"William Lawrence or Elizabeth Jane,
Every baby must have a name.
But what can it be? We're in a whirl.
Is it a boy or is it a girl?"
These are the words that began the birth announcement sent out sixty-eight years ago announcing the joyful news that my little sister was born. My dad wrote the verses he sent to friends and colleagues that the long-awaited baby had arrived.
Original calculations predicted this baby's birth in late June of 1945. Imagine everyone's concern and frustration when June and then July passed and my mother continued to grow and wait. I was eleven. My brother Bruce had just celebrated his thirteenth birthday on August 2 and Mom still waited for signs that our baby would make his/her appearance and the riddle would be solved.
"Patiently waiting, buying clothes and toys.
At that age it doesn't matter whether girls or boys.
Is it Billy Larry, or is it Betty Jane?
Who? What? When? What is the baby's name?"
America was in a war, with the whole nation involved in the war effort: collecting scrap metal, paper, and fat; using ration cards for shoes, tires, meat, and more; buying up Victory stamps and bonds. The war in Europe had ended in the Spring, but the war in the Pacific was still to be won. Then on August 6, 1945, the U.S. military dropped the first atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan, and three days later dropped another on Nagasaki. The Japanese Empire surrendered a week later ending the war.
Between the two bomb drops, my mother finally delivered the baby she had been carrying--a girl--Elizabeth Jane Marcus.
Happy birthday, dear little sister. Many happy returns of that welcome day of your birth.
Love, Big Sister Lee