Dan and Hannah Remember September 7, 2016

If you do something once, it’s an event.  If you do it twice, it’s a tradition!  I have an RFT (Rothermel Family Tradition) that you just might like.  When your kids/grandkids are born, buy newspapers on the day of their birth, save them, and then give them as twenty-first birthday presents (along with the keys to a new Lexus, if you are so inclined).   Thirty plus years ago, we bought newspapers for each of our three kids (no Lexi).  Previously, I blogged about our first child’s (Molly) actual birthday.  Click here for Molly’s birth-day blog.


For a third time, Hannah was pregnant in Arizona.  You see, she had a miscarriage after Molly and before the birth of a second child.   Going old school (not knowing the gender of our child), Hannah was good and ready for child #2 to make an appearance in the 1981 summer of swelter (due date of August 25th).  Molly rocked our world three days early, so Han was hoping for similar good fortune.

With my mother, an elementary school librarian in Ridgewood, NJ, flying in, we would have live-in support for Molly for two weeks while we adjusted to bambino numero dos.


Mamoo and Papoo

As we all waited, August 25 came and went.  So much for on-time delivery.  Each morning, Mom would take two-year-old Molly to the Hudson School playground before 7A.  Why so early?   After 7A, the metal slide would burn Molly if she slid on it.

It seemed that the second Rothermel Bambino was just not ready to enter a world with Ronald Reagan as president.  (Imagine the trepidation for babies about to be born in 2017 with one Donald J. Trump as president!)

As a Republican friend reminded me, Get over it.  He’s president.   That is a fact, but I’m having trouble getting over it.  He mocks those with disabilities, denies climate change, spreads fear, frightens the vulnerable, and is misogynistic to the point we are becoming the Divided States of America. We (myself included) all have no choice but to deal with this turn of events.  Yet, I do remain hopeful.  Being bitter, cynical, and pessimistic poison ourselves.  Given the gravity of his position as president, I hope in time he will transform himself into a president of all Americans.)

Whoa, I didn’t realize I would take that little side trip, but I needed to go there, as you can probably tell.


Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix

Back to the Rothermel Baby #2 Saga.  Soon late August turned into the first week of September.   Finally, on Sunday, September 6, we took Mom to the Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix for her flight home for the start of her school year.  Turning to Hannah, she said, Just please don’t have the baby today.

Loving her mother-in-law dearly, Hannah readily agreed.  By the way, story has it that Hannah’s dad, Dr. John Kraai, delivered over 5000 babies as a general practitioner in northern New York in the later half of the twentieth century.  The legend goes that he told expecting parents that the due date was two weeks later than what he thought, so moms and dads wouldn’t stress over babies that didn’t arrive “on time.”  Hannah was not stressing in the least for she thought, The baby will come when the baby’s ready to come!


And then Monday afternoon, which in fact was Labor Day, Hannah delivered our second daughter, Robyn Leigh Rothermel, at Desert Samaritan Hospital in Mesa.

As with Molly, to save $200, we had opted not to add Hannah to my health insurance as a teacher for the local Tempe Schools.  You see, back in the day the total bill for pre-natal care, hospital delivery, and pediatrician follow-up would be just $1000!   A classic case of penny wise, pound super-foolish.   Fortunately, Hannah had no complications with the delivery; but it’s quite clear that we two were not the sharpish knives in the drawer.

In the New York Times on the day of Robyn’s birth on September 7, 1981, these were some highlights


Army Reporting Key Gains in Recruiting and Readiness.  This was an interesting foreshadowing to Robyn’s enlistment in the US Army in 2003 and her subsequent 15-month deployment to Afghanistan during the height of the war.   She and her grandfather (my dad) were our only close family members (my parents’ kids and all the grandchildren) who served in the military.  My mother did work for the USO in Guam during World War II


Mount St. Helens

New Eruption Reported at Mount St. Helens.   Who knew what might be on the horizon?  The previous year on May 18, 1980, a major volcanic eruption blew the top off Mount St. Helens in southwest Washington.  That was the first eruption to occur in the continental US since the 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak in California.  Years later (2014), Hannah and I hiked Mt. St. Helens.  Click here for the link to the first of three Mt. St. Helens blogs.

The day after Robyn’s birth, Stephen King (Maine’s own) published Cujo, the horror novel about a crazed St. Bernard.  A youthful sixty-nine like myself, Stephen King has sold over 350,000,000 books. I’ve sold nearly a thousand.

In 1981, a loaf of bread was $0.54, milk was $1.69 per gallon and gas was $1.13 per gallon.

Raiders of the Lost Ark was the top grossing film at $212M.  Chariots of Fire won the Academy Award for best picture.


Betty Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes was the top song of 1981.  Woman by John Lennon was #21.  Spookily, John Lennon was killed the previous year on December 8, 1980, almost nine months to the day before Robyn was born.  This may be TMI, but for those of you math majors, you can see Robyn was quite possibly conceived on that auspicious date.

For most of the country, September 7, 1981 was just another Labor Day Monday at the start of the school year.  For us, Robyn burst into our life, evening the playing field as there was now one kid to each parent.  Why would we have a third and be out numbered?   But we did.  (Next week’s final chapter of Dan and Hannah Remember…”

2 thoughts on “Dan and Hannah Remember September 7, 2016

  1. I’m loving these posts about your children’s births and the combination of the personal story along with a picture into the times. I imagine you enjoyed the trip down memory lane as you wrote these, and I’ve been happy to be along for the ride. Looking forward to next week’s installment!

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