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Chapter One

On December 12, 1947 at 1:30 a.m. at a Catholic Hospital in Lynwood, California, Jeffrey Rotan was born into this world. He weighed 10 pounds, 11 ounces. There were no birth complications. His mother and father were both 20 years old.

After several days in the hospital, his mother brought Jeffrey home to a brightly lit nursery in his parents’ home in Downey, California. The nursery had his toys and a teddy bear in it. His father would sit in a rocking chair and rock him to sleep. Then after Jeffrey fell asleep, his father would gently place him in his crib and join his wife in their bed.

Jeffrey would not sleep the whole night. His father Paul and his mother Miriam would take turns trying to get him to sleep. His first month, he woke up about ten times during the night.

The day began for Paul and Miriam at 6 a.m. It was necessary for Paul (Jeffrey’s father) to get up a little before 6 a.m. to get ready for work. They got up quietly so as to not wake up Jeffrey.

Miriam would fix Paul his breakfast and have her breakfast with him also. By 6:45, Paul was on the road to work. Paul worked as an assembler at a aircraft factory in El Segundo. He was responsible for the installation of nose wiring harnesses for large aircraft. Paul had been employed by this company for a long time and hoped to retire from it when he reached the appropriate age.

During the daytime, Miriam would take care of Jeffrey. He was sleeping 20 out of 24 hours after eight months of life. His mother would check him to see if he needed a diaper change or a bottle of milk. He had to have his diapers changed about ten times a day.

One day, while Miriam and Paul were talking, the thought of having Jeffrey baptized in their church came up. Since they were Catholic, he would have to be baptized in the same church. Miriam said, “I’ll call Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church and make arrangements.”

That afternoon, she called and set the date for the Baptism for the fifth of January.

The fifth of January came and that Sunday his parents, his aunt and uncle who would act as his sponsors all met at the church. They had Jeffrey dressed in a white baptismal gown. The priest Father David, met the family and the sponsors in the vestibule of the church at the appointed time. They were instructed by the priest to hold Jeffrey over the Baptismal Font while he performed the Baptism. He said, while pouring water over Jeffrey’s head, “Jeffrey, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” After the baptism was completed, he asked the family and the sponsors to come to the Church Rectory where he signed the Baptismal Certificate. He also entered the Baptism into the Church record. He gave Jeffrey’s parents a beautiful for them to keep. It was made in the shape of a card. On the front cover, it had a picture of the Church and on the inside it had a verse from the Bible from John 3:16 which states in part, “Do all things in Christ.” On the right hand inside it stated Jeffrey’s name, his parents name, the names of his sponsors. It also had the date and the priest’s signature. Afterwards everyone in attendance went back to the Rotan’s for an early supper.

Beginning in May, Miriam started taking Jeffrey out for walks in his stroller. He would still be sleeping while outdoors with his mother. He also started being awake for eight hours out of twenty four.

In June, the doctor recommended that they start to feed Jeffrey some juice and vegetables that were soft. He recommended the Gerber brand.
August, 1948

Jeffrey was awake ten hours out of twenty fours. He had a hard time at night. His father, Paul still had to walk with Jeffrey at night to get him to sleep. His mother each afternoon would take him still for a walk in his stroller. He would open his eyes while on these stroller excursions with his mother.
December 12, 1948

After almost one year of life, Jeffrey celebrated his first birthday. It was celebrated on the 12th not the 19th due to Christmas. His mother and father gave him a book and some toys. All of his relatives were there also. Instead of cup cakes there was a cake with one candle on it. Jeffrey while sitting in his high chair blew out the candle on the first try. His relatives were amazed as to what Jeffrey was doing. He was awake most of the time that they were there. His relatives gave him a storybook, a toy rattle, a sweater and a cap.

During his second year of life, Jeffrey became slightly more active. He started obeying his parents who told him that he had to sit in a high chair to eat. He didn’t like sitting in it. He began to walk and make lines on paper with crayons. He also gained control of his bowel and bladder. He also repeats a few words that he hears. He continued to improve. He also began sitting in a chair that he was strapped into to watch some TV.

One night before going to sleep, Miriam and Paul were discussing there life together. Paul brought up the idea of having more children. They both thought of having two more if at all possible. Then they thought that the two more would make three.

Paul then said, “I think that we can afford three. But only time will tell. We will have to think about it. Next month, I’m being promoted to Foreman. It will mean more responsibilities and more money.”

Miriam then exclaimed, “Paul, I’m glad for you too. You deserve it. I love you. To celebrate it, I’ll fix you breakfast in bed tomorrow morning. Would you like that?”

“Miriam! I would like that. Also we’ll leave Jeffrey with my parents and go to a restaurant to have dinner tomorrow night. We’ll go to the same one we went to on our first date.

“I’d like that.”

“I love you! Miriam.”

Paul carried her to the bedroom where they made love and afterwards fell fast asleep until the next morning.
1079 words

Glen Mayberry-Writer

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