Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The First Son

The Boyer Family with New #5, Todd Marshall 
(click here to read previous story:

It was in July of 1964, a couple of months after Sharon's 5th birthday, that Liz gave birth to their third child, a son they named Todd.

The +5 year gap between Sharon and Todd is notable because it's by far the largest: Diann is just 16 months older than Sharon, and Todd is only two years older than the youngest child, Scott.  Sharon's medical problems probably played a big part in the size of that gap.

"Liz was stressed, to say the least," Dinon said.  "I mean, I was stressed, too.  And there wasn't much I could do."

In that stressful time, Dinon did the best he could to help his family ... and sometimes had a little help, too.

"During Sharon's last kidney surgery, Diann and I had to come back [from Boston] to Ohio early because Diann was starting school," Dinon said.  "So, I'd get her up, and comb and braid her hair, but ... it was not the best."

Diann and her long hair, obviously
braided by her mother
It just so happened that, while walking to school, Diann and her neighbor friend Patty always went right past the house of one of their teachers.  On one of the mornings that Dinon braided her hair, the teacher looked out her front window and could tell that Diann's dad had, well, tried to help.

"So while Liz was gone, she'd watch for Diann to come walking by, and then she'd call them into the house and rebraid Diann's hair," Dinon said, chuckling.  "I didn't know anything about it, I mean, Diann never said anything and of course I didn't realize her hair was being rebraided."

In 1964, the family was finally healthy and resettled, just in time for the birth of Dinon's first son, Todd Marshall (his middle name came from Liz's maiden name).

When Dinon was asked if he was excited to finally have a boy, he smiled and shrugged.

"I think I just, y'know, accepted it, thinking, 'OK, I've got another child to feed'," he said.

However, Dinon's blasé answer was met with quick objection.

"Outstanding" Baby Todd
"That is NOT the story I heard from Mom," Todd broke in from across the table.  "Mom said that Dad was OVERjoyed, that he was THRILLED to finally have a boy, that his face lit up and he could barely contain his joy.  She would say, 'Your father, Todd, he's not really very expressive emotionally, but that was as happy as I've ever seen him.'  And I believe every word of it!"

"That's the mantra, uh-huh," Dinon said, chuckling.

Continuing to argue his infant likability, Todd retold a story from his pre-crawling days:

"At the house in Troy, there was a tree right in the middle of the front yard under which, Nanny [Liz's mother] said, that I used to just lay there under the tree and I would stare up and look at the leaves and just be totally content."

Dinon smiled and shrugged, genuinely assenting, "Yeah, he was an outstanding baby.  He was SO good."

Todd grinned. 

"You hear that?  I was OUTSTANDING."

(Next story: Ice Dancing in Troy)


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