In the 1950s and ‘60s those stories zeroed in on the Blizzard of ‘49. Mom often told how food ran so low, all she and Dad had to eat was a gallon can of peaches for one whole week that winter.
Then she’d go on to tell how I came to be. Mom was a town girl and lonely stuck out in the country by herself all day. Dad was in the field or out doing chores from before dawn till after the cows were milked at night. God planned for me to be born between blizzards in the spring.
Mom suffered from toxemia while she carried me in the latter months, so swollen Dad’s overalls wouldn’t fit.
At the time of my birth, Mom and Dad lived in a rented farmhouse close to my dad’s home place near Orchard, Nebraska. I learned the driveway was a long one, about a half mile from the road, and impassable by car or truck.
She sewed her own dresses, and it was a dress she wore at the imminent birth. The old Oliver tractor was the only vehicle to make it over frozen ruts between mountains of snowdrifts.
In labor, in a dress, and in the relentless north wind, Mom stood on the back of that tractor. My elders are gone now, so I can’t ask if there was a car at the end of the lane, or if Dad drove the tractor long miles to Grandpa Mosel’s house.
I arrived a few hours later at the hospital in Norfolk. Mom got not only me, but also frostbite on her legs.