In 1982, I was running for State Comptroller, probably to test my hypothesis that one could not win a office above State Senator without selling one’s soul. (Needless to say, I lost. To incumbent Roland Burris, no less. Soul still intact.)
My wife Robin was pregnant with our daughter Alexandra.
Speeches were scheduled in the Chicago area so I could get back for the birth.
As the due date approached, first I told audiences that Alexandra was expected on Lincoln’s Birthday. I think that was in Oak Park.
That came and went.
Next, we aimed for Valentine’s Day. Was it Lyons’ Township?
Nothing happened that day either.
My memory is a little fuzzy at this point.
My wife was going into labor.
So it was home and off to the hospital.
I remember driving her through the toll booth and wondering if we would be on time.
But I also remember being at former House Speaker Bob Blair’s downtown hotel fund raiser in his candidacy for State Treasurer and getting a message to come forthwith.
The baby was not turned head down, so the next day a Caesarian was decided upon.
Since I had not taken the Caesarian course. I couldn’t be in the delivery room.
So, there I was sitting in a little room along a hall. Reading a book, of course.
I thought that this was a typical Dagwood delivery where the father was clueless while a momentous event was taking place nearby.
With Robin in recovery, Robin’s parents and I went into some room and held the precious gift from God.
We took turns holding the little creature, her head no larger than my fist.
Then, it was off to the nursery for Baby Alexandra.
Governor Jim Thompson, for whom Robin was a youth organizer who became his campaign photographer (“What is that clicking around me knees?”) sent Alexandra a Teddy Bear for which she thanked him in person during the McHenry County Republican Play Day about a year and a half later, Robin told me. (I was in Springfield during session weeks working as transportation adivsor to then-House Speaker George Ryan. The RTA went away as a political issue that year.)
I remember when some hospital employee came in with the Birth Certificate. Strangely, it did not have a space for both the mother’s and father’s signature. I got the privilege of signing it.
We went to the nearby apartment which Robin’s parents, Herb and Millicent Geist, had been kind enough to have set us up in temporarily.
That second-floor efficiency had 1950’s white kitchen cabinets.
I remember going to sleep with Alexandra on my chest.