Monday, July 02, 2012

Something Twenty-One Mamaroneck Avenue

The house I was "born in" was on Mamaroneck Avenue. I don't recall precisely its number; I seem to remember hearing it as something ending in "twenty-one". Perhaps it was 421. There is no easy way to tell now: the house itself is gone and snapshots of it don't show the number.

And whether I was really born in it or in a hospital, I don't know either. At some point in her life, my mother became a Christian Scientist. Was that before or after I was born? I don't know. Did becoming a Christian Scientist lead her to take a stand against going to hospitals at all, even for having a baby? I don't know. I do know that when I was in elementary school, I was amazed at how many of my classmates - by their own accounts - had been born in either Stamford Hospital or Greenwich Hospital. What a lot of kids must have had something wrong with them to be born! I was sure then that it had not happened to me, for if it had, I would have heard about it. (I'm not so sure now. My mother was extraordinarily reticent about such matters.) I used to hear my mother speak of Dr. Marsland (the family doctor) and Miss Edmunton (the public health nurse); but whether I was OB'd in a hosptal or midwived at home I have no idea.

I was five years old when we moved away from Mamaroneck and came to Connecticut, leaving New York State for good. I remember nothing of the preparations for leaving or of why we were going to connecticut. I do remember my brother Tom's talking about the new high school he would be attending, and we joked about its name - Greenwich. He must have been told it was pronounced "Grin-itch", for I laughed when he first said the name, and I said (and kept repeating for our amusement) the word it immediately suggested: "spinach". In later years, after I had acquired a wider vocabulary through reading and listening, I realized how funny the name of Tom's former high school [was], suggesting as it did a dislocation of the cervical vertebrae. Mamaroneck did not have its own high school then, and the Mamaroneck students attended one in the neighboring town of Rye - more specifically, in the section known as Rye Neck. I have wondered whether anyone saw the humor in the name Rye (wry) Neck High School after a season of dislocating football injuries.
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