59 Years After My Birth…a Reunion!
I was born in 1933 in the Muhlenberg Hospital, Plainfield, New Jersey, the youngest of 5 girls. Only 8 years separated me from my oldest sister and I guess my parents had given up making it a big deal by the time I came along.. This became apparent when my Aunt Emma, who lived in Brattleboro, Vt. recorded the event in her Diary like this: “Wed Feb 15, very pleas after awhile but foggy early, turned colder & quite cold this eve. Went over to Ida’s about 9 & she had just had a phone message from Jimmie saying Rith had just had her 5th girl, her name is Virginia. None of us knew anything about it.”
So, that was my introduction! Perhaps not too auspicious but I was thoroughly loved and pampered so I have no complaints. My older sisters always accused me of being spoiled but I think it was more that my parents were just plain tired by the time I came along…and they more or less left me to my own devices.
My father worked as a Production Manager in an Ad Agency in New York. He had many friends there and collaborated with one on an ad that was quite famous in it’s day. It was titled: “The Kid in the Upper Bunk” and showed a very young soldier on a Pullman train occupying the upper bunk. This was in the early 1940’s and it was commissioned by one of the railroads to demonstrate that the troops would be using the trains shortly and for the regular passengers to be considerate of that.
I tell this for a reason. In 1992, in Pinehurst, North Carolina I ran into an elderly gentleman with an unusual name that sounded oddly familiar. When I mentioned to him that my father (who had passed away in 1960) had a friend with the same name he couldn’t believe it. “Are you Jim’s daughter Virginia?” he asked and when I told him I was he just shook his head and then he floored me by saying: “I was at the hospital with your Dad when you were born!” Isn’t that amazing? He was the writer for the advertisement, “The Kid in the Upper Bunk” and, though quite a bit younger than my father, one of his closest friends.
I think it just goes to prove, once again, that real life can most certainly be stranger than fiction.