We couldn’t afford our newborn’s nursery bill...
- Posted on Sep 26, 2014
How could my husband, Doug, be so calm? Sitting on the edge of my bed in the maternity ward, casually flipping through the newspaper like everything would be fine. Everything during my first pregnancy in 1967 had gone fine up to that point. Doug got me to the hospital in plenty of time; six hours later, baby Liz arrived, perfectly healthy, weighing in at exactly eight pounds. I couldn’t wait to be on our way and start our new life as a family of three. Then came the hitch.
“We just need to settle your bill before you can be discharged,” one of the nurses told us.
“The bill?” Doug and I shared a look. Hadn’t we already handled that? We had accounted for every cost—the hospital fee, the doctor’s delivery fee, and all the maternity fees. We’d budgeted down to our last dime.
“Yes, for use of the nursery. It comes to $50,” the nurse said. “Just head to the front desk and they’ll handle your paperwork.”
Fifty dollars! In the 1960s, that kind of money was hard to come by for us. It would be almost $400 today. “We’ll find a way,” Doug said. He turned back to his newspaper, seemingly unconcerned.
We prepared for this day for months, I thought, frustrated. Lord, don’t you want our family to have a good start?
“Grace, look at this!” Doug pointed out a want ad in the paper. I leaned over to read it. Lost: 1964 Cadillac, Louisiana license plate 835-N62.
“I saw this car outside the hospital,” Doug said. “I remember it because it was parked oddly, and one of the tires was flat.”
I was sure he was mistaken. Why would the stolen car be here? But Doug wouldn’t be discouraged. “I’ll be right back,” he said. I wasn’t going anywhere.
Doug darted out to the parking lot and returned minutes later. The car was still there, he said—with the license plate 835-N62. Within the hour, the owners arrived and Doug went out to meet them. He came back smiling.
“The owner was so grateful, he gave me a reward,” Doug said, handing me a check.
A check for exactly fifty dollars.