I was, of course, on the copy desk that night.
We had closed the first edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer, and the phone rang. It was Kathleen, saying she was in labor and there were a couple of guys at the front door asking about the apartment upstairs and did I have the landlord's phone number handy?
In labor. We had found out only three days previously that she was carrying twins; the ob/gyn hadn't thought an ultrasound was necessary until the nurse-midwife heard the second heartbeat.
I never did find out about the guys interested in the apartment, but I got Kathleen to the hospital, where we were told that one of the two (it turned out to be Alice) was impatient and headed out feet-first. So I sat talking to Kathleen, trying not to glance behind me at the progress of the cesarean*.
Our daughter was first, holding her hands out to the doctor, and our son was out one minute later. It was a little before 1:00 a.m. on June 19, 1984.
Thus into the world came Alice Elizabeth Marian McIntyre and John Paul Lucien McIntyre.
My Enquirer colleagues had come up with a list of one hundred paired names for us to consider. Alice posts on Facebook today that she is partial to Fear and Loathing. I myself leaned toward Minneapolis and St. Paul.
They are launched onto the world now. Alice, who holds an honors degree in Latin and Greek from Swarthmore, teaches Latin at the Garrison Forest School and is about to embark on a master's degree at Vanderbilt. J.P., who read the great books and graduated from St. John's College in Annapolis, has become an accomplished chef, cooking at Homestead and the Berkshire Room in Chicago. He and his fiancee, Alexandra Aaronson, are to be married in October.
Over the past thirty years I have edited thousands of texts (usually for the better), some of them by winners of the Pulitzer Prize. I have introduced more than six hundred undergraduates to the elements of editing at Loyola. Editors whom I hired and trained at The Sun have gone on to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other notable publications. I've conducted workshops on editing for hundreds of people at conferences and publications.
But the most important thing I have done, or ever will do, is my part in fostering, sustaining, encouraging, and loving my Alice and my John Paul, who turn thirty this day, with a life of possibility and promise stretching out before them.
*Oh, come on, the Associated Press Stylebook gave up on Caeserean years ago. Try to keep up.
Correction: In the intial post, these errant fingers gave Alice's undergraduate majors as Latin and French. The Old Man regrets the error.