Probably the most exciting thing that ever hit our neighborhood was the incident of the newborn baby left on a neighbor’s doorstep.

I’m not sure why she chose our house, ours was four houses away from hers, but Mom still had a young child at home and the neighbor supposed, rightly, that she would still have baby things tucked away somewhere.

The subject emerged suddenly and full-blown when brother Bob yelled up the stairwell to us, “Get up, Mom has just had a baby and she didn’t expect it.

Some desperate person chose that way of solving the problem and it was the end of peace in our household for several months. With three children of her own, Mom knew the routine and her first activity, after calling the doctor, was to give the baby a bath.

Nothing like that had happened before in our neighborhood and nothing since to my knowledge, but that was the end of peace in our household for some months. Everyone wanted to see this abandoned child who did not have two heads nor any other abnormality.

We never found out who left her.

The doctor examined her and reported she was in good shape.

As I recall, nobody challenged the name the others of us chose for the newcomer. We had decided to call her Baby Jean. We took up the chores of helping keep her and helping Mamma.

That was before the days of sophisticated cameras, but the telephone worked and ours must have stayed warm most of the time as people both inquired about the baby and came to see her. We entered a routine of washing bottles and entertaining curious people.

Life was simpler then, but a new child on top of the three she already had kept everyone busy.

Mom and Dad had decided to adopt her and were just heading out the door to go to the proper authorities for this, when another car approached and here was a young couple without children of their own and they wanted that baby.

The flood of curious people had slackened off to a trickle, but we still were subject to people coming in.

This new development changed their course of action and they surrendered Baby Jean and certain of her supplies, and in due course she left us.

These developments took some time, but ultimately the young couple took off with their new young family member.

We wanted to have as little to do as possible with her life for her peace of mind. Later we heard that their marriage had failed, so the parents and the child disappeared from our lives permanently. We never did find out where they went or what adjustments they made.

Our family adjusted again to parents and three children, which lasted a relatively short time until it turned out that Mom was going to have another baby, and this time she knew a child was coming - and thus the advent of Barbara.

She is still living in that same house, but Baby Jean disappeared from our lives. And so it has remained.

By this time, if she is still alive, she should be in her 90s and away from all the to-do attended upon her birth. I hope things have gone well for her, but we have never seen or heard from her again.

I am happy that we were able to meet her hour of dire need and give her the respite from an unhappy circumstance. I hope life has been good to her.

Elizabeth Widel is a columnist for The Chronicle. This is the 3,051st in a column. She can be reached at 509-826-1110.

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