Say Your Name

Signature Name Tag

After enduring labor and childbirth three times I can appreciate the price of gasoline!

Good Friday fell on March 31st in 1961. In a small town in western Pennsylvania, the saying “in like a lion and out like a lamb” was holding true, with the high temperature near 40 degrees. Around 7 pm a light drizzle began to fall.

Sometime in the late afternoon a pregnant mother of one young son felt a familiar cramping.  She recognized it as labor pains, having experienced them only 19 months prior when her son was born. They arrived a week earlier than expected, but she was anxious to get the birth over with.

The first labor took close to 30 hours; most of that time spent in the hospital. She regretted leaving home too early and wasn’t about to repeat that mistake. Her preference was to remain at home for as long as possible; therefore, she didn’t call her husband at work. He would be home in plenty of time. 

Unlike before, the labor seemed to progress more quickly. She was grateful when her husband arrived by 7:00 to help her get ready for the trip to the hospital. He occupied their little son while she called to notify her mother and in-laws. She asked her mother to come about 9:00, since the pains were getting stronger.

However, around 8:30 a second phone call was made to the grandmother and she was told to come immediately. The speed and intensity of the contractions had picked up considerably and they knew they had to leave sooner than originally thought.

Grandma drove quickly to their apartment and they left at 8:50 for the short ride to the hospital. Much to the surprise of the laboring woman, the young father pulled into the gas station. 

Gas station

“What are you doing?” she asked between clenched teeth.

“The price of gas is going up tomorrow, so I wanted to fill the tank,” he replied. “It won’t take but a few minutes.”

When the attendant came to the window to collect the payment he asked if they also wanted the windows cleaned. At that moment the woman suffered an intense contraction that caused her water to break, which in turn caused her to scream. The attendant jumped back from the window with a frightened look as her husband hit the accelerator and sped away.

He dropped his wife off at the emergency entrance into the trusted hands of an orderly with a wheelchair. He drove on to the parking lot, found a spot, and decided to take the edge off of his anxiety with a quick smoke. As he lounged against the Chevy he heard screeching tires and watched as another vehicle careened into the parking area and disappeared around the corner of the building. Apparently, someone else was in a big hurry tonight as well!

Babies Nursery FINAL

That someone was the woman’s doctor, who barely made it to the delivery room for the arrival of the newborn daughter. By the time the father got up to the maternity ward his baby had been born. Those new parents were my parents: Louis and Barbara Ann. They took the “Lou” from my dad, the”ann” from my mom and put them together to make Luanne. They dropped the o from Lou, lowercased the a, and added a silent e at the end because, as my mom put it, it “looked better.” This was a woman who changed her wallpaper every three years, because it looked better, so I guess I’m lucky they kept me around! 🙂

It’s not a common name and it has several different spellings. You’ll never find anything personalized with this name unless it’s custom ordered. Which annoyed me, but made me feel “one of a kind.” I’ve always liked my name, probably because I didn’t know anyone else who had it. I also liked being named after both my mom and dad. 

Once I got older people started calling me Lu and Lulu. My proper name and nicknames always felt like a good fit. There are certainly things about me that I would improve and change, but my name isn’t one of them! 


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