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The Story Behind My Little Angel

The Story Behind My Little Angel

This is the story behind my poem My Little Angel.

This is the story surrounding the beginning of my family. I was born and raised in Central Massachusetts. My wife was born in Germany and came to this country as a displaced person from World War II. We grew up around the corner from each other and went to school together. I never dated her until I came back from serving my country during the Vietnam War.

We got married on June 5, 1970, in a small Quaker Meeting House. My wife had been raised a Quaker and I a Baptist. Both ministers officiated at the ceremony which was on a Friday night.

In late September of 1972 we conceived our first child. We did not know it at the time but it happened. Four months earlier we had moved from an apartment to one half of a duplex house. We had not done much to refurbish the interior. We had not planned to stay there very long.

I had started a new job earlier in the spring of 1972. It involved designing, building, installing and troubleshooting automated credit authorization systems. I would travel with the sales team to various large department stores in America to provide technical liaison.

I had acquired the uncanny ability to see a complex problem, analyze it and propose a workable solution. As part of my ability, I was able to explain the various problems and solutions in language the financial people understood (simple English).

In October of 1972 I worked with a team of engineers as the lead on a project to take an existing system and increase its capacity without harming its daily operation. I was extremely familiar with the software involved and could change things while the system was running with no impact.

The system was in the Joseph Horne Department Stores in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Another software engineer and I travelled to Pittsburgh for a six week visit to perform the upgrade. The second week we were there I called my wife to find out how she was and what was going on at home.

“Hello Cal. Guess what? I am pregnant and we have a puppy!” were the first words out of my wife when I called.

She had gone to the doctor and found out she was pregnant. We were very pleased with that. On the same day she got a young female beagle puppy we named Charly after the movie based on the book “Flowers for Algernon.” We were so happy and started making plans to change the junk room into the nursery.

Strange things started to happen as the pregnancy proceeded. Every time we would go to do something about the baby, it would never happen. We were ordering paint for the room. It was a special order. The paint was discontinued. We found another paint company but its plant burned down. The Fates were against us. We ordered wallpaper. The shipment got caught in a flood.

As time went on my work life became busier and busier. Due to my successes in turning around major customers I was in demand. I had taken a major customer whose system was well beyond upgrading and convinced them on paper it was less expensive over the long term to scrap what they had and buy a brand new system which could grow with them. This alone was a mufti-million dollar sale. The president of the company and the vice president of the company were quoted as saying, “We were in the board room of this major department store chain, through all the discussions there was always an undercurrent of sound. When Cal spoke which was never very often, the whole room was quiet. They hung on his every word. If he had not been there we would have lost this major deal.”

I was proud of that but it did not cut my workload. In fact it increased and I was travelling all over the US with sales and engineering teams.

During all this I was having an on-going internal battle which to this day I have never told anyone. I did not want to make any effort to build a nursery, buy furniture, and buy clothes and other baby things. My wife was very upset with me.

Here is what I knew and to this day I do not know how I knew. I knew:

1. We were going to have a baby girl

2. She would not live

3. She would be full term

It was an eerie thing to be so sure of this and not be able to tell the one person you love about it. I kept it secret for these 40 years. This September 2012 it was the 40th anniversary of her conception.

In June of 1973 my wife and I were taking birthing classes. The baby was due soon. We were at our class on a Thursday night, May 31. The class was just ending when my wife’s water broke. This was good. We were at the hospital for the class. They took her right up to Maternity and put her in a room. For the next 4 days my wife was in labor. On Sunday June 3, 1973 our first child, Lisa Mae, was born. She was full term and everything seemed perfect. I was holding her in my arms talking to her. She was looking in my direction and she smiled. She kept smiling. Then she died. My wife never saw her baby, never held her child. It is a pain I live with. There is nothing harder in this world to suffer than the loss of your child. Until you live it there is nothing that can be said to soften the blow.

My heart was torn in two. I had to tell my wife what happened. I had to go through the formal interment for burial of my child. These were two very difficult tasks. Fortunately my parents had purchased a family burial plot at a local cemetery. Lisa Mae was buried there. In 1982 she was joined by my father. In 1992 my mother joined them. So she is not alone any more. We now live in California and have not been back since 1992.

The redeeming part of the story is one year and three days later our second child was born. Her labor lasted 45 minutes. She was in a hurry to get here and has not slowed down since.

What is more fun when people ask my second daughter when she was born, she replies June 6. It just so happens that is the day after our wedding anniversary. Right away people look at us with questioning eyes. We say 4 years after we were married.

Now you can understand why I wrote the poem “My Little Angel.” To this day I get teary eyed in September remembering back to 1972. In the years that followed a cure was developed for what caused Lisa Mae’s death. Her spinal column had a blockage which did not allow the fluid from the brain to exit out of her body. The solution was to put a tight cotton cap on the infants head to exert pressure to unblock the column.

Also I have had many more times where I knew things were going to happen and kept quiet about it.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

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