The Birth of Lottie & Steve's Fourth Child

The summer of 1930 was very hot and humid, not too unusual for the St. Louis area. Lottie and Steve Filla had no telephone nor did any of their neighbors. They had three children already; Walter 19, Lucille 17, and Len would turn 15 in just two months. They were expecting a fourth child and had picked a name already, but only a boy's name, Raymond.

Lucille wanted to enter the convent and had been bugging her parents quite a bit for some time. They made a deal. If this new baby would be a boy, she would have to wait to enter the convent until she reached the age of 21. If the baby turned out to be a girl, then she could leave immediately if she chose. Seems they were quite certain that there would be a little Raymond.

Lottie had the help of a midwife with her other three births but this time decided to let her family physician, Dr. Youngman, aid in this delivery. Lottie was 41 years old now and Steve was 49. This may have had something to do with her choosing to have a doctor around as at this later age some complication might develop but she still wasn't sure if she was making the right decision. She had felt very secure with her midwife.

There was no air conditioning in those days or even window fans for that matter.Steve did buy Lottie a heavy duty Emerson table fan to help her get through the heat of that summer. The building was built of bricks and those bricks held the heat in. The one saving grace was the vacant land area between the next house. It enabled the breeze to come in through the side windows in the kitchen and bedrooms but still it was HOT.

It was August 5th and the labor started. When it progressed near the actual birthing stage, Lucille was sent running on foot to get Dr. Youngman. A neighbor, Mrs. Genzling, stayed with Lottie and was there when the baby entered the world feet first but refused to complete the journey. The doctor had not arrived yet and panic started to set in. Lottie and Mrs. Genzling decided that the baby had better be baptised just in case it would not survive. The first name that came to Mrs. Genzling's mind was her husband's name, John, and that's the name she used.

About a half hour had elapsed when Dr. Youngman showed up. He quickly helped the newly christened baby John complete the journey but could not get the child to take a breath. As a last resort a needle was stuck into the breast of the child and it cried out to the relief of everyone and especially Dr. Youngman. He was the one that talked Lottie into having him, a medical doctor, be with her instead of her usual midwife.

WHAT WAS THIS?!The baby was not a boy at all. It was a girl and quite a large one at that, a little over 10 pounds. Yep! It was me!

Now the saga of THE NAME begins. Lottie and Steve decided to take a girl's name from the name, John, and thus, decided on Jeannette. The baptism was held at St. Hedwig Polish Catholic Church with Father Anthony Zielinski officiating. My first cousins, Marie and Joe Brinker, were my Godparents and were present at the ceremony. In the true Polish tradition Father Zielinski performed the ceremony in the Polish language, baptising me "Genowefa". COME AGAIN?! Genowefa means Genevieve. Here we go again! Don't know what happened after that except that my name is "Jeanette" on the birth certificate. Yes, I do spell it with two "n's". What's in a name anyway!"Growing up in South St. Louis" first had to start with a life, and that's how my life began.

Growing Up in South St. Louis
Hosted by