My First Memory

I went through a scrapbooking phase several years ago, putting together 7 books over a frenzied few weeks. My husband and I look through them every now and then. It brings back memories not only of the times captured but of that short period of my life, when another hobby was started with fervor and shortly thereafter dropped.

Anyway, in one book I have the front page of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, dated July 10, 1958. Under the headline Rhawnhurst Girls Nurse 'Grounded' Robin is a picture of my sister Kris, then 10, feeding a robin with a doll's bottle. One of her neighborhood friends is looking on, but this is clearly my sister's gig.

Kris found the robin under a tree (it was unable to fly for a reason I never knew or don't remember), took it home, named it Chirpy, and began to nurse it back to health. My mother called the Bulletin, thinking it would be a nice human interest story for a back section of the paper. She never expected it would end up on the front page.

I was barely 3. I remember the photographer in our kitchen, where a dollhouse-size bed was set up for Chirpy on our green linoleum kitchen table. I remember sitting at that table while the photographer took his pictures. And I remember being mightily confused when the picture appeared in the Bulletin and I wasn't in it. I had clearly not yet grasped the concept that, to be in a picture, the camera has to actually be pointed at you.

(The "make a difference" sticker on the picture was of course applied by me as I put together the scrapbook page. No newspaper then or now would be so hokey. But Kris did make a difference, as Chirpy flew off a few days later, hopefully to live a long and happy life.)

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