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.