Almost a half-century ago, on this very day, the woman pictured here had a baby. And that baby grew up to be me.

The above photo of my mom and dad, I’m told, was taken when my mother was about six months pregnant. So, according to WebMD, my skin would have still been transparent, and I would have just been starting to produce white blood cells to help fight disease and infection. My parents, as you can see, were terrifyingly young, but I guess that’s how they used to do it in Kentucky. [I don’t think I started having kids until I was the age that my grandparents were when I was born.]

I was born exactly at 3:11 PM, in Lexington, Kentucky, on February 11, 1968, right between the Detroit riots and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, just as everything in the world was going to shit.

Somewhere around this old house of ours is a cartoon I once drew of my birth after asking my mother about her memories of that day. If I feel ambitious next year, I’ll find it and post it. I don’t want to give it all away, but it was kind of terrible. My mom was completely unconscious and I was apparently pulled out of her with forceps. [My head is still misshapen.] Then, when she regained consciousness, and the nurses tried to hand me to her, she pushed me away, saying that she hadn’t had her baby yet… I guess that’s the way it was done in Kentucky in 1968… Not a great way to get started in life, but I’d like to think that I rebounded pretty well.

Anyway, happy birthday to me.

update: Since posting this, the photos have been pouring in. All of the following are apparently of me shortly after exiting my mother.

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  1. Jean Henry
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Your parents are cute. They did good. Happy Birthday Mark. I vow to be a kindler, gentler Jean to MM going forward. (You can hold me to that)

    You were reluctant to emerge; my head emerged screaming with such great urgency, there was no time for drugs. (This will surprise no one.) We do ok, considering. Keep up the good work. Glad you’re here.

  2. Dan Richardson
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Who is lurking in the doorway behind?

  3. Andre
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday, Mark! And really, your head isn’t *that* misshapen…

  4. Mika Yamamoto
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday! I was born in Murray, Kentucky in 1972 and my mother was also knocked unconscious.

  5. Posted February 11, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    The woman lurking was my grandmother, Dorothy Avery, who I just spoke with a few minutes ago. [She’s doing great.] That was the house where she and my grandfather lived. My mom lived with them while my father was serving in the Navy.

  6. Michelle McCambridge
    Posted February 11, 2017 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I so enjoyed this Mark. I’m a friend of your Mom. I’ve met you a few times over at their present house in Kentucky. (you tried to stay away from us!!) I was with “the bitches” as your Dad called us. I think he’s mellowed a bit after all these years. Your Mom can fill you in on the rest! By the way I think it’s great you’re going to stay with her after her surgery…she tells me you’ll take very good care of her because you can do it all!!!!

  7. Michele
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    Hey. Happy birthday dude. I’d like to send your mom some flowers for having you. Such a nice thing she did. :)

  8. wobblie
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    The VW bug back drop explains almost everything we need to know about why you are the way you are. Do you know if that is the car they brought you home in?

  9. Posted February 12, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Yes, we had a VW bug. There was another car as well. I don’t know which I was brought home from the hospital in. And I don’t know the story as to how we came to be a VW family. I suspect it was my mother’s idea, though, as my father was the kind of guy who liked to build his own cars for racing. I think, however, the drag racing stopped when he got married. He was from a really small town in Kentucky, and that’s what high school kids did at that time. When they weren’t playing basketball, they built cars, they raced them, and they often died. Or at least the impression I get talking with him about his youth.

  10. Posted February 12, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    They also used to try to get their cars as close to the ground as possible. I’m pretty sure I remember him telling me that either he, or a friend, once got their car so close to the ground that you couldn’t slide a pack of cigarettes under it.

  11. Posted February 12, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    note: The bottom two photos here are of my mom and me. The one right before them is of me with my aunt Betsy, who I think was 13 when I was born, and my great grandmother, Minnie Florian, who we called Ma.

  12. Demetrius
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Mark, and thanks for the wonderful pictures!

  13. Posted February 12, 2017 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday! I got stuck in the birth canal, apparently deciding “naw, don’t wanna go to earth after all kthxbai.” They didn’t have to use forceps, but it was discussed. The doctor (and picture him with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth because 1972) allegedly said he wanted me to be born on St. Patrick’s Day and they were going to get me out one way or another. I must have heard this, said “whatever” and crawled the rest of the way. Then my parents lit up celebratory cigarettes because 1972!!

    This became a metaphor for my life, btw. I get all excited about something, get halfway there and then go NOPE. Not doing it. And I have to be talked into finishing.

One Trackback

  1. By The yellow curtain on September 12, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    […] of these questions, they’ll turn around and ask it back to me, and I’ll tell them about how I was extracted from my unconscious mother with forceps, or share this very distinct memory that I have of laying in a crib, looking up at a yellow curtain […]

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