I could be accused of loving the limelight—right from the very beginning. You see, I was born a few years after the Second World War, on June 10, 1949, to Grady “Skip” Lael, age 23, and Hazel Bleecker Lael, age 20, in Spokane, Washington.
Although he’d braved the beach at Iwo Jima, in the Pacific, not that long before, Dad was terrified when Mom went into labor.
Both employed in Spokane at the time, though they would soon move to a patch of land near Northport, Washington, they were young and poor and driving an old, rattling rust-bucket of a car.
Naturally, like all first-time parents, they had no idea what to expect.
Headed for the old Sacred Heart Hospital, Dad helped Mom into the truck, got behind the wheel and raced up a one-way street, going the wrong way.
He and Mom must have been shaken when a siren sounded behind them, and the lights of a police car began to flash.
Dad pulled over, probably swearing under his breath, and the police officer who’d stopped them came to stand beside the driver’s side door, prepared to issue a warning and write a ticket. When he saw Mom squirming in the passenger seat, and Dad said they were trying to get to Sacred Heart, the police officer put away his ticket book, smiled and said, “Follow me!”
He led the folks onto the right street and preceded them, lights and siren going, to the hospital.
And that’s how I came into the world with my very own police escort!