Chapter 20 -The Life and Times of William Roy Caple- The Birth of a Child

In early December Roy had the house finished enough for them to move in to before the arrival of the baby. He finally had a place to settle. It was a two-story house with one bedroom downstairs. He’d finish the two bedrooms and bathroom upstairs later. Besides, sewer lines had still not come to their street, so they’d have to rely on the little house back until it did. Mae couldn’t get over the roomy kitchen where he made the counters just right for her 5’ 6’ height. He’d built and painted the cupboards a creamy white.

“Oh, Roy,” said Mae the first time she saw it completed. “It’s even better than my dreams.”  

In the large dining room, he’d built a plate rail for Mae to display her prettiest plates. He also built her glass china closet for the fine china.

Mae opened the cabinet door. “At last, a place to display our wedding china.”

 A long window seat sat in front of two big windows that looked out into the yard.

He showed her the hidden storage he had built under the seat. “I thought you could put seldom used items here.”

From the sears catalog, they selected a large table and chairs to sit in front of it.

 At the other end of the room, he’d built in a sideboard with two drawers at the bottom to keep their linens. And they purchased another Walnut sideboard to sit in front of the window that overlooked the back porch and yard.

For months now he had admired a house near the Scott Hotel with a big cobblestone porch. Every time he and Mae walked past; they admired it.

“One of those would look great as our front porch.” He put his arms around Mae, “Can’t you see us relaxing in wicker chairs as the sun goes down.”

“I’d love it,” said Mae, “do you think you could do it?”

“Yes, I believe I can.”

She leaned into him, “Sounds heavenly, maybe make one a rocker to lull our babe asleep.”

For now, some wooden steps up to the front door would suffice. It was a project to save for later, after the baby arrived and he’d had time to finish the upstairs rooms.

In the early hours of December 17th, 1918, Mae roused Roy from his sleep.

“It’s time’ “she said, “I think today is the day our baby arrives.”

 He hurried to dress and went next door to fetch his mother to stay with Mae while he summoned the doctor.

Once the doctor arrived, his mother banished him next door.

“Go on now,” she said as she pushed him out the door. “Go keep your dad company. I will call you as soon as the baby arrives.”

Most of the day Roy paced outside on his parents’ big porch despite the cold December air. From time to time his dad would come out and join him.

“Relax son,” said his dad, “she’ll be fine, your mother birthed seven of you with nary a problem.”   

It seemed an eternity until his mother stepped outside the door. He could tell by the big smile on her face that all was well.He reached his front yard just as the doctor emerged from the door. “Congratulations, Mr. Caple, Mother, and baby are doing fine. Sorry I’m in a hurry, I have another call to make.”

Roy stepped inside the house and opened the door of their bedroom. An exhausted but ecstatic looking Mae held a tiny bundle. She smiled up at him, “It’s girl.”

She opened the blanket to show off the baby. Such perfection he’d never saw. Ten little toes and fingers, a tuft of black hair like her mother’s and blue eyes like his. His heart was overwhelmed, he never had felt such love before.

He leaned over and kissed Mae.

“You can hold her,” she said.

He took the baby into his arms. Such a precious little bundle.

He gazed down at the baby’s sweet face. “What should we name you?”

“How about Iva,” said Mae. “I love that name.”

“Iva,” repeated Roy. And Mae for her beautiful mother.”

The baby yawned and closed her eyes as if to say she liked it too.

The following year of 1919 was a busy, happy one. At the end of the war Roy lost his job in the shipyard but soon found work for a small logging company near Crocker and the Carbon River. He acquired a Model T to make the one-hour commute, enabling him to be home with his family each evening. When he had an extra few minutes, he’d stop along the river and fill two buckets with rocks the right size and shape to create the stone front porch. When spring arrived, they planted a cherry, four apple and pear trees. And he finished the upstairs bedrooms and bath.

In July his sister Lida and her husband George, still living with his parents, welcomed a baby girl they named Blanche into the world. Giving the two families even more reasons to enjoy each other’s company.

Mae’s grandparents along with her Aunt Sadie and her husband Bert Merchant came for an extended stay, renting a house nearby. They enjoyed showing them the local sights on the weekends

 When December arrived, Roy brought home a Christmas tree on little Iva’s first birthday. “Seems like her birthday is a good day to put up a tree.” It would become a yearly tradition.

 He hurried to dress and went next door to fetch his mother to stay with Mae while he summoned the doctor.

Once the doctor arrived, his mother banished him next door.

“Go on now,” she said as she pushed him out the door. “Go keep your dad company. I will call you as soon as the baby arrives.”

Most of the day Roy paced outside on his parents’ big porch despite the cold December air. From time to time his dad would come out and join him.

“Relax son,” said his dad, “she’ll be fine, your mother birthed seven of you with nary a problem.”   

It seemed an eternity until his mother stepped outside the door. He could tell by the big smile on her face that all was well.

He reached his front yard just as the doctor emerged from the door. “Congratulations, Mr. Caple, Mother, and baby are doing fine. Sorry I’m in a hurry, I have another call to make.”

Roy stepped inside the house and opened the door of their bedroom. An exhausted but ecstatic looking Mae held a tiny bundle. She smiled up at him, “It’s girl.”

She opened the blanket to show off the baby. Such perfection he’d never saw. Ten little toes and fingers, a tuft of black hair like her mother’s and blue eyes like his. His heart was overwhelmed, he never had felt such love before.

He leaned over and kissed Mae.

“You can hold her,” she said.

He took the baby into his arms. Such a precious little bundle.

“What should we name you?”  he said gazing down at the baby’s sweet face.

“How about Iva,” said Mae. “I love that name.”

“Iva,” repeated Roy. And Mae for her beautiful mother.”

The baby yawned and closed her eyes as if to say she liked it too.

The following year of 1919 was a busy, happy one. At the end of the war Roy lost his job in the shipyard but soon found work for a small logging company near Crocker and the Carbon River. He acquired a Model T to make the one-hour commute, enabling him to be home with his family each evening. When he had an extra few minutes, he’d stop along the river and fill two buckets with rocks the right size and shape to create the stone front porch. When spring arrived, they planted a cherry, four apple and pear trees. And he finished the upstairs bedrooms and bath.

In July his sister Lida and her husband George, still living with his parents, welcomed a baby girl they named Blanche into the world. Giving the two families even more reasons to enjoy each other’s company.

Mae’s grandparents along with her Aunt Sadie and her husband Bert Merchant came for an extended stay, renting a house nearby. They enjoyed showing them the local sights on the weekends.

 When December arrived, Roy brought home a Christmas tree on little Iva’s first birthday. “Seems like her birthday is a good day to put up a tree.”

It would become a yearly tradition.

After the birthday cake at his parents house Roy carried a sleeping Iva home. He and Mae tucked her into her crib. They wrapped their arms around each other and gazed down at her sweet face.

Mae said, “It’s hard to believe an entire year has gone by since she entered the world, isn’t it?

Roy kissed his wife. “Seems like yesterday, she’s growing too fast. Just think next year she’ll want to decorate that tree in the front room with us.”

Mae laughed. “More like she’ll be pulling all the tinsel off.”

—————— —————-

Author’s notes:

The description of the interior of the house comes from a piece my Aunt Iva wrote of her childhood home, which my dad agreed was just the way he remembered it.

We visited the house once or twice a year when I was growing up. I too remember the built-in cupboards in the dining room and the bench window seat with a big dining table in front.

My aunt told me they always went and got their Christmas tree on her birthday. A tradition she wasn’t overly fond of. She would have preferred the day be reserved for just her birthday.

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