I was born at Mile Marker 8, State Highway 51, in Portage County, Wisconsin. It’s actually Arnold’s fault that we didn’t make it to Saint Holy Redeemer of the Virginal Queen of Apostles Reverent Savior Catholic Hospital and Bingo Hall in Stevens Point. Marion has told me the story many times, never lacking in facial expressions that demonstrate her then frustration with Arnold. Apparently Arnold was always more than adequately prepared for almost any type of calamity or festivity. He even made his famous cheese balls days ahead of the New Year’s Eve Gala at the Bosko’s. I guess babies are little more difficult than cheese balls.
The back seat of the 1952 Pontiac Chieftan was first covered in plastic, then with fluffy cotton towels. Marion’s overnight bag was packed and placed on the floor, within easy reach in case she needed to put on lipstick or rouge or some other unneccesary item while being in painful labor. Yeah, Arnold knew exactly what to do.
So when that cold winter Sunday arrived at 9:30AM Arnold pushed Marion into the back seat. Before she knew it she was flat on her back, reminding her of the exact time this little Nugget of Joy was conceived. Oddly enough, she was not in the mood this time.
As we waited for Arnold, Marion heard him rummaging through the house. I was probably just laying there with my arms folded impatiently tapping my foot on the closest thing to me, which was more than likely Marion’s belly. “Hurry, Arnold!” she screamed.
“I’m looking for the God Damn keys!”
Of course, I didn’t hear this since I was all alone in a dark, damp cavern with nothing to do. If Marion would have at least swallowed a small flashlight or something it would have been nice. I know expectant mothers have a lot to think about, but it was a little selfish on her part.
Then, according to Marion’s version of this Blessed Event, she yelled, “Arnold, the keys are in the ignition!” I’m sure I thought, “Great, this Moron is going to raise me?”
We wasted at least fifteen minutes on Arnold’s fumbling. We made it as far as Mile Marker 8 when Marion(calmly, I’m sure)informed Arnold that she wasn’t going to make it and their Beautiful Dream Child was about to enter their world. Arnold yanked the Pontiac over to the shoulder and scrambled out and opened the passenger’s door. He pulled the seat forward and peeked in. “He’s coming out!” Marion said. As my little, perfect head emerged from Marion’s… uhm…her…well…womb, Arnold took one look, turned, and vomitted in the snowy ditch. Not what I was hoping for as my first Vote of Confidence from Arnold. He regained enough energy to guide me from Marion’s womb muscles which had a death grip on my body. He tossed me on her belly, threw a blanket on top of us, and sped to the ordained healing center.
After making sure we were going to be okay, a Big White Covered Nurse separated me from Marion and put me in a room cluttered with a bunch of unruly malcontents, screaming their little heads off. Now I just spent nine months in Solitary Confinement. That’s like a misdemeanor Theft sentence in the Portage County Jail. My first breath of freedom and I’m subjected to this? I saw Marion and Arnold in the window. I tried to motion for them to come and get me out of there. They just smiled and thought I was cute. Well, I really was cute, but that’s beside the point. So I just started crying like all the other brats in there.
Soon I was cradled in Marion’s bosom. In fact, I was actually sucking on Marion’s left bosom which I found to be quite comforting. My beautiful eyes were closed and I heard muffled conversation from above. I opened one eye-you know, just to take a peek to see who was admiring me-and what I saw I will haunt me forever. There was this old lady peering down at me making googly noises, spittle dripping down from her bright red lips. Now both eyes were wide open. I tried to scream, but have you ever tried to yell with a boob in your mouth? Try it sometime, it’s not that easy. Maybe fun, but definitely not easy. I discovered much later that the horrifying face belonged to Gamma, Marion’s mother, my grandmother. Years later Marion could never understand why, on every Halloween I would want to dress up like Gamma.
Arnold, Marion, Gamma; could it get any worse?
I think I slept a lot then, a habit I would strive to continue well into and past my teenage years. I woke up and knew I was being carried into another room. Maybe one with more breasts? I could only hope. I saw a few people standing around with masks over their faces. Some guy whose face and head were completely covered said, “Don’t worry little guy, this will only hurt for a little while.” How about not hurting at all? Try that. A woman who was also hiding her identity was holding me as the old guy grabbed some bright, silver instrument and grabbed my little penis. Well, it was little then. The pain was indescribeable. I think I passed out, or maybe I went back to sleep. At that age I couldn’t tell the difference. I awoke to see Arnold’s face peering down at my with a big grin. “How are ya doin’ Little Fella?” I made myself a promise then.: As soon as I was old enough I was going to take a hedge clippers to Arnold’s weiner.
A few days later we were gathered as a Family Unit in what I guessed was our kitchen. Initially I believed the wonderful smells were coming from me since, after all, everything else I’d done up to that point in my life was revered by everyone around me. I could see Arnold eating what I would find out much later was solid food. Next to Arnold was Gamma. I looked up and Marion was shoveling solid food into her mouth, also. Okay, the breast milk was good, but really. I began to kick and wave my perfect little arms about, trying to get their attention. How about passing some of that roast beef over here, Gamma?
Then I saw what would soon be a regular face in our house, our neighbor Lucille Bosko. “Marion, you never told me what you named this little bundle of cuteness.” I really liked Lucille. “Well,” Marion began. I learned later in life that when Marion began a sentence with “well” it was never good. But at that time I didn’t know any better. So I kept sucking and cooing. Cutely, of course. “Arnold wanted to name him ‘Mark’ with just a middle initail of ‘R’ because he was born at a mile marker and it would be ‘Mark R’ like ‘marker.'”
Of all the dumbass ideas, I thought. The hedge clippers idea was looking better and better.
“Well,”(Oh Shit)I changed his mind.” Thank you Lord Jesus and Mother Mary. At least Marion had a smidgen of common sense. That’s what I thought. “I told him that was a dumb idea and so I named him ‘Solomon’. Because Solomon is my favorite book in the Bible. It’s actually a love song. The Song of Solomon.”
NOOOOOOOO! Just what every boy wants, to be named after a Love Song. Just name me “Some Enchanted Evening” and then kill me. Then it got worse. Marion said, “My favorite verse in the Bible is Song of Solomon Chapter Seven, Verse Six.” And then she sang, “How fair and how pleasant you are, O love, with your delights.”
That was it. I spat the nipple out of my mouth like a major league baseball player expectorating a wad of chew. Then the waving of the arms and crying began. Just to add a little more emphasis I dropped a load in my diapers and as an exclamation point, I regurgitated warm breast milk all over Marion’s arm. If I had to suffer the rest of my life then she could at least handle that.
It was then that I knew-for Solomon Arnold Quick, born January 25, 1953 at Mile Marker 8, Wisconsin State Highway 51, Portage County Wisconsin, Beloved Son of Arnold and Marion Quick- Life was going to be a Bitch.