76. Serving Up Baby #3

My wife’s mother Susan had been visiting on this lovely Thursday afternoon, the day before Amar’s 3rd birthday.  Susan was taking her leave and already out to her car when Diana discovered her mother had left something behind.  Diana went hurriedly out after her.

Well, most likely this brought her to feel contractions and she was sure the baby was on its way.  Susan brought Diana back into the apartment and said to me, “Son, I do believe we have a situation here.  Looks like Diana is going into labor!”  

Immediately we scrambled to grab a few things for her and rushed out to our white Rambler so we would get to the emergency at St John’s Hospital; our go-to local hospital and fortunately just over a mile up the road.

Susan of course stayed back with her two grandchildren.  What good fortune that she was still there!  

As it all happened the contractions were noted as a false alarm.  There were more goings-on while I was downstairs at the Admissions desk.  The obstetrician who watched over Diana’s 3rd pregnancy was scheduled to leave on his vacation the very next day and therefore suggested to Diana to let him induce her labor.  

He felt she was close enough to her due date anyway.  I found this all out later on.  Now I was still filling out the paperwork when our 3rd child entered this world.  The admissions lady who was helping me with filling out said paperwork got a phone call.  

She hung up rather quickly and immediately said to me, “Congratulations!”  

‘What happened?’ I asked her, surprised.  She looked at me rather startled that I should ask, what?  Then she smiled and with a little laugh said, “Your wife just gave birth to a son!”  She then told me, as soon as we finished the documents I could go up to see them both.

It was actually a bit of a time before I was able to go up to the maternity floor.  ‘I’ve been blessed with another son!’ I thought to myself with this very warm and generous feeling in my heart, one of immense gratitude in fact as I made my way up to the nurse’s station for direction to my wife’s room.  

When I arrived at her room I paused in the doorway for a moment looking at Diana in the bed with a giant smile across her face.  She pointed to him and I walked over to give her a kiss first.  

Then over to feast my eyes upon the newest addition to our family.  He was swaddled up like a papoose and in his little baby bed near to Diana.  Another precious son with lots of hair was waiting to meet me.

I looked at her again and said, ‘So fast?’ and she laughed a bit weakly and then said, “He couldn’t wait, you’ll have to take it up with him.”  After the nurse clearly identified me as the father, she lifted him up and handed him to me.

I held him with great joy and kissed his forehead.  ‘Nice to meet you my son.’ After a few moments in adoration, I sensed I should hand him over to his mother.  I thought he probably wanted to be close to where he just came from.  Makes sense right?

We talked proudly for a little bit and then she had something else she wanted to tell me.  It was about the delivery and what happened before our son was actually born.  Diana relayed to me about the false alarm and then the induced labor process.  She continued the narration by telling me something quite disturbing.

Diana told me she had become a bit conscious even with the anesthesia, right in the middle of the delivery and while not really feeling any movement she heard the delivery room staff talking in a bit of a frantic tone and the doctor’s voice saying, “Let the mother go, save the baby!”  

I cannot begin to describe how that caused me to feel.  We shared some heartfelt words between us.  Then I told her I should be getting back to the kids.  “I’ve got to let mom know that you’re all right and that she’s been blessed with third grandson!’  I kissed the both of them again.  

Diana of course agreed and added, “And the kids need to know they have a new baby brother and that the both of us will be home soon!”  Still holding on to that gratitude and love, I said good night and with one final glance in their direction for the evening, I headed back home to my other two children and their grandmother Susan.

Celebration to be sure and especially in light of the close-call which I decided not to say anything to Susan; I thought it best to let Diana tell the events to her mother herself.  Susan was joyed and the kids showed their excitement.  

🍾 I opened a nice cold bottle of champagne, 🥂 frosted glasses for all four of us.

Susan and I toasted with the bubbly and the two kids with their ice cold chocolate 🥛 milk.  ‘I’ll take all of you to the hospital to meet them tomorrow.  And then we’ll name your baby brother!  Right now we will toast in happiness and gratitude.’

Susan stayed over that night.

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75. Cry Baby, Cry!

1963 – it was in the beginning of October when we discovered Diana was once again with child.  Thankfully I was still working at the Hotel Miramar and this, so close to home.

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One day our landlord informed us of our (one and only) neighbor making complaints to him, about us.  To be exact the man next door said there was too much noise coming out of our apartment. Really?

He said our neighbor stated, “The children are always screaming, the baby’s crying and I can’t get any sleep, they keep me up all night!”  What?  

I looked at Diana, she at me, we then looked at him and both said in surprise, “The baby’s not even here yet!”  The owner assured us he knew what the man complained wasn’t entirely true.

“I can see that your baby is still baking,” gesturing with his hand towards Diana’s belly, he spoke with a smile of confirmation.  He also told us he knew the man enjoyed the drink rather a bit much.

Diana spoke up as any defending mother would, “I promise you our kids are very well-mannered.  They play quietly for the most part, more so than most anyway.”

Once more in agreement the landlord said, “We have not heard your kids screaming at any time.  Of course children will make noises and occasional squeaks. We all know this.  My wife and I have the impression this man isn’t completely stable.  It’s rather sad.  We were hoping he’d always just live quietly in his own space and mind his own business.”

And that’s probably exactly what this man was trying to do but the little squeaks and occasional louder squawks were possibly not doing him any favors.  We’ll never know.

More curious than ever and fueled by the knowledge that our neighbor was not pleased with us, we’d look out in his direction more often.

I’m sure you can understand why.  After what my family and I recently experienced at the Pico apartment, there was a slight hovering factor of uncertainty.

This man lived alone and never really seemed to come out of his apartment.  He was an older German man, tall and of medium build.  Diana being home more than I told me that whenever she saw him which was rarely, he always wore his large military coat, even in the heat of summer.  

Diana said she wondered how he ever got food into his apartment as she never saw him bringing up any groceries, nor was it noticed that anyone visited.

Well, now that you know what I know of the back story we’ll get to the interesting part.

It wasn’t long after the landlord spoke to us when one day this man came to my front door and started pounding severely on it.  It didn’t even start off as a friendly little knock.

You know the kind, pounding which suggests, “Hey it’s getting a bit loud over here.  Would you mind keeping the little brats quiet?” or something to that effect.

No gradual escalation, just straight up violent.  Of course Diana didn’t open the door … he’d go away.  Then about 2 weeks later, wherein he had done this same thing a couple more times, we’d had enough and placed our own complaint with our landlord; this was becoming a very uncomfortable situation.

It was the wee early hours of the morning when I was startled awake by what sounded very much like a gunshot.  No one came busting in through our door or windows so I wasn’t too concerned and fell back asleep.

It was about 9:30 in the morning, we were up of course, when we heard a serious pounding on the neighbor’s front door and apparently after no answer, the sound of something being busted.  

I’m saying it was the front door being kicked in.  Shortly after that there was a serious knock on our door.  It was the Santa Monica police asking us if we heard or saw anything during the night.  I told them I thought I heard something like a gunshot.

Not much later, two detectives came to us and asked a few questions.  It turns out this neighbor of ours wrote a final note, took his Luger pistol and ended his own life.   What?

A terribly sad thing about all of this -aside from the tragedy itself-  is that his note stated he couldn’t take the noise of the crying baby any longer.  Our son and daughter were 3 and 2 years of age at this time.

Diana and I both witnessed the sheeted body being brought out of the apartment, not giving us a good feeling at all.  And then it happened.

The man’s body must’ve not been securely strapped on to the gurney because as the coroner’s staff started down the steps, to our and everyone else’s horror, the body slipped right out of their control and completely off the gurney.  

It was surreal almost, seeing the corpse in a bit of a rigid state, as it tumbled down the stairs.  Just try to picture the scramble which took place right afterwards and so I’ll leave it to your imagination.

Suddenly Diana burst out into a hysterical and seemingly uncontrollable laughter.  It must’ve been a whammy, what else?

While there weren’t any immediate neighbors, the ones in close proximity were chatting away after the fact.  Diana spoke for a few moments with them.

Naturally the police had asked them too if there was anything noticeable about the man, providing any clues to his state of mind.  One person said they were aware that he seemed to always be upset.  

He briefly spoke to that person at some point saying, he was upset by his neighbor’s crying baby.  He said he couldn’t sleep at night.  This person said they told the man to look at Diana’s belly and he’d see for himself that the baby hasn’t been born yet.

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74. Really, What Do the Stars Have Planned Next For Us?

I opened the door to see a couple of smiling police officers.  They were there to gather our information to make their incident report.  They informed us we may have to appear in court at some point.

The next day a nicely suited man came to our apartment to talk with us for a bit.  He actually said many sympathetic things including, Somebody was definitely looking out for you and your family.  Diana and myself couldn’t agree more with that statement.  

He also mentioned there had been complaints filed against this man in the past.  He shared it was felt this man wasn’t entirely stable.  The nice young detective also apprised us a little of this man’s past saying, he and his family had pulled up stakes out of the southern U.S. to settle here in California.  

The police would hold him for his hearing in 10 days.  “…looks like he’ll get a couple of years.”  For us it seemed there would be a few quiet days and nights ahead, thank goodness.

We spend one more Christmas at the Pico apartment building when we realised we’d have to make yet another move.  Things generally speaking were pretty good but as the rent increased my salary just wasn’t quite enough, at best it was about $350 monthly.  

Little did I know I was also about to switch jobs.  So I say we were very fortunate to find another nice apartment.  It was comfortable, affordable and closer still to the beach.  In fact we gained an extra bedroom; see how these things work themselves out.  It was on 4th street, west of Lincoln, still in Santa Monica, always in Santa Monica.

This place had a nice living unit on top of the owner’s garage which was divided into two rentable spaces;  a single unit and a family unit.  The owner of the property resided there as well but in the single family dwelling up in the front.

We had the larger of the 2 units and next-door to us was already residing a caucasian man, older than me to be sure but hardly a senior.  

Everything was good as we went about our daily lives; my going to work, the normal mother at home stuff for Diana and going out to the park and beach as often as possible with the kiddos and my wife.  We always enjoyed these outings, the kids loved it as much as we did.

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