But it was Dorothy, not Virginia, who was now escorted into the maternity ward hospital room.
“What a surprise!” Nila fairly squealed with delight. “You look fabulous.”
“Mayonnaise,” she declared.
Dorothy waited a beat. When Nila failed to react, she bestowed a look confirming her suspicion that her child’s intelligence had been grossly overstated.
“Mayonnaise,” she repeated. “It’s cheaper than cold cream and has most of the same ingredients.”
Her tone added obviously.
While the vision of her mother’s face lathered with salad dressing etched itself permanently into Nila’s brain, Dorothy slipped out of her light jacket, folding it neatly before laying it on the foot of the bed.
“Now. How do we get you out of here?”
“It could be a day or two. I haven’t even seen the baby since the delivery. They said he looked a little blue. He’s been getting some oxygen.”
As if on cue, a nurse flung open the door and held forth a bundle of blanket. “Here he is, pink as a pearl and ready for lunch.”
Dorothy lifted a bunting corner to take a perfunctory peek at the squirming baby. “Ah, a redheaded little boy. When can we leave?” she asked the nurse.
The nurse stammered that the decision was not hers to make, consulting the chart on the door.
“Circumcision ordered. I’m not sure that’s scheduled for today.”
“Let’s get the doctor on the phone,” Dorothy replied coolly.
While Nila busied herself counting fingers and toes and urging the baby to latch onto a nipple,
Dorothy conversed with her doctor.
He must have been making rounds in the hospital. Within an hour he marched into Nila’s room, whisked the baby away, and returned within thirty minutes to hand off the now squalling infant who had been grossly insulted by a scalpel.
“I would be much more comfortable if we could watch him for another day.” The doctor’s tone indicated premeditated defeat. “But since your mother is here to help, I guess it would be all right for you to take him home.” He patted Nila’s shoulder. “I don’t like sending a new mother home so soon when there are other youngsters to care for, but since there’s someone there to lend a hand...”
Dorothy ignored the implied request for assurance.
Title: The Daughters Lem
Author: Nila Aamoth
Genre: Biographical / Memoir / Historical
The Daughters of Lem witnessed and survived the tragic event that forever transformed them. Orphaned, frightened, fiercely independent, the four sisters fought defiantly to raise themselves. But Lucille, Louise, and Nell Rose could not defeat the notion of a Lem bad seed; they chose to remain childless. Only Dorothy sought to achieve what she perceived to be a “normal” life as a wife and mother. In the process, she discovered her power as an independent woman. Her own three offspring became a new generation of the Daughters of Lem, and fortunate participants in their mother’s improbably joyful journey.
Nila Knack Aamoth wrote her first story at age four, and never stopped plying the pencil, the typewriter, and finally the computer keyboard. She began her journalism career in Houston, Texas, and owned two community newspapers in Michigan. For 25 years, she was editor and publisher of The Penasee Globe. “I figured my thoughts were more valuable than the traditional penny, so I called my weekly column A Nickel’s Worth,” she likes to joke. Those mostly light-hearted musings won her numerous state and national writing awards. Her insightful editorials, both humorous and serious, won the Michigan Press Association award for “Best Editorial” two years running. “I believed I could write about anything,” she says. “But writing the incredible story of my own family was almost too heart-wrenching. I think I’ve finally grown up!”