Sunday, November 21, 2010

Today Our Son is Born! November 22-23, 1963

Family lore is often more powerful than the truth. The one surrounding my birth is that when the Kennedy assassination sent violent shock waves through the country, Mom's reaction was to go into early labor with me.

I was born in New York City the day after the assassination. One of the few baby boys born in Sloane Hospital NOT named "John Fitzgerald" in honor of the slain president.
No, I got named after my uncle and his grandfather: Joseph St. George Bryan III.
Hospitals were not so quick to discharge new mothers so I didn't get home to Tuxedo Park until the 28th.

There is a photograph of me taken within the next couple of weeks. Over my shoulder is a copy of the Saturday Evening Post with Kennedy on the cover.
Now I'll let Dad tell us how he felt that day, excerpted from a letter that was actually a bit of a snarler.

Dad wrote me in 1975:
You were the most extraordinarily beautiful baby--the most beautiful I have ever seen. Oh, I've seen a Japanese baby and a Chinese baby who were extraordinarily beautiful, but that was because they had such a lovely peach complexion. But you, of all the babies I have seen--and I have seen a lot, each time a friend's wife or the wife who was a friend had a baby, I'd always go see him or her. But you ( and I DON'T mean this just because you were my son) were the most handsome. You had the most incredibly fine features, so fixed and mature and all the bone structure was there which would turn you into a handsome man. I was terribly proud of you.

It would be well over twenty years before he'd refer to me as "mature" again.

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