THEN AND NOW
(A letter to my great nephew/wife upon the birth of their first child)
World War II, AIDS and Pandemic 2020
Joyce Strickland Collins weighed 90 pounds when she discovered she was pregnant with twins. By her sixth month with two large fetuses in her belly she had taken to a chair.
The country had been within a long world war and there were shortages of food and medical supplies everywhere. Luckily Joyce had married a man with a lot of wits and he was able to barter the necessary food and medical supplies for her pregnancy. Rarely available ex-ray film (which I still have) confirmed two very large boy beings in her belly. The doctors predicted that there would not be a natural birth and a dangerous at the time caesarian surgery would be necessary.
The week of the surgery America had dropped the largest bomb in history on Japan to stop the war. Hundreds of thousands were killed that day on top of all those killed in the war. It was wonderful to be bringing new life into the world amongst so much death. The surgeon pulled out Phillip Elton first at nine pounds, followed by William Ogden at 10 pounds! Almost twenty pounds of babies in an originally 90-pound body!
William Ogden II, my great nephew, you have those strong hardy genes within you and I am so honored you being named after ‘my other half.’
Now here you and your beautiful wife are within your first pregnancy during one of the most pervasive global pandemics in history. It seems we Collins like to bring babies into the world during challenging times! While the isolation of your experience is extreme, I am intending we shall all come out of this just like the end of WW2 (AIDS still has no cure) and create a stronger, more loving world.
I personally know something of this type of isolation having survived the AIDS pandemic while working in New York City, London, Paris and San Francisco as the virus raged (many of my closest friends died before we knew how or why) The events that don’t kill us surely make us more conscious and wiser.
Be in peace and gratitude and know while many you love cannot be near you at your special time, there is deep love and compassion being sent your way…
Much Love, Great Uncle Phillip