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Waiting And Reunion
It’s now January of 1950, and I can hardly wait to hold our child in my arms. It’s such a comfort to feel it moving around inside me. So I thank God for that. I can’t help being thankful for Mom and Dad and the children’s help to fill my time, too, while I wait. Now we’ve just eaten supper, and the way the baby is moving inside me is altogether strange. “Mamma,” I say, “it feels like the baby may be coming soon.” Her eyes brighten and she and Dad move quickly to get me and my suitcase into the car. Then they drive me over to the hospital. I’m admitted, but after being examined, the doctor sends my parents home. “The baby probably won’t arrive until deep in the night,” he says. And after they leave, he gives me a sedative to calm me. It evidently relaxed me to sleep because I wake later to learn that I gave birth to a baby girl. The next morning my mother and father-in-law return, and one nurse mistakenly congratulates Dad. “Your wife just had a baby girl!” Mom and Dad just chuckle and come to see me. Since I’m still groggy, they look in on my newborn and set off to wire Henry a

telegram. When I’m finally able to sit up, the nurses place my daughter in my arms. I touch the pink bow they’ve placed in her pitch-black hair and think, she’s such a beautiful, fat little thing. Now everyone here can’t seem to get enough of her. They admire how precious she is. > The baby’s back again, and I’m so glad to see her. This time, the nurses ask, “What will you name her?” “Evangalene Fay Miller,” I return, so that’s exactly what they print on her birth certificate. > I’ve been in the hospital for five days, and it’s time for Mom and Dad to take me home. Once we step through the door, Evangalene senses she’s in a new place and begins crying. She cries on through most of the day and the night, too. 275 So almost everybody takes turns picking her up. They walk with her up and down the floor.

It seems to help, and I’m surprised but happy when Dad steps in to take a turn, too. > The girls are so excited and sure love the baby. They help me so much since the first day I brought Evangalene home. But they can’t seem to get enough of her. And I don’t think the baby can get enough of them either because she seems to enjoy their holding her often. So whenever they’re here, Evangalene is only down when I’m feeding her. I’ve decided to breast-feed my baby because others tell me it’s healthier. Then I don’t have to worry about giving the baby cod liver oil and such. She’s getting all the nutrients required from me, so I thank God that I’m producing all the milk she needs. > Now that February is here, Mr. and Mrs. Sadler have come to see me again. Mom and Dad notified them that my baby arrived, so they’re here to see for themselves. They’ve even brought a gift, a little dress for her. It was so nice of them to do that, I think, they’ve come to see me because they love me, and they’re glad the baby is healthy. So Mrs. Sadler tells me that if I need anything at all, just let them

know. They’ll be happy to help in any way possible. “We hope to see Henry home with you soon, too.” > Well, Dad just loves the baby. As soon as he arrives from work, she seems to be the first person he wants to see. That is, after Mamma, of course. The girls are the same way, too. They come home from school and drop their books to look for the baby. They want to hold her right away. It makes me happy to know that they love her so that they give her all the attention she needs and more. So I’m glad that little Evangalene has brought light to everybody. Even Melvin asks to hold her now and then whenever she’s not asleep. One time he made us all laugh because he asked Dad what he must do to be a grandpa, too. 276 Dad gently explained the way it all comes about, so I assume Melvin’s curiosity was satisfied because he left it at that. > Mom is wonderful to have taught me how to properly diaper my baby. Of course, she had me practice some on the girls’ play doll before Evangalene was born so I wouldn’t stick her with pins. But with this

being new to me, for some reason I can’t take the sight of the diaper’s mess. So Mamma’s been changing her diaper each time that happens because I run to throw up. She laughs and says, “Child, you’re just going to have to get strong with this thing.” I know she’s right, so I attempt to do it on my own. But when I try turning my head away, it’s no good. I’ve got to see what I’m doing. > The days and months have gone by, and Easter holiday is nearly upon us. My mother-in-law tells me that we’ll be celebrating the time when Jesus Christ died on a cross to redeem his people from sin. She also boils eggs for the children because of the occasion. So Melvin and the girls and I decorate each of them with names and designs. Then they encourage me to make one for Henry and save it until he gels home. I ask them why. “How can we keep it fresh until then if we have no refrigerator?” The children giggle and tell me to place the egg outside where it’s cold.

> We’re counting the days until Henry arrives next month. As for now, the women from the church are coming to give me a baby shower. That kind of party is new to me. But while we wait, Melvin says, “Mamma, we’ve got to bring up the washtub because Florie’s gonna get a shower!” We laugh because he' s so sincere. He seems to think that the women are going to give me a bath or something. 277 Anyway, the ladies arrive, and I’m overwhelmed with thankfulness to God that they’re showing such an expression of love. I can see that they help each other. So I hope I can return the kindness they’re showing me someday. > My husband is due to arrive any day now, so we’re all excited and preparing for his return. And I keep thinking about Henry’s recent letter in which he asked me not to let the girls spoil the baby. My young sister-in-law, Geralene, had told me, “Ha! we’ll show him.

He’s not going to tell us what we can do or cannot do.” So I’m thinking, uh-oh, I hope they don't argue when Henry gets here because of his restriction. I don’t think that they’ll appreciate that much. So I hope he won't be so hard on them by as not letting them play with Evangalene because they love that baby so. > Today, my husband comes home! And Mamma and I get more excited by the minute as we wait for Dad to bring Henry from the train station. She’s playing solitaire on her bed while I’m in the rocking chair with the baby. I’m trying hard to calm myself, but it’s not easy since it’s surely going to be a big event for everyone. Finally, we hear the car coming over the hill, so we move to the window. Then I lay Evangalene to sleep in the bassinet before Mamma and I run out the front door. And after we go down the steps, Mamma stops. “You go on ahead first, Florie.” So I fly across the front lawn with my arms outstretched to meet Henry. I hug him tight because I’m so happy to see him home as a family again. Then I say, “Come on! Mamma.” She now comes to embrace her son and whisper, “I love you, Junior.”

Then she leads Dad indoors to leave us alone in the yard. And since we’re both overjoyed to be reunited, we just keep looking to each another. Now Melvin comes out from hiding. But it appears he doesn’t know what to make of his older brother because he’s not so familiar with him. Henry’s been away since he was quite small, so this is like meeting a stranger. I hope that eventually they’ll be able to spend quality time together. Maybe Henry can play with Melvin as a big brother. I don’t know. 278 They have such a difference in age. But to me, that shouldn‘t matter. It‘s just a point of putting one’s mind to do it. Well, everybody has arrived home from school and work now, but I already hear some grumbling from the girls. Henry has told them not to handle Evangalene so often lest she gets spoiled. So they’re disappointed because they want to be able to play her. Anyway, I’m thinking about what Mamma said before Henry arrived. She told me that my attention would now have to be divided between both my husband and our child. It’s important that I remember not to put more time into one than the other.

I didn’t know that this is the way it should be. I just assumed that after the baby arrived, all the attention was meant to go to her. Now I sense my poor husband wishes to be alone with me and our child, but he can’t possibly ignore the family’s desire to be with him at the same time. He’s also tired from his trip and would like to go to bed as soon as possible. So already I notice some impatience, which he never displayed while we were overseas together. And of course, he and I have a lot to catch up on, but I’m trying to learn to share my husband with the family. After all, they were first in his life. So I shouldn’t ignore that. I must not be selfish because it’s proper for him to give as much attention to everyone else as he’s giving to me and our little girl. But when the time comes to rest, my poor sister-in-law, Helen, is driven into the other room to sleep on the couch for the night. We’ve invaded her room and taken over her bed. > Evangalene’s been so precious. She’s beginning to sleep more at night and take naps during the day. She also gives such a sweet smile that no one can help but to pick her up. But of course, we’re each trying to be careful about that so she won’t be too spoiled. >

Henry’s not out of the service yet, but he does have a 30-day furlough with us. But he’ll be stationed at Andrews Field near Washington, DC, so he can come home every weekend. That’s not as bad as if we couldn’t see him at all. I just thank God that he’ s home in the States now and not so far away. All of us can live with that. We missed him so often while he was overseas. 279 And now that he’s home, I hope we can plan our future together. He wants to attend college to become an engineer. So after time, we may have to move to wherever he decides to go. > Andrews Field is nearly fifty miles from here, so it’s about the same distance that Henry had to travel between Clark Field and Manila in the Philippines. We’re thankful that he’s close enough to commute each weekend. And though it’s still hard to be separated, nothing compares with the length of time I was here without him. But we’re fortunate that Evangalene is healthy and full of energy. And we can both enjoy watching her grow into a big girl. And my time is well spent caring for her and playing with Melvin.

He often asks me to take him fishing at the nearby creek, so I’m happy to do it. > It’s Monday, the twenty-seventh of June, and Henry’s finally about to be discharged from the Air Force. His discharge date fell on Sunday, which held him over until today for his actual separation from service. So the baby and I have come with him to Washington, DC to pick up his final paperwork. When we arrive we learn that a war broke out yesterday in Korea. The military tried hard to persuade him to stay in, but we have other plans for the future of our family. So I thank God for blessing us with His protection. Otherwise, Henry would have been frozen like the others. I can only ask God to forgive us forever taking His guidance for granted. I also ask that He forgive our inability to grasp His wonderful love for us. 280

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