Birth on the Prairie

Lizzie’s tiny frame was barely able to hold the weight of a full-term babe as the time came to give birth there in that unseasonably warm (meaning not freezing) Nebraska winter night of 1900.  As she began the first urges toward birthing, her own howls mixed with those of ever-present January’s winds.  Together with her father, John, and her brothers John and Frank, and their neighbor Annie, a very strong, healthy boy was delivered into the candlelight.  She felt faint and the tears came slowly from the corners of her eyes as she fixed her gaze on the face of this tiny stranger.  He was early but not early enough for Lizzie.  Now all the pain, all the breathless and sleepless nights filled with discomfort and despair were over.  Now she had this tiny man to take care of and their plans to leave this wind-swept god-forsaken flatland was drawing near.  They named him Willie, after her Mother, Wilhelmina.

Lizzie’s Diary Entry (*):

The first 16 years of my life had been spent playing outside, helping father on the homestead, learning the ways of a farmer’s’ life.  I have no idea of how to take care of an infant, having lost my mother at an early age and the only girl in a house of male characters with no inkling of the domestic way of life.

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