The Birth of a Goose

Some people may think that Mother Goose hatched out of an egg. Well, today is the birthday of Mother Goose, and I will tell you the true story of how it happened so long, long ago…

It was the coldest winter on record, December of 1958, in Hackensack, Minnesota. At night, the temperatures were dropping down to -30 degrees F. Knowing that the car might not start when it was time to go to the hospital and knowing that I could arrive at any time, my dad would bring his car battery into the house at night so that it wouldn’t freeze up. They had been expecting me to be delivered around Thanksgiving time, but two weeks had gone by before I decided it was time for my grand appearance.

Baby, it's cold outside.

Dad hooked up the car battery, and helped Mom into the car. It was a forty-eight mile trip from Hackensack to the hospital in Brainerd. The roads were ice-covered and slippery, and they had to drive slowly. I’m guessing that Mom may have been a little impatient with Dad on that long drive…but eventually they arrived at the maternity ward.

Greetings from St. Joseph's Hospital in Brainerd, Minnesota

Mom got checked into her room, and it was not a pretty hotel room like they have today in the mother – baby centers of our modern hospitals. It had metal beds and no soothing music, no pretty pictures on the wall. Of course, there was no sound proofing between rooms, so whilst my mother was going through her thirty-something hours of labor, she also had to endure the screams and howls and threats and yodels and cursing of other women going through their own labor ordeals. She had no contact with Dad (which maybe was a good thing…), no breathing exercises to help her work through the waves of pain, no soft-spoken midwife at her side. Just Nurse Ratchet and a bevy of nurses popping in every hour or so to check her progress.

"Are you ready to deliver that baby yet?"

Of course, in 1958 fathers were not welcomed into the labor and delivery rooms — imagine all those chain-smoking expectant dads sitting around waiting for the good news about what kind of a baby their wives had delivered. Imagine my dad’s surprise when the doctor came out, shook his hand and congratulated him on the birth of his baby goose.

Standard operating procedure in those days involved an extended stay at the hospital for both the new mother and the new baby. So Mom and I were guests at the hospital for seven days, and then Dad came and got us.

I’m sure that I was a handful of joy — just a pure bundle of fun for Mom and Dad. I was their first baby. Of course, I was colicky. Of course, I had diaper rash all over my body. Of course, I wasn’t breast-fed because that was considered “savage, if not downright animalistic” so Mom had to be making her own formula daily. And after I was a couple weeks old, she added pablum to my diet because I was such a hungry goose.

In fact at tender age of six weeks, I’ve been told that I looked like a six-month old child. Perhaps the formula and pablum were mixed a little too richly? Perhaps geese grow more quickly than regular people? Perhaps it was my generous feather and down covering which made me appear quite round and plump?

Mother Goose would like to thank Mom and Dad for making me, for delivering me into this world, for feeding me and changing all my cloth diapers and for raising me to believe that fairy tales and nursery rhymes do come true.

Happy Birthday to me! and a day of blessings to you!

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 77,493 honks to date

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