The members of the class of 77 all graduated on different days, with the exception of the Gatewoods and the Mosses. One family even graduated before the class was over. Everyone had varying degrees of difficulty with the final exams. And when they were taken home by the proud parents, five of the diplomas were tied with pink ribbons and six were tied with blue.
Last Sunday, a year later, the George Washington University Hospital maternity class of Virgo 1977 held its first reunion. As one would expect after a year in the trenches with soiled diapers and 2 a.m. feedings, baby talk dominated the conversation.
"Brett's always pointing at other kids and calling them 'Baby,'" Robert Nelson mused. "What does he think he is?"
"If I had known it was gonna be like this," quipped Tom Gatewood, as he pointed his movie camera at daughter Jessyca, who was charging across the floor to get a toy, "I'd have bought stock in Kodak."
Nine of the original 11 families in the Parent and Child class and their "experienced" teacher gathered at the baby-proofed home of Lyn, Kevin and Rachel Taecker for brunch (each family supplied a dish) and reassurance (the knowledge that they are not alone during these hectic and occasionally trying times).
Susy and Eddy Rothchild were proud of son Andrew's first political lesson - U.S. Sen. James Abourezk's filibuster last year of President Carter's energy bill, part of which they attended.
"We got him to interrupt his speech to say hello to Andrew," beamed Eddy, the senator's former administrative assistant on energy.
After last year's deliveries, the class met at Jan and Russ Welsh's home to compare labor and delivery stories. Eddy shared the movies he had taken then.
At a younger level, socializing took a different form. Bottles were passed from mouth to mouth without regard to ownership. Getting licked by Percy, the Taeckers' dog, was a big attraction.
Rory Welsh, just over a year herself, was protective of her two-month-old brother, Evan. She watched closely as adults took turns holding him. But Evan is already a survivor. Two weeks ago while carrying him, his mom slipped down a flight of steps and broke her elbow. Evan managed to scoot away without a scatch.
Evan is the first second-born of the class. However, Judy Nelson, Brett's mother, is pregnant again, as is Alice McGinnis.
"We'll probably just stay home and practice the breathing exercises for the last eight weeks," Alice explained. During the childbirth preparation class, a childless registered nurse provided book knowledge, but it was Alice, whose daughter, Emily, had been born the previous year, who was the "experienced" teacher.
However, the next McGinnis child will not be born at George Washington University Hospital. Alice has learned that Sibley Hospital alows children to visit their mothers and new siblings on the maternity ward, a fact that pleases young Emily.