Yes, life was good. We had our own room at Frank’s. Melissa’s crib was close to my bed. Tommy, Nikki, Agnes, and Isis were really loving and protective of Melissa. My little girl looked like a sweet angel. Until she opened her mouth and started to scream, and this wasn’t crying, this was red in the face and fire engine screaming! The kitties ran and hid under the bed whenever she started screaming! Wow! What a pair of lungs! At first they were convinced she was hurting or dying even. I searched her all over for anything that could be hurting her.
This was back in the days when we sterilized everything that went into baby’s mouth. I had a huge pot that had a rack in it for bottles. Early every morning I filled the bottles for the day with formula, juice, and water and boiled them for 30 minutes. Cooled them off for an hour or so, then they were ready to go. Melissa had a good appetite. I soon found out she was allergic to most brands of disposible diapers. She wore cloth until I finally found a brand that was right for her. She had very sensitive skin.
She also had colic and she screamed even louder, if possible. Frank worked 5 days a week, 8 hrs a day in a factory. He was the electrician. I was up with Melissa until she screamed herself to sleep, then I collapsed. Frank was kind enough to feed the kitties and clean the litter boxes. We all had the run of the house. Anu seemed to be able to calm her sometimes, but most of the time, she just screamed. Little Magic hid and wouldn’t come out while “our” baby was screaming.
I was pretty much a nervous wreck. Finally on Sunday, Frank offered to stay with Melissa for the day, so I could get out and unwind a little. I took the El and went downtown. I had lunch at a small restaurant that was famous for their pasta dishes and then I walked around for a while. I came across a theater called appropriately enough, “The little theater”. The door was open, so I wandered in.
There was a small stage in the back of the building. Several people were on the stage in costume. The billboard in front of the building announced that “Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolf”, was in production. I was fascinated. I had never seen a real play being enacted before. I sat down in one of the seats close to the back. There was another woman sitting close by. I hadn’t seen her before.
She was pretty, with long dark hair. She wore a summery skirt, white shimmery blouse and a large hat with a brim. I didn’t see a coat and she was wearing sandals. I was wondering how she kept from freezing. January in Chicago was freezing, especially downtown where the wind blows in off the lake. It’s been described as being cold enough to cut you in half. I agreed with that, and I was wrapped up. The little Theater was warm, so maybe her coat was laying on another seat.
I watched the play and I was enthralled! Once it was over, I looked over and she was looking at me with a bright smile. She asked me in a raspy voice if I enjoyed the play. I agreed that I had very much enjoyed it! She laughed and told me she used to play Virginia Wolf, but couldn’t now because of ill health. She told me that her friends were putting on the play as a benefit for a children’s charity.
How cool was that? After it was all over, I went to the front to tell them how much I enjoyed the play. They were a very nice bunch of people. Talented too. I sat back stage and we all talked about the play. It had been one of my favorite books. We were getting on famously. The director asked me if I had any stage experience, and of course, I didn’t. He asked if I would like to play an extra! Oh wow! Would I ever!!
I was so excited that I didn’t feel the cold on the way home. I told Frank all about it, and he seemed happy for me. Melissa was sleeping and Frank looked tired. I took over and thanked him for taking care of her. He looked surprised and said, “she’s my daughter too!” That really made me feel good, to hear him say that.
Melissa had an appointment with her Dr. that week. Thank God! The screaming was driving me and Frank both crazy. Mostly me, since I was home with her all day. Dr. Sullivan checked her over and she wasn’t gaining enough weight, probably from all the screaming. He prescribed paragoric, said that helped colic. He also thought she was allergic to the formula, so he switched her to prescription soy milk. I was praying these changes would work.
Melissa started screaming in the waiting room, and the look on the other people’s faces was priceless! Shock! Awe even!