February 14/15

February 1929

Newark, New Jersey, USA.

A car, could be a Ford, goes speeding through the empty streets at midnight.

I think I ran over a cat, says the red-haired driver as the silence is broken by a wail … Except it wasn’t a cat, it was a girl-child complaining as she was thrust into cold reality, expelled from the warm comfort of her mother’s womb.  It was February 14th when the dark-haired young woman, her labor pangs getting closer and closer, woke her husband and said her time had come and they had better get to the hospital.  He helped his wife into the car and when they reached destination, a new day had begun. It was already February 15 as the hospital nurses wheeled the mother and infant into the delivery room. February 15 was therefore the date entered on the birth certificate of a little girl who was to be named Erika and who was to grow up with a younger sister on a farm in New England,

with occasional excursions to that ocean crossed years ago,

graduate from the college where her father taught

go to university in New York

and marry and have children of her own in a small town in Italy.

Holding her new-born daughter in her arms, she smiled as she realized that here was a tiny defenseless being to whom she would give her unconditional love, in the hopes that in turn she would one day give love and support to others.

Now nine decades, and various automobiles later, that first-born daughter finds it befitting to celebrate, not herself, but  the woman who had the courage to leave her family in Europe, whom she might never see again,  and cleave to her American husband, following him to a new continent in an era when letters from the new world to the old took weeks.

So, on my birthday, the day of my birth, I celebrate my mother and thank her for bringing me into the world, hoping that I have done my best to live up to her expectations.

8 thoughts on “February 14/15

  1. I love these photos Erika, and I wish you a very happy birthday. You seem pretty special to have been born on St Valentine’s Day – and doubly special to be able to claim two birthdays each year! Congratulations. However, you have chosen to celebrate your mother rather than yourself: the one who crossed the Atlantic westward rather than the daughter who made the return journey. How interesting life is at times.


  2. What an origin story! Especially the debut of the girl-child. I listened first, and it was a great gift to be able to hear your voice on the day before your birthday. But the text and the lovely accompanying photos that I had not seen before were an added pleasure. Although I never got to meet your beautiful mother in person, I feel certain that she would be proud to have raised a daughter like you. 🌹


  3. Happy Birthday Erika! You and your lovely mother Meta have been such gifts to all who’ve had the joy of knowing you! ❤️🌹


  4. Erika, Did you know that my daughter, Erica, was also born on the 15th of Feb. and attended the university where her father taught, and ultimately moved to another country to marry and have a family with two boys!? It was her mother’s country, of course, which is where I am currently living. What an amazing and unbelievable coincidence! Jerry


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