| I was born on Thursday January 11th, 1973 at two fifteen in the afternoon. I was eight pounds exactly and I was nineteen and a half inches long at birth. I was born to Mary and Richard Delmonico at the South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Mom, Mary, was seventeen years old when she had me. Dad, Richard, was twenty years old when I was born. Oh how proud Mom and Dad were when I was born. They fell instantly in love with me when I was born. Mom says Dad could not stop smiling and from the pictures I have seen Dad is wearing the biggest, goofiest grin. They, Mom and Dad, named me Julie Anne Delmonico.
Mom and Dad were married before I was born. Mom and Dad married Friday June 9th, 1972. Mom and Dad were married by the Justice of the Peace in Scituate, Massachusetts. Mom’s witness was Kathy Mitchell and Dad’s witness was Joker. They had a big party after they were married or so I hear.
Even though I cried a lot, I was a real happy baby, and I was so very loved. I was the first Grandchild to David and Rose Hamilton and to Richard and Joan Delmonico. I also had great grandparents as well. La La, my great grandmother on my Mom’s side. On Dad’s side there was Richard and Mae Delmonico. I also have a lot of aunts and uncles who all love me and I loved them too. I was in high spirits when I was being held by someone. Grandpa David Hamilton used to call me Drooly Julie for I was always drooling and I needed to wear a bib but what baby does not drool? I am told every time he called me Drooly Julie I would smile and giggle.
I cannot remember much during these times. Like I did not know how to suck when I was first born, I had to be taught, and I just was not hungry when I was born. Mom says I was very colicky at this point of my short life. Colic in infants affects about 10 to 40% of all babies born and has unknown reasons for it except for abuse, frustration with parents, or in parents that have depression following the birth. Colic is when a baby cries for more than three hours a day for more than three weeks. Infant colic usually goes away by six months of age.
Mom says that I had blonde fuzz and big blue eyes. Mom says and I remember seeing pictures that I did have a pastel yellow crib, pastel yellow room, and there were baby animals on the wall. Mom says it was a beautiful nursery and they, Mom and Dad, were very proud of it. They should have been for it really was a beautiful nursery from the pictures that I have seen.
I was about one or two years old in this picture and I was on the telephone with a very surprised expression on my face. Mom says I was fascinated by the phone. There is another picture with me sitting in the middle of a circle of pots and pans and I have a wooden spoon in my hand. I must have been having a wonderfully grand time making enough noise to drive anybody crazy. But I doubt Mom minded for I was busy and not getting into trouble. I smile at this picture for I really was an adorable little girl but even back then I just knew I was different. There was just something different about me, I can see it in my eyes, there was just something off. Little did I know how sensitive I really was.
I also used to sleep walk. Mom and Dad had to install a hook and eye near the top of one of the doors leading outside for I would open the door and go outside. There is one episode I do remember. I cannot remember for the life of me how old I was but Mom worked at a Chinese restaurant across the street. I was sleep walking and I somehow undid the hook and eye and I was out of the house crossing the street. I guess I was going over to the Chinese restaurant to get my Mom who was working a late shift. My Dad heard the door open ran out of the house in his underwear to come get me. I laugh a little at this memory of my father in his tighty whiteys coming to get me.
There was another time I unlocked the hook an eye. It was an Easter morning and I think I was about four years old. I escaped to go to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house over on ‘J’ Street. Instead of reaching their house I was picked up by a police officer who actually knew my parents. He, the police officer, tried to bring me home but I denied that I lived there and I gave him directions to my grandparent’s house. Of course my Grandma and Grandpa brought me in and they called Mom and Dad to let them know that I was there at their house. I do not remember much else from that day. As I think about this now I can only imagine that Mom and Dad were horrified that I did this and I can imagine that they were embarrassed as well.
I do remember loving any and all types of animals. I especially loved baby animals. Baby animals are just so cute and innocent. Animals in general are so innocent and pure but that is just my humble opinion. When I was first born Dad tells me that we had a dog named ‘Boo’ and Dad says he was a great dog but he was not very street smart. I do not really remember Boo. I see pictures of him and know it is Boo but that is about all I can remember. Boo was not very old when he ran out into the street and got hit by a police car. Knowing this makes me feel sad for the loss of a pet can be extremely difficult. As I well know for in my now forty-seven years, I have lots of companions that have come into my life and exited with grace. Like a lot of people who have furry companions or children can understand that losing a companion is like losing a huge piece of you and your heart. For me it is like losing a limb or half of my heart. But with time, I remember each companion with loads of love and admiration.
Then there was Tom, an all black cat, who was the hottest shit that ever walked the Earth. We got Tom when I was about two years old. Dad says he has seen Tom leap onto dog’s backs to scare them away. Mom also says that Tom thought I was his baby. I remember Tom sleeping at the top of my head at night. I got so used to Tom sleeping there that I could not fall asleep without him there. I also remember cutting holes in baby clothes to dress Tom in and so his tail could stick out as well. I use to strap Tom into a baby carriage and take him for walks. Tom even broke his hind leg once when my Mom accidently dropped a piece of wood on him. I was also convinced that Tom would have been able to avoid the broken leg if I had not cut his whiskers off.
We had Tom until I was about four and he got very sick. We had to take him to Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts and they had to put him to sleep. Tom had cat leukemia and was suffering. I can remember the vet technician saying that Tom had skin like an elephant. But then everything goes dark and I do not remember anything else about Tom except that I missed him very much. I have a picture of me and Tom sitting on the floor of the kitchen. I had to be about two and a half or three years old. It is a sweet picture for I only remember the purity of Tom’s spirit.
In 1978 tragedy struck Mom and Dad. It was November of 1978 to be exact. Mom was pregnant and I was about to have a brother or sister. I was five years old by this time. I remember going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, my father’s mother and father, and I would be sleeping over I had a little suitcase all packed with everything a five year old would possibly need. I was very excited for I would be having a brother or sister AND I got to sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
Dad had called for an ambulance, I am guessing here, to pick up my Mom and him. Mom started to deliver the baby in the back of the ambulance and delivered the baby before they reached South Shore Hospital in Weymouth Massachusetts. The baby, Jessica Marie Delmonico, was born blue and she was born breach as well. Breach is when the baby is born feet first. Jessica was still born, the poor thing passed away before she even had a chance at life. Maybe this was a blessing for there may have been neurological issues or some other hidden deformity as well. The doctor’s say it was Spinal Bifida that caused her death. Why Mom and Dad had to experience a loss like this is beyond me. Mom was only twenty-two and Dad was twenty-five years old at this time. Back then I did not understand but now as an adult I can understand that it was devastating for the both of them, especially for Mom.
Spinal Bifida is a birth defect that causes openings in the membranes of the spinal cord. Jessica had an opening at the base of her skull and an opening at the base of her spine or this is what I am told. There are survivors of Spinal Bifida, not every child born with this serious birth defect dies, but unfortunately Jessica passed away. Diagnosis of Spinal Bifida can be determined prior to birth or just after birth. But Jessica was expected in November of 1978 and medical science was not all that advanced, not like it is today.
So Mom, age twenty-two, lost a baby. I cannot imagine what it was like for her. How devastating it must have felt. All I can remember from this time is things were very dark, sad, and it was ultimately very lonely. I did not understand what was happening around me. All I knew was Mom was very sad and no matter what I did I could not cheer her up. Mom says she started going for runs along the beach at this period of her life which grounded her and started to make her feel a little better.