The phone rang early on that Sunday morning in the Pratt home in Flint, Michigan with a long-distance call from Saginaw – about 40 miles away. When Gram answered, Dad simply said, “Happy Mother’s Day”. Her immediate response was, “What is it?” “It” was a long, skinny baby girl with dark hair who was soon named Lynnette.
At 9 pounds, 9 ounces and 21 1/2 inches long, I was big and healthy. However, during my first months of life, I was plagued with digestion problems and couldn’t tolerate regular formula. Following the doctor’s orders, my parents fed me a smorgasbord of concoctions in an attempt to find something that my system could “stomach”. In the mid 1950’s, commercially produced formula wasn’t widely available – even for babies without stomach problems. So whatever they tried didn’t come in a can, but was mixed by my mother in her own kitchen and then poured into sterilized glass bottles that she stored in the refrigerator. That must have been a chore for her. I have vague memories of Mom mixing formula for my younger siblings using evaporated milk, water and some corn syrup. Horrors!
Projectile vomiting was my routine after every feeding, and my parents soon learned to never burp me while I was facing them. After weeks or maybe months of trial and error during which time my dad regularly carried my stool sample to the hospital for evaluation (talk about a father’s love!), I think they finally found some soy formula that I could handle. After following that regimen for several months, the doctor was still somewhat concerned when I weighed only 17 pounds at 1 year. However, after a few more months of growth along with solid food I began to put on a little weight and before long was measuring in the “normal” range. Oh, to be plagued with an inability to gain weight now!
I was the third child in the family. David, born 20 September 1951, was not yet three and Yvonne, born 9 September, 1952, was not yet two. In September of that year when I was about four months old, Dad returned to Michigan State at Lansing to finish his Master’s Degree. So Mother was left alone (remember this house?) with three little children and no car during the week – Dad came home only on the weekends.
My mother was a strong woman. Thanks for the great example!