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Along Life’s Way
Bargain Baby
By Lois E. Wilson
 
My parents had a whirlwind romance. Their first date was in May and they married in August, less than three months later.
 
They were the talk of the Manchester College campus. Some questioned, did they have to get married? The answer is “no.” Both were back in college the next month and finished their courses of study. I, their only child, was born seven years later during the Great Depression.
 
Mother’s pregnancy must not have been obvious to others. She said that her profile popped out a few weeks before her due date—a baby bump in reality. It took her a little while to adjust to the shift. A few people who hadn’t seen her after it happened accused her of adopting me.
 
Recently, I was looking through some of my Dad’s papers and found he had kept the Dayton Miami Valley Hospital maternity bill of my Mother’s stay and my birth. Here are some of the listed items:
 
                                    Delivery room                              5.00
                                    Drugs                                         1.00
                                    Private room per day                    4.50
                                    Gas                                            2.00
 
With some other coded charges, the total bill:        $52.00.
 
On an internet site I compared the value of a dollar in my birth year with a dollar today. One dollar then has a $16.54 buying power now. Therefore, my bill would be equal to around $860.
 
Really? I doubted if that would pay for one toe of a baby today. As is said, I thought having a baby in this economy probably costs at least an arm and a leg.
 
One website reports the average hospital stay for delivery is around $3,500. That figure did not include any pre-delivery needs or special problems which might arise during delivery.
 
I may have been a “bargain baby” by today’s rates, but to my parents, like Bing Crosby’s popular song—they believed they had “found a million dollar baby in the five and ten cent store.” They certainly treated me as such.
 
I had the best COLA benefit ever which I pray that every child has: Centered On Loving Always.  In my family, we all struck it rich!


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