One cold, frosty wintry night in late November 1940, the usual cool refreshing North Cornwall, England air in the hills of St Tintagel turned blistery cold - like ice as it swirled and whistled around in the strong wind outside our front door. If you listen hard enough, really listen, not making any sound or movement, you'll be able to hear the faint whispering voices in the wind like children talking or wolves howling into the night.
That same cold, frosty wintry night I was awaken by the sound of a horrifying scream that I had ever heard before; it was coming from my parents' bedroom!
I threw back my pale blue bed spread and quickly swung my legs over the bed and ran to my parents' bedroom.
My parents' bedroom door was wide open and I saw to my complete, utter shock as Mama was giving birth to my new baby brother or sister. I was just about to take a step into the room when my Grandmother Maxine looked my way witha look of disapproval in her pretty old face as she gently shook her head. I stopped and wondered why Grandmother Maxine didn't want me to be there with Mama and Papa when the new baby came.
Mama screamed out in such pain which made my own eyes start to water because I hated seeing Mama or anyone else I cared about looking distressed; Mama was gripping tightly to Papa's big, gentle hand as he tried to sooth the pain for her in his most kind, and gentlest of voices.
"Jane, darling, it's all right, I'm here. I'm not leaving you. Just try to stay calm and breathe in and out like this," he demonstrated what he meant that made me giggle, but a scolding look I got from Grandmother Maxine told me to stop.
Mama's forehead dripped in sweat; a drop ran down the side of her face. She screamed once again and pushed as hard as she could.
Grandmother Maxine ran to Mama and Papa and stood in between Mama's legs as she could see that the baby was coming.
I was horrified to see so much blood coming from Mama. But I then remembered what Grandmother told me about when women give birth they lose a pint of blood from their bodies. I wanted to come in and sit by Mama and hold her hand letting her know I was there for her.
Wishing that Mama would see me, she turned her beautiful face towards the door and saw me forcing a smile on her pale and exhausted face. "Zoe, my angel," she said slowly breathing quite heavily. "Zoe, honey, come to ya Mama and help her deliver this baby that is determined to stay in her," she joked.
I ran to her and sat by her side holding her other slender hand in my small hand.
Mama gave out another scream as another contraction came tighter than the last. She pushed as Grandmother Maxine's small grey eyes brightened and she smiled with excitement.
"It's coming, it's on its way, Jane, the little baby is coming. Just hold in there, I see its head, one more big push and it'll all be over."
"It better be because I don't think I've got the energy to carry on like this for much longer," Mama replied back with a quick laugh, then pushed as hard as she could with her eyes closed and squeezing both Papa's and I's hand.
Soon the wonderful sound of the new baby could be heard.
Papa beamed down with happiness and love at Mama and she beamed back at him with happiness and love as their lips met.
Grandmother cut the umbilical cord from Mama and the baby with a pair of large steel scissors. She gently splashed the blood off the baby with water and then wrapped it up in a clean and white fluffy towel. She gazed down at the baby who gurgled a bit and opened its tiny eyes. Grandmother Maxine glanced over at Mama and said with delight "Jane, honey, you've got a beautiful baby boy. A little one who's going to turn into a fine young man someday."
Papa hugged Mama with such joy. He had always wanted a son to show him how to play the master game of cricket and croquet. Now his dream of having a son had come true.
I stood up and went over to see my new baby brother who looked so adorable in the white towel with his bald head slightly lowered. "He's so gorgeous, Mama," I exclaimed enthusiastically as Grandmother handed the baby over to Mama who cradled him in her slender arms against her swollen breasts.
"What are you thinking of calling him?" asked Grandmother Maxine, folding her arms under her breasts.
Mama and Papa exchanged smiles to each other as they made a decision on what to call him.
At the tender age of nine years old, I fully understood the meanings and the philosophy of the human body. I even knew the anatomy of the human body, every system as well. I suppose you could say I was rather smart for someone my age.
"We're going to call our new son, Gene, after the 1930s famous singing actor, Gene Kelly," declared Papa in a loud and proud voice.
As I watched Mama and Papa kiss, Grandmother Maxine hugged me close and I wrapped my small slender arms around her waist with a big happy smile upon my face knowing life as I grew into a young woman would be perfect; now that baby Gene Smithhad been born.
Suddenly, Grandmother screamed out in sheer horror as Mama's hand slipped from Papa's and her head fell back against the soft white pillow. Her beautiful blue eyes had rolled back to the back of her head. Her face had become gaunt and deathly pale. Mama had stopped breathing.
Grandmother Maxine checked for a pulse on the side of her daughter's neck and found nothing. She lowered her head down then turned her head slowly towards me and her small grey eyes were very sad and puffy from crying. Her eyes and expression on her face told me everything I needed to know.
Mama, my beautiful, kind, sweet, loving Mama was dead!
I felt hot tears welling up in my blue eyes and then fell like a waterfall down my small rosy cheeks. My mouth quivered uncontrollably.
Papa burst into sobs as he buried his handsome face on Mama's right shoulder. He held her beautiful lifeless body in his arms tightly as fresh warm tears fell from his green eyes on top of her once crown of beauty blonde hair.
I glanced over at Grandmother who had her eyes closed and was mumbling a faint prayer to God and did the cross across her chest. Praying to send her beautiful daughter Jane Marie Smith up to Heaven and asked God to watch over her family for years to come.
I walked slowly back over to the bed and and looked down at Mama's lifeless body that lay neatly on top of the creamy white bedspread then threw my arms around her neck and rested my blonde head on her left shoulder as the tears poured out from my eyes.
I had this gut feeling inside that Mama's beautiful spirit was watching over us right now in Heaven telling us not to worry she was in peace now and said she'll be watching over us forever.