Friday, June 28, 2013

Nearly Famous Friday - Born in Bourne

We all have those stories we tell that have been passed down to us, told so many times, we barely remember where or when we learned them. We rarely question their validity. 

One of the first such stories in my life is that I was born in Bourne. I love saying it. I always have. I can't even imagine being born in Evanston or St. Louis, Pittsburgh or even Boston. Being born in Bourne certainly has a ring to it and alliteration as well. 

Beautiful beach cottage rental in Bourne, MA
Just in case you don't already know, Bourne is a town in Massachusetts, wherein lies (or did way back when) Otis Air Force Base and its military hospital. And according to our family mythlore that is where I was born, destined to be defined for a long time by my self-imposed "Air Force Brat" status. With the base closure in 1973, the hospital too was closed and eventually was torn down. 

And again a brush with fame and fortune, but just a brush. Turns out that someone famous was born at the same dang hospital on the same dang air force base -- just two months after my entry into the world. While my birth was barely noticed, other than by my own family and close friends on the base, the world more than noticed this other baby's entrance and mourned his loss too soon. 

President Barack Obama and his family arriving at the Cape Cod
 Coast Guard Air Station in Bourne, Massachusettsin 2009
 Photo: EPA 

According to, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was born five and a half weeks early by emergency caesarean section at the Otis Air Force Base Hospital in Bourne, Massachusetts. Born premature, he was transferred right after his birth to Boston Children's Hospital, where he died just two days later of hyaline membrane disease (HMD). Interestingly, my own son was born by emergency c-section but he survived and is now thriving into his teen years. 

Part of my personal story has always been that I was delivered by the same doctor as JFK's son. I hadn't realized which son until just now when I looked up my "story" for authentication purposes. I didn't even remember they'd had a third child, actually a fourth. 1963 was a very sad year indeed for the Kennedy clan. 

And so shortly after my birth, as the story goes, I was in an odd way connected with John F. Kennedy, delivered by the same doctor in the same hospital as his 2nd son. It would not be our last connection to the President. 

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