Thirty-eight years ago, my tall, blue-eyed husband Mike Deming and I lived in an apartment in Giddings, TX, located in Southeast TX 55 miles from Austin.
Mike was studying to be a City Planner at the University of Texas at Austin, a degree he would use the rest of his life, which, tragically, ended when he was 62.
I myself had completed one semester of library school at UT Austin but dropped out when I was six months pregnant.
I liked nothing better than swimming in the backyard pool of our apartment, watching my slowly enlarging belly as I swam silhouetted against the blue skies of Texas.
We were dirt-poor back then and couldn't even afford a telephone. We'd bought a lime-green Datsun station wagon when we lived in Philly, Castor and Cottman area, where Mike and I loved the convenience of shopping at small stores, like the bakery that also sold Greek olives.
But it would be Texas where my girl was born, Bohne Memorial Hospital, where the kindly white-haired Dr Johnson delivered me, natural childbirth.
I read the wonderful book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by the La Leche League and nursed both my kids until they didn't want me no more.
The bible of breastfeeding. Mine had a navy-blue cover.
Sarah and I had a wonderful life in Texas. We moved from Giddings to Austin where we lived in Married Student Housing. Recently I made contact with Michiko Hill, whose daughter, Melody, was Sarah's best friend.
They were two years old.
Some of the happiest days of my life were being a full-time mom to Sarah and then her little brother Daniel, who always adored his big sister.
The lazy days in Texas were spent introducing Sarah to the world I so loved. Before she was born, I feared I would get bored, but never did. I began seeing the world through Sarah's eyes. The perfect way to become compassionate.
Although her dad and I had our huge differences and would later divorce, he had an enormous influence on me. He made sure I voted - and still do - and told me the importance of keeping abreast of what was going on in the world.
At dinner time, we always watched the news. On Feb. 6, 1974, the day before Sarah was born, the Hearst newspaper heiress, Patty, was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Few people remember this today.Wielding a shotgun, she participated in a bank robbery. She went to prison awhile, was released, and then married her bodyguard.
I remember my dad saying, "She was a love slave."
While we were in Texas, I signed Sarah up to participate in a baby study at the University of Texas. I knew Sarah was brilliant, even as a baby. She caught on so quickly to things. After all, she inherited the smart Greenwold brain and the brilliant Deming brain.
The psychologist who came out to our apartment in Austin positively bowed obsequiously when in Sarah's presence. She said Sarah was the smartest baby she'd ever met.
I had many nicknames for Sarah: Say - Say-sie Pie - Sarahlynn - and Saperday.
How proud I've always been to be her mom, as well as Daniel Paul Deming's. I got Dan's middle name while looking out the window at my mom's house in Huntingdon Valley, PA, and saw a white van in Bonnie and Dr Bill Cassidy's driveway, with the word "Paul" written on it.
Yes, Daniel Paul Deming. Sounded great. An unusual name.
I chose names that reflected our Jewish heritage. Mike came from Baptist roots from his fascinating East Texas family who were farmers. His Aunt Mae made Sarah a yellow baby quilt, which I still have.
Aunt Mae's quilt, a bit tattered and torn. I think I was the first Jew these East Crockett, Texans ever met. Mike's mom, Margie, still alive today at 91, was a remarkable woman, the only one of her five siblings who went to college. She became a counselor at a Houston junior high and was in favor of civil rights for blacks, gay people, and other disenfranchised Americans.
My kids come from good stock!
I have a glass coffee table and keep some pix of the kids under there. One of my postcards is on the left - "Letitia's Chamber at Pennsbury Manor," the home of Pennsylvania founder Wm Penn. We visited there at Ada's Outing. I collect postcards and Sarah will receive her birthday postcard a day late, as well as her fantastic gift which we'll keep secret.
When I was 38 yrs old, the age Sarah is now, I had my first manic-psychotic episode, and was confined for three horrible days to then-Bldg 16 on the grounds of Norristown State Hospital in PA. I was taken there by the Upper Moreland Police Department.
Bipolar disorder or manic-depression, as it was called back then, is a treatable illness, helped by medication, therapy and lifestyle changes.
I did some really crazy things witnessed by my kids but hopefully they've forgiven me.
Here's the latest edition of my 'book' - Yes I Can.
The love of my children has always been my first priority. On account of them I led a responsible life, always working, first, at the Intelligencer newspaper in Doylestown, and then as a psychotherapist at two agencies.
When lithium ruined my kidneys, I discovered the bipolar had vanished for good!
What a gift, not to worry about that any more.
And, of course you know that last year - on April Fool's Day, 2011 - Sarah Lynn donated her left kidney to me. "Odysseus" is happily residing in my lower right abdomen and Sarah herself, a former Golden Gloves amateur boxing champion, novelist, writer for the Threepenny Review, wife of Ethan Iverson, is doing gr-reat!
Infinitely sad, the death of Sarah and Dan's father, the brilliant Millard Grove Deming, Senior City Planner in Ardmore, OK.
Here's Sarah Lynn with Pierre the Goose, a gift from Dad.
I couldn't wish for a better daughter. Read what she's doing next on her blog.