Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Baby Diann

Baby Diann and Daddy Dinon
(Click here to read previous story:

After two years of marriage, baby Diann Elizabeth arrived as a belated Christmas present to her parents on December 26th of 1957.

Mama Liz and Baby Diann
"I was pretty happy about it," Dinon said.  "She was planned, I was through with grad school, and I was working for Goodrich.  We were living up in Cuyahoga Falls, which is next to Akron on the north side.  We were in a small apartment on the second floor of the house that we later bought, but, at the time, we were renting."

Since Dinon was the oldest child for his mother, who was herself an only child, this meant that Diann was a highly-celebrated first grandchild.  The abundance of baby photos, and the level of doting around Diann in each, speaks to the same.

Diann took after her father's light hair color and by her first birthday it hung in a thick blonde bowl above her chubby cheeks. For her birthday, Diann happily sat in a high chair at the same table her father had grown up around, and a big round cake, frosted in white, sat on the table with a single lit candle in the center.

Baby Diann with
Grandma Alma 'Babe' Boyer
"We were glad to have her," Dinon said.  "She was a pretty happy child."

Blessed with the financial stability of Dinon's job, the young family of three took a camping vacation to the Gaspé Peninsula in the autumn of 1958.

The Gaspé Peninsula, a piece of Canadian land northeast of the state of Maine, runs along the St. Lawrence River and ultimately overlooks the St. Lawrence Gulf. North of Maine, it is, as one might expect, rather cold in September.  However, this detail did not deter Liz from making sure that Diann remained clean on their camping trip.

"Liz was pregnant with Sharon when we were on vacation, and she didn't realize she was pregnant at the time.  And Liz, on that trip, Liz thought that the baby needed to be bathed every day, every single day," Dinon said, beginning to laugh.  "This is fall in Canada.  Picture Diann, bare as can be, and Liz is bundled up with a jacket and everything trying to stay warm, and then we've got Diann out there in a pan because she had to be bathed.  Liz and I laughed about that later – it’s a wonder Diann survived.  I mean, she didn't get sick or anything.   I mean, it's just [that Liz was a] new mother and she thought that that was the thing you had to do.  Oh golly..."

Baby Diann with
Great-Grandma Henness
Diann was also the only one of Liz's children to meet her father, Joseph Marshall, a handsome English immigrant with a beautiful singing voice.

Liz's parents, Joseph and Ernestine Marshall, had separated in September of 1942 due to infidelity on Joseph's part.  Liz, the youngest of four, was just eleven years old at the time.  The children continued to live with their mother when Joseph moved out; Liz did not maintain a close relationship with her father, even though both parts of the family lived near Boston.

Liz, Diann and Dinon
in front of their home
in Cuyahoga Falls, OH
"We did see her dad after Diann was born, Diann was just a little baby," Dinon recalled. "I think it was the first time I met him.  And he was remarried.  I do remember seeing him, and him holding Diann, but he died shortly thereafter."

In September of 1959, Joseph died at the age of 61.  "We didn't get a chance to go to the funeral because we were in Ohio and it was down in the Boston area," Dinon said.  In addition to the +650 miles and 21-month-old Diann, Dinon and Liz had also recently added a fourth member to their family.  Baby Sharon, born in April of '59, was just 5 months old at the time of Joseph's passing.  "At that stage, it was a big deal to travel that distance, so we just couldn't do it," Dinon said.  

After the news of Joseph's passing, the small Boyer family of four settled back into their routine in Cuyahoga Falls, OH, unaware of the coming medical challenges for their newest daughter.

(Next story: Family of Four)


A Pair of

No comments:

Post a Comment