I am born

From the Uniontown (Pennsylvania) Morning Herald, January 4, 1950, heralding my birth on December 30 of the previous year. Note that I was born in a Catholic hospital—they don’t even show my name!


  1. jknath
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    My Mother was from Brownsville, PA. She or my grandparents may have known your parents, it is a small town.

    • Posted February 1, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Indeed–a VERY small town. Ask them if they knew Dave and Sadie Frank, or Emil Burgess or any Coyne.

  2. ladyatheist
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    We need to see the long-form birth certificate! How do we know this is real? 😉

    • Hunt
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      You have to admit, birthplace in Kenya might explain the love of cats.

    • Posted February 1, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      I have my birth certificate and will send a copy to anybody who sends me the shipping and handling fees ($25).

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        Yes, it’s a bit difficult to get a passport without one of those. Getting out of the country is not as hard as getting in but still some difficulty.

        • George
          Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          I got my first passport without a legal birth certificate. I had the birth certificate issued by the hospital. Back in 1976, that was good enough to get a passport. Not today. In 2002, I decided I should have a copy of my legal birth certificate. Unfortunately, my father had my first name on that document as “Jerzy” – Polish for George. Cook County would not give me a birth certificate since I had no id with that name on it. It took me two years to get that corrected.

          • een
            Posted February 1, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            I had my name mis-spelt on my birth certificate, and my parents didn’t bother to correct it. It was only a matter of MacIntyre rather than McIntyre – I’m sure they didn’t think it mattered much 60 years ago. But nowadays with identity being a much more sensitive issue it caused me problems getting a passport, with dire threats that I had applied for a passport not in my real name…

            • David Coxill
              Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:34 am | Permalink

              The fist time my brother and myself flew to America in 2009 from Manchester UK airport ,i had put his second name Initial because we know him by that name ,as his first name Initial on the ticket .

              So because they were in the wrong order they were not going to let him on the plane ,good job he had some bank cards that matched his passport .

      • Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        Did you know the story Paul Nurse tells of how he tried to get a US visa & was at first denied, despite his Nobel, as they wanted a full birth certificate?

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Yes, I suspect a birther issue here with spies and maybe military intelligence. Or it could just be you hadn’t done anything yet.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    “Behold, a child was born unto them.”

    Let’s see if three wise men (or women) show up in the comments section today.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      None so far…

  5. Flaffer
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    STL represent!

  6. Geoff Toscano
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I was born in Spain in 1953 but came to live in the UK when I was two. I didn’t get a passport until I was more than thirty, and had a great deal of difficulty obtaining a copy of my birth certificate. When I finally received it I discovered the names on it bore no relation to the names I was using, and use to this day. I’m talking completely different!

    By then my parents were no more and so I had only a vague idea of what had happened, part of which was a difference in custom between Spain and the UK over use of names, though it didn’t explain the completely different christian name. I decided to try it on with my passport application, making it in the names I actually use, expecting all sorts of problems. In fact, it sailed through unchallenged so to this day I have a second identity I can use with impunity, though I’m not sure what I’d do with it!

    • Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      … bank account in Bahama!

      • Geoff Toscano
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        Great idea. Unfortunately I need some funds first!

        • Posted February 1, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          …become mates with Trump!

    • Hempenstein
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      At one time that probably could have helped you get into MI5.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        Yeah, it’s got “espionage novel” written all over it.

  7. Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Were you the first born? First borns have about 10^9 pictures of them just in year one. Second borns get as many pictures as the cat. Third are lucky to have any historical record whatsoever.

    • Posted February 1, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      I was the first born, but there really weren’t many pictures taken of me as an infant.

      • Posted February 1, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        Me too. But my parents spent a small fortune on film for my second-born sister. What to make of that.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted February 1, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          Same here. Very few pics of me, but lots of #2 (and #4). #2 won baby contests, which I was never going to do. Too skinny and talkative, and lacking the cute factor. (Only boys were allowed to be talkative in those days.)

    • Posted February 5, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      I knew a family where the first-born even teased his younger sister that she was adopted: “Where are your baby photos?”

  8. Hempenstein
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Re. your namelessness, maybe at press time you were still TBD. Or – (AH!) – they sent the news to Brownsville by telegram.

    In Sweden I think the law requires that the kid be named no later that 6mos after birth – in any event an interval that seemed exceptionally long. One of the techs in the lab had a kid at a relatively late age – I think she was around 40 – and they didn’t name him for quite a long time. It was kinda strange to ask about a still-nameless kid.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Thinking further, your father probably excitedly sent a telegram to his brother back in Brownsville (who then relayed the info to the paper) that just said, “It’s a boy!!”

      (Luckily, the telegraph operator was competent and didn’t turn it into It’s a goy!!)

    • Posted February 1, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Most kids in the Nordic countries are a few months old, when they are given a first name.

      • Posted February 1, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Not Nordic but I answer to “oi! You!”…

  9. George
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I imagine your parents had still not picked the appropriate Irish-American name to go with your last name. Not an Irish name like Fergus, Kieran, Donnacha, etc. Jerry fills the bill. Personally, I like Willie John (as in McBride). He was an Ulsterman and, despite his MBE, an Irishman through and through.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      In my neighborhood, half were named “Jimmy”; the other half were “Mickey” or “Mike.” The third half were named “Pat.” (Irish math. 🙂 )

      • George
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Not Irish math – you need at least four more halfs. And believe it is correct to use halfs in that context not halves. Like Toronto Maple Leafs – which is correct.

  10. Mark Cagnetta
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink


  11. Kirbmarc
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Is your first name Jerry or Jeremiah?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      I think he’s a Jerry; Jeremiah was a bullfrog.

      • Frank Bath
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Jerry is no Jeremiah.

  12. Posted February 1, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m so proud to have been born in the same state as you (although closer to the Ozarks). Your being from the “Show Me” state might have something to do with your chosen pursuit of knowledge. Missouri is a good state to be from: they’ve got ticks, chiggers, high humidity, tornados, flooding, etc. And, they were fighting the bloody causes of the civil war several years before everyone else got into it. Carthage, the biggest town in it’s part of Missouri before the war, had only 5% of that population afterward.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Wtf is a chigger? (My computer recognizes it so I’m clearly ignorant!)

  13. Wayne Y Hoskisson
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    If you were born in a Catholic hospital in 1949 you were almost certainly baptized. This was common in Catholic hospitals in the US until sometime in the late fifties or early sixties. The hospital I was born continued doing this into the sixties unless the parents expressly instructed that no baptism be performed. Even then a zealous priest might still baptize a newborn fearing their condemnation to hell in case of infant mortality. You can probably pass for Irish Catholic.

    • Posted February 1, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Maybe Dr. Coyne could find out for sure with one of those DNA testing kits. 😉

    • Posted February 1, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Baptized and circumcised. That’s a combination you don’t see too often.

      • David Coxill
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        Didn’t St Paul or Peter want christians to get circumcised ?

        I won’t bore you with the joke about the man who mixed up castrated with circumcision .

  14. Chris Swart
    Posted February 1, 2018 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    I was born in the Waynesburg hospital in 1950 and grew up in Washington PA. My mom was from Brownsville, about half-way between Uniontown and Washington.

    Did you live in Uniontown long enough to learn yinzer?

  15. Dale Franzwa
    Posted February 2, 2018 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Poor Jerry, he gets no respect.

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