Marion Weed, in a good-natured fashion, wanted to set the record straight.
Eleven-month-old Blake Michael Thacker of Graham, the subject of two stories in The News Tribune (one in January, one last week) because of the unusual circumstances of his birth, was not, as speculated, the only baby ever born in an elevator of St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, Weed said.
She was, too.
It was February 1934, and her pregnant mother, Juanita Woodard, was home alone in Tacoma as her husband, William, was out of town for his job with the railroad.
Juanita began to show signs of labor, but as a young woman carrying her first child, she didn’t think she was ready to give birth, Weed said.
Some friends stopped by for a visit and thought otherwise. They loaded Juanita into a Ford Model A and headed up the South 19th Street hill to St. Joseph.
It was an exhilarating ride. The car’s driver had a history of passing out, and the woman riding in the back seat with laboring Juanita “prayed the whole way that she wouldn’t faint,” Weed said.
“And those hills are pretty tricky with a stick shift,” she added.
When they arrived at the hospital, Juanita was rushed into an elevator for a trip up to the maternity ward. Little Marion couldn’t wait.
“I was born in the elevator,” she said. “The Catholic nun really chewed my mother out for not making it to the hospital on time.”
Like Blake, who was born in a St. Joseph elevator in January 2012, Marion suffered no ill effects.
She married, gave birth to four children (“They were all born at Tacoma General, and I got there on time!”) and worked in sales for nearly three decades. She dove into Northeast Tacoma neighborhood issues and city politics, eventually running unsuccessfully for City Council in 1997.
To commemorate her birth story, Weed bought a brick when the old St. Joseph building was torn down in the 1970s to make way for the iconic tower that still overlooks downtown Tacoma.
“I couldn’t afford the elevator, but I had to have a brick,” she said.Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644