Hush little baby, don’t you cry;
Mama’s gonna sing you a lullaby…
My older sisters told me this story many times. I was born after Baby Blue.
Mama never spoke of him to me.
Mama was going to have a baby. Her seventh baby; not uncommon in farming
country. All mama’s babies were born at home with the help of a friend, or
in this case, this day, her daughters. Nothing to worry about, she had
plenty of experience pushing out babies.
Annie, Shirley, Carrie, and Jennie were humming “Hush Little Baby” along
with mama. She said “it’s time,” and Shirley, the oldest, went running for
Something was terribly wrong; birth was taking too long. Ms. Faye couldn’t
do anything but wring her hands. Mama never cried, but she was now,
whispering “go get Doc Futrell.”
Shirley took off again and ran to a neighbor’s house who had a car. Not many
folks had a telephone. They drove into town to find Doc Futrell in his
office. He asked if Doodle was home with his wife. Shirley said “no, but
he’s at the pool hall. That’s where he goes when mama has the babies.” They
went and fetched Doodle.
By the time they got back home, the little boy, full term, had been born.
Not an easy birth and not alive. Cleaned and dressed in the clothes mama
made for him, tiny blue baby boy laid in her arms, perfect in death.
Sisters said “We can’t tell you how sad it was. Doc Futrell couldn’t do
anything to help. He did give mama some aspirin for her fever. Ms. Faye had
already cleaned up the mess. We all held him and kissed him, dreading the
question that would have to be asked: how are we going to bury him? We
didn’t have money for a casket, much less a funeral.”
Doc said he had some pull in the little town of Greenway, not too far from
where we lived. He would make a call from his office and take care of
things. Said he would be back tomorrow to pick up the baby.
Mama didn’t name him. No one knows why. Two days later the family went to the
Greenway cemetery. A lead-like plague on a metal handle was shoved in the
ground at the top of the little grave. Behind the glass of the lead plate
read “Baby Boy, Willcutt.”
The plan was to put up a stone when times got better. But there was never
any extra money. I remember we visited brother’s grave every Easter until I
was around ten. You could barely read the marker any more. The last time we
visited we found a heavy rain storm went through the cemetery ripping the
pauper’s markers away.
We never went back after that. Mama wouldn’t or didn’t say why. Personally,
I think she knew Baby Blue had long since been in heaven. The missing marker
was his way of saying he was okay and no need to visit anymore.
© Morgan LaFay
Loch Raven Review Winter 2005 Vol. I, No. 2
← Contents Page |
Cover Page |
Contributor Notes →