My French Conception…Mom Says

MSU 1963

MSU 1963

Anderson Cooper and I have a connection.  No, it’s not that as babies we were both photographed by Diane Arbus for Harper’s Bazaar.  No, it’s not that his boyfriend owns a New York City bar.  And no, it’s not that we both have beautiful gray hair, though I keep threatening Ms. Clairol that I want to find out and I’m sure Pam at the hair salon is long over my indecisiveness on the heady topic.

So what is it?  It’s that exactly nine months prior to my birth, around the time of my Montreal honeymoon beginnings (Mom says, “I would think it very probable you were conceived in Canada”), his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, married her 4th husband, writer Wyatt Cooper, paving the way for Anderson’s birth in 1967.

Other interesting things that happened around the time of my December 1963 French conception:

  • Idlewild Airport in New York was renamed JFK international.
  • President Johnson sent a Christmas memo to all agency heads ordering them to cut the Federal Payroll.
  • WWDC begins playing I Want to Hold Your Hand
  • Westside Story was a top soundtrack along with Peter, Paul and Mary’s In the Wind – Paul was one of my Dad’s fraternity brothers at Michigan State University.

    the December 1963 Wedding

    the December 1963 Wedding

Mom says that back in the day you had to have a medical exam before you could get hitched.  Her examining physician, who shall remain nameless but whose surname is a type of bird that includes “gold”, “house” or “purple”, told my mom she wouldn’t need birth control because she had an infantile uterus and that she wouldn’t be able to have children.  Who knows, maybe the doctor was a distant relative of Pope Paul VI, elected in the June 1963 Papal conclave, or perhaps he had some other connection to the Sistine Chapel thus nixing a birth control prescription.  Or maybe he really believed the diagnosis.  Whatever the reason, Mom says they didn’t have time to freak out about the information because she and Dad were in the hectic throes of planning their Michigan wedding and their Canada/New York honeymoon.

the Honeymoon

the Honeymoon

So what’s the scoop on this infantile uterus thing? Apparently it was a common 1960’s diagnosis and it just means that the uterus is smaller than average, which by the way, was probably normal in a woman like my mother who was Twiggy-thin in 1963.  Today, doctors understand (or admit?) that the uterus simply grows during pregnancy.  An infantile uterus can certainly hold a fetus the size of a small bird, or in my mom’s case, ultimately 4 fetuses, each at least the size of a carpodacus mexicanus or a spinus tristis.  Since I was the first born, and stretched out mom’s uterus in preparation for the next three, it may also explain my infantile level of humor.  I guess the diagnosing doctor’s name also explains my love of bird watching – without him, I might not be here.

Mom and Dad, for not knowing you’d be able to have children, you done good.


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