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Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017

The day my life began

Posted Friday, July 27, 2012, at 5:03 PM

An old postcard of the former Fitzgibbon Hospital at 868 S. Brunswick Ave. in Marshall.
Editor's note: This column was prompted by recent news stories involving the old Fitzgibbon Hospital. The building was the heart of health care in Saline County for nearly seven decades, so it has an important role in the memories of many area residents. We invite others to share their stories and recollections about the old hospital.


The day my lilfe began was at Fitzgibbon Hospital, May 26th, 1933.

Every year, on my birthday, my mother -- Nell Hains-Ellingson -- would tell me this story.

"The day your were born was the happiest day of my life. When I knew it was time, we went to the hospital. The birds were singing, the sky was blue, the flowers were in bloom.

"As I walked up the stairs I couldn't wait to meet you. My doctor and good friend, Dr. George Aiken, knew I wanted a baby girl, and how happy he was to present you to me, holding you in his hands and saying, 'Nell, you got the baby girl you wanted.'"

In 1956, my husband, Dick Butterfield, and I walked up those same stars on Decemeber 31st at 11 p.m. The stars were shining and huge snowflakes were showering down with a full moon shining.

As I was admitted it was time for a shift change. Now remember, it was New Year's Eve, an hour before midnight, and everyone was eager to get home to celebrate.

One of the nurses, Betty, a former classmate, was on duty and said, "I'll take care of her."

And, well she did.

Back then, the daddies were not allowed in the delivery room, but due to circumstances, Dick put me on the gurney and wheeled me into the delivery room, holding my hand all the way.

At 11:45 p.m., my doctor, Dr. Ralph Jones came rushing in telling me, "Wait a minute."

But my son, Ricky, didn't hear him and was born two minutes before midnight.

Dr. Jones later told me, "You should name this boy Tax Exemption."

Just being out of college, that tax exemption for the whole year was $250 and that Ricky boy was worth ten times more than that!

When they lay my Ricky Boy in my arms with his big brown eyes looking up at his mom I knew I had a friend for life. And so I have.

To add to this story at Fitzgibbon Hospital, my former classmate and friend, Ruth Ann Hayob Heinzler was my room mate. She'd had a baby boy, Tommy, the day before.

We laid Ricky and Tommy side by side, and those boys have been friends all of their lives to this day forward.

Memories of Fitzgibbon Hospital. If those walls could talk, they would tell my story of the day my life began.

You tell your story, too.

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Various members of the community, current or past residents, occasionally submit essays recalling the people, places and events of the past. We'll post them here. Also, reminisces sometimes emerge in other web forums. This will be a place those conversations can continue.
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