Happy birth-giving day Peggy Jo

It’s taken 57 years to finally dawn on me that the person we should be toasting with chocolate fudge cake and a scoop of Graeter’s Ice Cream on April 19 is my mom, the former Peggy Jo Fey.

She’s the one who popped me out into this old world not even 11 months after giving birth to my brother Mike.

This sibling proximity stunned the Fey family, where generations of mothers gave birth to exactly two children precisely five years apart.

Amand and Estelle Fey (my great-grandparents) had Irving and, five years later, they had Robert (my grandpa). And then they declared their family complete.

Irv and his wife Thelma had Shirley and then, right on schedule, they had Jerry five years later. And they were done.

Robert and my grandma Dorothy Fey had my mom and then, five years later, my Aunt Doris. Another Fey family complete.

So, when my mom had two kids within one year, I’m sure her relatives wondered how their feisty little tomboy would handle it all.

Then, as noted on the patriarchal paperwork certifying my birth, there was the issue of my dad’s employment as a professional football player for the Green Bay Packers. In 1964, the year I was born, the Packers drafted defensive end Lloyd Voss in the first round. This meant my dad trotted off to training camp that year with the added pressure of holding on to his starting position on the defensive line. (And, no one ever wanted to tell the Fey relatives that Peggy Jo’s husband had to make the team in order to collect his $8,750 salary. )

So, there was that.

In order for my dad to concentrate on keeping his job, and my mom to have help with their two little babies, everyone agreed that my mom should stay in my dad’s hometown of Colver, Pennsylvania that July and, off she went with Mike and me in tow. Though stressful and quite an adjustment for a big city girl, my mom remembers those weeks fondly. My dad’s cousin Jimmy was a paperboy back then and he would stop in every day to pick my brother Mike up, put him in the sack with his papers, and take him on his rounds.

As I’ve mentioned before, my dad grew up on the same street as several aunts, uncles, cousins and both grandmas. So, there were plenty of relatives around.

But, still, I think that time must have been incredibly stressful for everyone and I’m grateful to all of those relatives as well.

Today, though, I really want to thank my mom, who further messed up the Fey family formula by giving birth to two more children, my sisters Kathy and Jenny. She raised us all with a sense of adventure and fun.

I’m especially grateful that I’ll be able to celebrate with her today.

Happy birth-giving day, Mom.

This is my mom and me back in 1964. I’m obediently playing “So Big” with the camera person, while my mom takes a snooze. (Just kidding. She’s playing too.)
Back in 1964, one had to note the father’s occupation and employer on the birth certificate. My reads Professional Football Player and Green Bay Packers. The thing about listing that on your daughter’s birth certificate is, you have to keep making the team to make it true. That’s a lot of pressure for both parents.
And then there was the time my mom and my grandma took my brother Mike, me and our cousin Waynie to feed feral cats. Everyone seems kind of suspicious about the whole scene, except my mom, who is striking a pose. (Again, kidding about the feral cats. Apparently, we’re at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in this photo, taken by my dad. The real star of the photo are my mom’s gams and the spiffy shoes she’s wearing. I also love that she is color-coordinated with my grandma. Good lord I just realized I am older than my grandma was in this picture!
She took a couple years off after shocking the Fey family with my birth, but then my mom defied tradition again by having my sister Kathy. I am very grateful to be able to celebrate with Kathy today too.
Here is photographic evidence of the last time I curled my hair and poofed it while looking in the mirror. (Also, props to my dad for this cool camera angle.)
These days, my mom has 10 grandchildren, eight of whom are pictured with her here.
This is a terrible picture of me, but I still like it because we are on a train zooming through Malaysia and the wind is blowing our hair and I have to thank my mom for all of the really cool adventures we’ve shared.

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