BIRTHPLACE ON MOUNT SINAI
Just inside that window on the left is where I first saw the light of day—on a warm Sunday in January. I should have been born in the local hospital—but the doctor who delivered me couldn’t get hospital privileges. He wasn’t incompetent—but he was refused privileges because he had a diagnosis of epilepsy. When the family doctor told my mother she couldn’t carry a baby and would need surgery to correct a “tipped uterus,” she looked elsewhere for help. She heard of a new doctor in town and Dr. Harrison told her he thought she could carry her baby to term—but it would be a home delivery. She took the risk—and he not only delivered me that Sunday afternoon, he kickstarted my life when I didn’t immediately start breathing on my own.
Our house was on a street named for my father—on the second highest hill in town. The sprawling white structure had been expanded over the years as my father’s first family grew. He and my mother lived there after their marriage and I spent most of my first decade in this house. I loved the mimosa and maple trees, the mysterious covered cistern where we played, the sharp bend in the street at our yard’s edge, my bedroom, the sunroom, and my mother’s rose garden.
Of all the houses I lived in while growing up, this is the only one still standing. I drove by it three years ago—still well-kept, sprawling, and on the hill on Eaves Street in Athens.
Most of all, I loved the view surrounding our house—a circle of mountains. My Eaves brothers called it Mount Sinai. And for the first few years of my life, I actually thought those mountains were at the edge of the world. If you went over the mountains, you fell off the earth. Everything I knew or loved or wanted was here. It was home.