crib was set up in the middle room with the old army cot for Michael to bed down. The other two boys were set up in the back bedroom. The home, newly constructed, had a large yard without any grass or landscaping, though white picket fence between neighbors. I brought my iris rhizomes from the university and planted them beside the back door.  
Patrick and Kevin with Trikes
Patrick and JoanMary at our Front Door
Baby JoanMary and Bruce After a Walk
JoanMary 1 Year Old and Walking

A young family mom, pop and two children lived in the upstairs flat. The oldest, a girl, was Michael’s age and attended same school. Mary Eckstein and I got along fine. This Mom showed me a picture of herself dating her husband. She was slim and gorgeous. Already she had gained weight and sort of dowdy.  The dad was a Flight Controller at Midway Airport. Never did forget how she would wash every one of their bath towels daily as is done in motels. These homes were in a Polish neighborhood; all homes so neat and tidy. Michael attended first Grade now. Sunday Mass was said in Latin, of course. Some Masses had sermons in the Polish language.
Michael is in 1st Grade- Attends St. Bruno's School
This is the time I commenced planning meals ahead for the whole week. We initiated the birthday celebrations with pizza and cake to simplify those special days after a few more bustling and complicated ventures with chicken dinner. Our washer and dryer were in the basement as were the neighbor’s machines. One of Chicago’s spring rains flooded this new basement. Homemakers found clothing still  required ironing. On one of these ironing deals my iron tipped off the board and hit the floor scarring the kitchen’s nice, new linoleum. I felt awful. If only it were pieces of tile. I used to put the three boys in the tub in the bathroom while I fixed our supper. I’d pour in some Ivory liquid which made so many bubbles. They never tired of these times. They'd spend an hour or more in the water having a super time while getting clean bodies. The result after many months was we discovered a problem with the plumbing leaking behind the tile and some pink tiles were coming loose. Don’t remember the room having a fan. A new house can have building flaws. Our landlord, Mr. Soprich, lived in an identical 2-flat next door. 
Christmas Some of the Stewart Clan Watching TV at RW Stewart's 
Patrick, JoanMary  [I year almost] Michael, Kevin
No women drove vans. Station wagons were vogue for the boomers. With our micro-bus [van] I was able to attend a few of the monthly meetings with the 49ers, Mount Mary College Alumnae living on the south side of Chicago. I felt embarrassed driving the VW as it seemed like driving a truck. Women didn't drive trucks. We took a few Microbus trips to our old stomping grounds, the Science museum. There was little to interest us in the surrounding neighborhood. Children spent a lot of time in the backyard. Or out front on their trikes.

The next upcoming event in our Bergin family was Elayne’s wedding to Tom Sullivan.
Ready For Bed- Michael, Kevin, Patrick, JoanMary on Auntie's Lap
Tom’s mother and father invited all the family to a reception in their honor at a swanky Illinois Club in the Chicago loop.  Mr. Sullivan, Sr.  told me, “Anyone could tell you’re Irish. You have the map all over your face”. This is the first occasion I had too much alcohol to drink. Drinks were freely available. I always enjoyed drinking the foam from beer mugs, rarely tasted a wine other than  Mogan David, a very sweet red wine. I enjoyed this evening and was faced with all kinds of fancy, hard liquor drinks.  And they were free. I was woozy all the way home. And, oh, the headache all the next day when my services were required to carry through my busy spouse/mother routine. This was a learning experience, indeed. I hate headaches. Why would I ever again acquire one deliberately? Uh-uh. For me this was a good learning experience. From this moment on I would control alcoholic usage as my father patterned for us.

 Mary and I kept an appointment at a dress shop to have our red, satin dresses fitted. We would be Elayne’s bride matrons.
Priscilla                 Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Sullivan               Michael
Elayne and Tom were married at St. Joseph’s, in Richmond and had a lovely reception in Woodstock, IL. Once more we had most of our cousins with us, aunts and uncles.
Elayne Bergin Sullivan, MaryKay and Mary [dresses were red satin] 
Following their wedding they took up residence in Alton IL. The senior Sullivans lived there as well. This city is just outside St. Louis, MO. I suppose the winter passed easily being milder IL winters down state. Come Spring and Summer Elayne began to complain about the heat and high humidity in the south. Perhaps she was lonesome for family as well. Was quite a trip to come home.

Jim stayed with us, for a short period of time while attending college. He was dating Angela Jeanne whom I said attended the same college my sister-in-law, Mary, attended, and Jim having met her through Mary. She had all the pre-requisites for satisfying my parents, Irish, Catholic, College. Jim writes- “Mother and dad relinquished the studio apartment on Wabash and Chicago Avenues upon Elayne's marriage in Oct, '57;  and returned to the farm, leaving me to your hospitality, sleeping on couch in front room and studying in basement.  Your kids listened to Captain Kangaroo mornings. I was with you until Spring semester ended in late May of '58.  Then on to ROTC Summer Camp mid June to early August.  Then worked for dad completely painting the barn including the highest portions that had never been more than oiled. I was compensated with Mother's diamond ring [this ring mother inherited from her Aunt Maime] which I had re-set at Wolfe's Jewelers in Woodstock as Angie's engagement ring presented over Thanksgiving as I recall. 
I remember those many evenings when Jim joined Bruce and me lingering at the kitchen table. The children were in their beds. There were a trying few days when JoanMary, was having the usual growing up rejection to bedtime. She was in the room adjacent to the kitchen and would not settle down. She was training me to continually return to her and offer solace. Finally, with the guys fortifying one another and me, we decided to just let her ‘cry it out’.  Eventually, she would settle in. So awful for me to just sit there, outside her door, and listen to her sobbing. At LONG last she stopped crying, in exhaustion, I think. We passed this hurdle.
JoanMary Loved to Rock
JoanMary loved to be rocked. I’d pick her up onto my lap, cuddle her, and we’d sing the songs from the fascinating nursery rhymes from our Luther record. Especially fitting was ‘Little Betty Blue lost her holiday shoe. Now what would little Betty do? Give her another one just like the other one, then she can walk in the two’. 
One day Michael came home from St. Bruno’s school with red blotches forming on his skin throughout his whole body. He caught the 2-week measles. We put him to bed as he slowly recovered. The other children would catch the measles from him.

Michael Brought Our First Contagious Disease Home From School
JoanMary Gives Raggedy Ann a Tight Hug
Alas! I was allowing La Leche Womanly Art of Breastfeeding to deeply influence me. The founders of La Leche League were seven mothers from Illinois who had breast-fed their own children and were motivated to help mothers who, for a variety of different reasons (often related to social expectations and misinformation) had difficulties with and questions about breast-feeding. Sound familiar? Marian Tompson and her friend Mary White began with a conversation about the joys and difficulties of breast-feeding while at a local church picnic in August 1956. They each invited other friends to join the discussion; Mary Ann Cahill, Edwina Froehlich, Mary Ann Kerwin, Viola Lennon, and Betty Wagner. These women are considered the founders of La Leche League.
Dr. Herbert Ratner [director of public health in Oak Park, IL] and Dr. Gregory White were invited to meet with these women and advise the group about medical aspects of breast-feeding, leading them to  access  the small amount of medical literature about breast-feeding then available. By the end of World War II, most women bottle-fed their babies. At the time of La Leche League's founding, the breast-feeding initiation rate in the USA had dropped to 20% of babies. I’m wondering now what the successful rate was. Well, I’ve shared with you up until now a play by play account of one woman’s trial and error experiences. Mine. Case rests. LLL over the years since grew to be the world’s foremost authority on breastfeeding.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

1957-8 Family of Six

My Parents worked out a plan where they came into Chicago to spend each winter. Mother and dad rented this downtown studio apartment on Wabash and Chicago Avenues. Jim stayed with them as he attended De Paul University. We’d take an elevator to a floor high above the street whenever visiting.
I have this newspaper clipping, Nov. 1958, One of Seven Cited at De Paul Univ.‘Recently cited as one of De Paul University distinguished military students, James K. Bergin [left], Hebron, is congratulated by Lt. Col. John G. Lucas, Professor of military science and tactics for the university's army ROTC. Bergin and the others were honored for their excellent grades, leadership abilities, and participation in extracurricular activities’. 

3 Brothers at the Beach

Times parents would be in Chicago in the summertime. One instance my father let me use his Ford to take the children to the beech. I had known how to drive a car since I was 16, hadn’t I? I put the children in the car ready for a swim at the very nearby beach on Lake Michigan. We weren’t required to use seat belts or kid car seats in 1957. Joan Mary would have been safe in the Boodle Buggy. Michael remembers this as we reminisced recently [2011] though he was 5 then. I drove away from home just fine BUT as I approached a first stop sign my foot reached to brake and the kids went flying forward, bumpety bump, hitting the windshield, hitting the front seat. Surprise! We were all shocked. Dad/Grandad hadn’t realized I drove only with stick shift. I had absolutely no experience driving an automatic. I practiced to and from our outing, often nearly repeating this hazard. 
Baby Sister JoanMary Enjoying the Beach, Too
We had this yellow, one ring wading pool which we could put outside the front door in the grassy piece beyond the sidewalk. We’d fill it with water early morning to warm in the sunshine. The boys often drew onlookers from the neighborhood as the three played pretend alligators and such. 
"If only there could be room for all"
3 alligators stir things up
They enjoyed their trikes, too. The sidewalks were safe to use, the street traffic fairly quiet.
Kevin Has Learned to Ride the Blue Trike
JoanMary is Right in There With All
Have I mentioned the crew cuts? The boys and dad had crew cuts using the clipper set we bought to master the job. Just a continuation of Air Force regulations far as Bruce was concerned. 

We often pushed the carriage through the U of C campus, especially enjoying the park-like quadrangles with its bustling students. We were alone so much while our daddy was studying in his big books. 

On another walk we’d frequent the park grounds, the flower gardens near the lakefront. Many, many  times we’d walk to the Museum of Science and Industry. This building was set up for kids hands-on. They loved it. Dinosaurs, even. There was a visit into a coal mine exhibit. Take an elevator which seemed to go miles down into the earth. Then we’d see the miners, the coal cars, picks and shovels. Way before Disneyland. Another display was real fetus in jars of formaldehyde  which showed the stages of a fetus  maturing in the womb. Oh! And the library. How we enjoyed the library together. My close friend in college, a literature major, Phyllis,   had gifted me with the book, Miss Hickory, because she knew I loved Children’s Lit. All the encouragement I needed. We found  these great books in the library, brought home the best, with pictures and story, and read these over and over. Other families were reading Little Golden Books from the Supermarket. Our trips together were so exciting. Many of our selections had won Newberry [Johnny Truman, Rabbit Hill, Strawberry Girl, The Door in the Wall],and Caldecott [Many Moons, Make Way For Ducklings, Song of the Swallows, Time to Wonder, Madeline’s Rescue] awards. Remember A Hole is to Dig and Mike Mulligan and the Steamshovel, ‘Jumjills’? There were many books which didn’t win awards but wonderful books to read aloud over and over and over again. What treasure we were exposing ourselves to culturally. Satisfying now that there wasn’t a huge smorgasbord of children’s TV to have shrunk our reading time. I struggled learning about nurturing babies but I surely thrived on nurturing the minds of toddlers.

Above Michael and Patrick, JoanMary in Carriage, Kevin on Teeter-totter

Once as we were returning from an adventure down on 63rd street we came onto this man walking towards us.  He inquired if the 4 were mine and when I said yes he spat at us. Michael and Patrick were beside me and Kevin sitting in the boodle buggy with baby Joan Mary. How could he know how much I loved my job. I never did describe this buggy. The boodle would lift off the carriage wheels which  could be stored in the automobile’s trunk and the boodle set into  a forward space in the rear seat, holding the baby. Once on a similar walk on Kenwood I met a mother with a child in her stroller whose body was whole but totally without a mind or physical control, vegetative. How sad. How unfair it seemed to me. She showed so much love for this child. I loved having our family and we loved our many excursions 


I enjoyed fixing the meals and baking the cookies and cakes and the little helpers beside me. There was generally a second wind for me in the late afternoon after nap time. I made most of their clothing, even the snow suits. 
Our Unique University Transport
Another CFM Symbol
Without the Chevy Bruce found it expedient to resurrect his old scooter, from Air Force Cadet days, to get around the neighborhood. He riveted a metal basket  on each of the 2 sides. These baskets had multiple usage. They carried the milk and groceries. The boys could stand up inside these side baskets when taking our trips. 

Mary and Dick Davis took this picture of all six of us one Sunday as we arrived at their 3-story home in the old Hyde Park neighborhood for a visit. 

We enjoyed our once a week get-together with CFM couples. 

We enjoyed our once a week get-together with CFM couples. 

Wonder of wonders, Mary had a dishwasher! Yes, a machine in her kitchen to wash dishes. Bruce took Michael to school everyday on this scooter when he was 5 soon to be six coming Christmas.  All six of us attended Sunday Mass each week at St. Thomas More Parish adjacent to the University. Sometimes I attended Newman Club and certainly enjoyed their intelligent conversations and talk of YCS activity.

There were semester breaks, holidays when Bruce would drive his small scooter at 45 miles per hour all the way to Rockford, IL. where his university contact, Roy, also earned income at Pierce Chemical Co. He met Roy’s family who lived on a farm, like his ma and pa, enjoying their company and they his. He stayed overnights with a bachelor he met employed at Pierce, Jim Sullivan. Jim drove a mercedes, I recall. Bruce would return home driving 45 miles per hour, full throttle. He says he kept up that little engine in top notch condition.

Both Michael's, Patrick's and Kevin’s daddy and grandfather Bergin were as much at ease in the kitchen or anywhere else in the house doing what females do as they were in the yard or shop.   Our boys had superb models. Was there anything females do which was forbidden them? 
TinyTearsDoll @ Christmas

I almost forgot to share the story about the boys receiving a gift doll for Christmas before JoanMary's birth. My intention, they being boys, should know as much about nurturing as females and other than watching adults there were  ways to learn. They now had this popularly marketed doll named 'Tiny Tears’.  One could feed it water and it would wet it’s diaper. Joan Mary was a girl, our girl. She had these three brothers. She kept right up beside them. She would join in those times of robust play. She had little trouble keeping up. Sand play, climbing, cars and trucks, balls, rough house, frontier men, whatever she was right there among them, keeping up. She was handling her place in sibling order just fine, thank you. Her daddy was treating her much like he would treat the 3 boys. My problem-- but, but, but she’s a girl. She wasn’t following in my imagination footsteps. She wouldn’t even think of putting on a fake Raggedy Ann smile. She could scream, yell, keep up with any male child. Could she ‘sit on a tuffet’ and a spider frighten her away? Heavens, no. I thought we had a problem. Much later I learned it was my problem. What is a woman-- a real woman? She had so much to teach me. For myself there were mostly these conflicting feminine ideas in my head. I could also rough house with any brother or cousin or neighbor. My problem was mental, was idealistic, was cultural. Patterns. Even  Blessed Mother Mary was presented lop sided. Would she shoot baskets?  They even said her child wasn’t born like mine, like any animal giving birth. Was the ideal woman to be sexless? There was a lot my daughter and I were going to learn together about being authentic females and we’d make great strides before this century ended. I’d seen habited nuns who came out on the playground, bunching their skirts and rolling up their sleeves to join a ball game at recess. And they were good, too. Their dribbled balls were sent through hoops, too. Could females be more than nurses or teachers or mothers with many children?

University Chemistry Department was conducting student interviews as possible employers of graduates. Bruce participated in a few of these. One of the interviews was Boeing in Seattle. We discussed this prospect, moving to the northwest, leaving extended family behind. [Similar to my family’s move to N.Y. or to Boston before the farm was purchased]. My mother certainly was apposed when she found out we were entertaining this idea. Bruce would have been hired. Also, he was interviewed by Nalco Chemical Company located far west side of Chicago. They had a great package to offer their employees. 
We each were finding living as family students was becoming mighty stressful. Though Bruce wouldn’t graduate this June. 

When Nalco offered Bruce a position though he wouldn’t graduate this June he nevertheless decided to accept Nalco’s offer. They were satisfied he would continue to work on his degree and delay, for a time, his graduation from the University of Chicago.

We bought a ’57 Volkswagen Microbus, German manufacturer, a very innovative automobile for the times, sliding door, 3 seater, tiny engine, no heater for cold days. No one drove vans. Station wagons were vogue for the boomers.  
Picture Stewarts took of their son and his new car at 'house on the hill'

It was unusual for any make auto to have air conditioning, but no heater!  This seemed a perfect car for our family. The scooter had served us well. Now was the time to move on.