On May 11, 1936, four sisters got off the school bus that afternoon to the sound of a baby’s cries. Each of them had been born in the hospital, but the final child of the family was born at home, at Hillcrest Farms at Whallons Bay in Essex, NY.
That child, Barbara, was born to parents Aden & Louie Irish, and her four sisters were Helen, Marion, Patricia, and Betty.
Dr. John Stafford and his nurse Doris Albee assisted in Barbara’s birth with the help of family friend Myrtle MacDougal.
Pictured below are portraits of Dr. Stafford and his wife.
It just so happened that Dr. Stafford shared a birthday with Barbara and took a special liking to her. In the slideshow below is a handcrafted card a with poem he gifted to Barbara on her 8th birthday.
Here is the full text of the poem:
May 11, 1944
Barbara Ann, so I’ve been told,
On this eleventh of May is eight years old.
I think we ought to celebrate –
I am seventy-five – Barbara is eight.
Like the old fellow on Barbara’s card,
I might chase her all over the yard,
Though I get out of breath when I try to run,
I think we might have a barrel of fun.
Your wish that I live a “thousand years”
Has given me a lot of “young ideas”.
I’ll do my best, Dear Barbara Ann,
I’ll live that long – if I possibly can.
I’m glad I have such a nice girl friend;
To her best wishes I will send.
Best wishes for her birthday –
1944 – on the eleventh of May.
(signed) Your Doctor
Learn more about the Irish family and share other memories of Essex with Barbara in these stories: Barbara Irish Smith Shares Memories of Her Childhood in Essex and Remembering Hillcrest Farm.