And then there were four, in 1964

Priscilla Wilson at

Although the fetal ultrasound machine had been invented in the 1950s, it wasn't available everywhere for gender determination until much later. We never knew before our babies were born whether to paint the nursery pink or blue, so there were a lot of  baby yellow and light green walls in the nurseries back then. Parents usually chose two names for the mystery baby, a boy's name and a girl's name. If our baby turned out to be a boy, I decided to name him Hal after his father. Hal wasn't too excited about that but went along with it as long as I agreed that if it was a girl we'd name her Priscilla, after me. Sounded fair.

There are many cousins named Priscilla on the maternal side of my family. We were named after our Italian grandmother, Principia. My mother and her siblings didn't want their babies to carry Grandma's foreign-sounding name for the rest of their lives. The Italian custom was to name the second daughter after the maternal grandmother. My mother and her siblings agreed that Priscilla was the closest translation for Principia.

However, that wasn't the only issue. The Roman Catholic church decreed that children had to be named after a Saint in order to be christened in The Church. Everyone was Roman Catholic in our Brooklyn extended family, and no one had ever heard of a Saint Priscilla. The Church allowed a Saint's name to be used as a middle name, so everyone named Priscilla had a middle name of a Saint. That's how we ended up naming our baby Priscilla Ann, just like me. I was called Patti once Mom and I moved to Florida, so it didn't turn out to be a problem.

Many years later, when I was married to Gordon, I decided to take ministerial training from Rev. Dr. Robert Estling at The Seraphim Center, an interfaith church we attended in Gainesville, Florida. I did not want to be ordained as Rev. Patti. It was the perfect time and place to reclaim my birth name since no one that I knew attended the Seraphim Center and Chapel. I was ordained as Rev. Priscilla Normandy Greenwood, not Rev. Patti, a nickname that was given to me, but not chosen by me. We named our second and last daughter Priscilla and called her Cilla and still refer to her by that name.

Years later, while I was researching another project, I learned that there actually had been a Saint Priscilla long ago. We wouldn't have needed a middle name after all in order to be christened in the Roman Catholic church.)

Like most expectant parents, we said it didn't matter if our baby was a girl or a boy, we just wanted our baby to be healthy. While that is totally true, my unspoken truth was that I still believed in my childhood fantasy of motherhood, having two girls and two boys. Although I wouldn't admit it out loud, I had a strong preference for another daughter and was ecstatic when my beautiful baby girl was born.  People said she looked like a Kewpie Doll which was popular before my time. I never actually had one. They are very collectible now and there are even museums in Kewpie Doll's honor.

                            at 9 months old            Kewpie doll

My own sister was thirteen years older than me and was married and living elsewhere by the time I was seven.  I always hoped I would have two daughters who would be closer in age than that. I wanted them to grow up to be best friends forever so they would never feel alone. I felt the same about having my two sons close in age, but didn't expect them to arrive sixteen months apart. I want to add that around the time I turned fifty, I no longer felt any age difference between my sister and me. Jean and Pete had retired
in their fifties and moved to Boca Raton, Florida,  I was so happy we could visit each other often. Those were the best years we shared until she passed away when she was 71. I am so thankful for the time we had together, but I still miss my big sister so much.

When Cilla was born, we were still living in Jacksonville, Florida. We sold our cute little starter house we bought with the help of a VA mortgage and bought a larger one not far away at 3045 Ridgepine Drive. Cilla was the only child who was born while we lived there, which I don't think was very long. Having four babies six and under kept me busy. Daddy Hal's job as a pharmaceutical rep kept him busy. I only remember 3045 by the highlights: Cilla was born, Randall and Darrell both got mumps at the same time, and Kimberli started the first grade at nearby Lake Lucina Elementary School.

We sold our beautiful house in Jacksonville before Cilla was a year old and moved to a rented house in Plantation, Florida, in Broward County. It was only thirteen miles from Hollywood, where Aunt Phyl and Uncle Glen lived on Arthur Street. The streets in Hollywood were a living history lesson, all named in chronological order by the year each Presidents took office. In school, children learned a catchy way to remember the order of the streets with a little history thrown in. Many years later, the only part I still remember went like this: Tyler Polk(ed) Taylor, Fillmore Pierce(d) Buchanan. What a creative way to teach history.

I barely remember our time during those few months when we lived in Plantation. It's a blur for a very good reason. The whole time we were there someone had chicken pox. Hal didn't get it, nor did baby Cilla who was still under a year old. Then I got chicken pox which I had never had as a child. Dear Aunt Phyl drove up from Hollywood to bring us a huge steaming pot of her made-with-love chicken soup, guaranteed to break up congestion of colds, as well as soothing a sore throat. She handed it to us at the door and was smart enough not to come in.

Hal soon decided he wanted to go back to the University of Florida and further his studies, so we packed up and moved back to Gainesville and got back on the list for a rental in Flavet married housing again. Cilla was eleven months old and I was determined not to leave her with a sitter so I could go back to work. Money was scarce but I knew she would be the last baby I'd ever have. I would have done anything to be able to stay home and watch her take her first step instead of having a baby sitter tell me about it. To make that happen, I decided to take care of two eleven-month-old babies
while their mothers worked during the day. I got a small taste of what parents of triplets go through all day, but I was young and up for the task and my pretend-triplets were picked up at 5 o'clock.

When Kimberli was born I managed to stay home with her for six months before it became obvious it was time for me to return to work. At one time, in order to get his degree, Hal worked three part-time jobs, attended a full schedule of classes, and took care of Kimberli until I got home from work at the Seagle Building. Even with the G.I. Bill, it just wasn't enough. I found a tattered copy of our weekly budget from 1956 when we first moved to Gainesville. We set aside $10 per week for food when we were newlyweds. We actually ate very well on that. I cooked baby beef steaks three times a week. It felt like a big splurge, but in reality they were very inexpensive. With our first baby on the way, I needed a job. When Hal got his bachelor's degree diploma, their wives got a PHT certificate which stood for "Pushing Hubby Through."  I didn't need another one. Anyway, I made up my mind when Cilla was born that I wasn't going to miss all the "firsts" like her first word, which was "cookie" and sounded like coo-key.

We moved to Tennessee for six months after Hal was graduated from pharmacy school at UF. Florida required a six-month internship after graduation which meant six more months of very limited income. In Tennessee, on the other hand, no internship was required and Hal was able to start work as a full-fledged Registered Pharmacist in Knoxville. We rented an apartment in Oak Ridge which is considered part of the Knoxville Metropolitan Area, about 25 miles west of Knoxville. Oak Ridge had many nicknames, like The Atomic City, The Secret City, and The City Behind the Fence. It was a production site for the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb.

Kimberli, Randall, and Darrell attended school during the day and Cilla was the only one at home with me, so we got her a kitten. It helped.
I know that adorable photo of Cilla and cat will show up in a box somewhere, some day. It's probably with one of my favorite photos of Cilla and Laura baking little cakes on an Easy Bake oven. I'll try to write page two some day, complete with photos, when I find that box of treasures in one of two storage cages that I rent from The Village for $90 a month.  But that's part of a future story with chapters overflowing with new characters and events that are happening in my Now. 

Back to Tennessee. Hal was always a good provider and worked long hours. In Tennessee, he would get home from work after 11pm. Since we only had one car, and there was only one grocery store that stayed open until midnight, once a week we had to go grocery shopping after he got home. That meant taking with us four children, dressed in pajamas under their coats. It sounds stressful now, but at the time I didn't think it was. We did what we had to do to make it work for all of us.

Six months sped by and we were soon back in Gainesville. Eventually we settled down and bought a lovely new house in Gainesville on NW 23rd Avenue off NW 34th Street. Cilla was lonely when her siblings went to school so we decided to enroll her in a pre-school right down the street. Suffice it to say it didn't work out very well through no fault of her own.

Little Cilla playing piano

I have been stuck on this page for over a year, not able to describe my Cilla. I can't adequately tell you how much I enjoyed watching my last baby blossom into an amazing, sensitive woman, kind, and brilliant. Like her sister, Kimberli, she was graduated from the University of Florida. Cilla worked for many years at Shands Teaching Hospital, which I think is now called UF Health - Shands.

A few years ago, to my surprise, Cilla told me she was going to Nashville to become a screenwriter. So she did. Her talent follows her wherever she goes and I expect to see her name in lights one day soon.  To be continued!