Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mom's Haley Family Memories, part 13: Baby Kevin arrives in 1961

1961, Baby Kevin arrives to make the family "odd!"
vs "even" that is!
Okay, sorry this is taking me so long. There is so much going on here this summer, keeps me really busy, but it is good for me to be active. Now I've made myself sit down and make some notes about Kevin's birth and early life.   

Kevin was born on May 5, 1961 the same day that the astronaut Alan Shepard went into space. It was quite exciting as he was a boyhood friend of our friend Bob Dion. 

(Until this moment I never knew that! Dang! If I HAD known that Mr. Dion KNEW Alan Shepard I would have certainly asked a slew of questions about that back when I had the chance. Too late now; Mr. Dion died not long after I last saw him in 1998.)
Chunky baby Kevin. He was smarter than he looked!
Anyway, I started into labor that morning but I wanted to see Alan Shepard safely land in the ocean. So as soon as he splashed down I told your father it was okay to take off for the base (about 15 miles away). We did get there in plenty of time and Kev arrived about 5 hours later.  

At the time we were living in the trailer park near the town of East Holden Maine as every person in our entire unit came to Dow Air Force Base all at once to set up a new Air Defense Unit there.  (The Cold War between the US and the USSR was in full bloom back in the early 1960s). Because so many of us at one time descended onto Dow Air Force Base there wasn't enough housing in town or at the base so we lived in a trailer out at the park about 15 miles south of the base. 
After Kevin was born we spent another year and a half in the trailer park. During that time I became PG again with Gail. During that summer when he must have been 20 months or so we would all go to the beach at the small lake at the back of the park (It was called “Mud Lake,” one of many by that name in Maine). I was talking to the other moms and keeping an eye on the little ones and Gene was on the other side of the dock talking with the guys.  Kevin must have decided he would join his brother and sister, who of course were taller than he, and he took off into the deeper water. Someone yelled that he was in trouble and Dad jumped over the dock and got to him just in the nick of time. Gene got him out of the water gasping and coughing and saved him from drowning. Oh my gosh, what a scare! Realizing that we had almost lost him I had tried to reach him but wasn't quick enough—SO thankful that Gene was much faster than me.  
Mom, Aunt Helen, Uncle Jim
Phil, Grandma Haley, Uncle Joe
Little Kevin and Mary Kay
As a baby Kevin was a very happy easy going guy. Because he wasn't a fussy eater I guess I fed him a little more because he was so happy to eat.  He had a great sucking need and would finish the bottle really fast and then keep on sucking, until the nipple popped right back into the bottle inside out.   At that time I wasn't keen on pacifiers but I gave in when I saw his need and gave him one.
MK, Gail, Kevin, Phil
As I said he was very easy going and didn't turn over until he was over 2 months.   He was happy just to watch Phil and Mary Kay.   The two of you did all the talking for him so he didn't feel he needed to get attention that way.    He was over two years old when he started talking and then it was in full sentences—no baby talk at all. I don't recall him doing much crying.   That was actually good for me as I had my hands really full with three of you.
At Grandpa Spear's cottage
Kevin is 6 here

I must tell you about Kevin during the time we went through “The Great Snow Storm” which was after we had already moved into base housing. There were many many pics taken of the "Great Snow Storm" and after the pic reel was filled Dad changed the film load in the camera and put the pic cartridge up on the high desk shelf until he could get out to the Base Exchange (BX) to have them developed. Curious Kevin must have seen him put it up on the shelf and when I was busy with our newest addition, Gail.  He pushed the chair up to the desk and climbed up, curious about what was in the package. He opened it, pulled out the cartridge and proceeded to pull out the film.   Soooo…   we have no pics of the storm of a lifetime in Bangor.   
In San Antonio Texas, about 1968
Kevin was ALWAYS curious and after watching Gene work on our TV changing the power vacuum tubes the next day he thought he would do what Daddy had done and proceeded to break off the tubes because he didn't know how to pull them out. He looked over where the TV was plugged into the wall and tried to pull the plug and only managed to pull it a little loose. Then he saw a penny on the table and set it on the plug inserts. Of course that shorted out the plug and it exploded with a loud ZAP. We all ran in from the kitchen to see our little guy’s black face and fingers. Actually, between the near drowning and electrocution we are very fortunate to still have a live Kevin aren't we?
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His High School photo, graduated in 1979
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1980. Kevin is home on leave not long after he joined the air force
Lita Spear, Kevin, Tom Spear, Uncle Nelson, Roger Spear
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Kevin with his two kids, Lindsey ad Kyle
Phil is home for a visit from the Philippines in 2007
Gail, Kevin, Phil, MK
Mom and Dad