I was 22, newly released from Fall college classes due to morning sickness earlier that spring. We were expecting our first baby, I was in my 3rd trimester, and feeling great. I had a lot of free time on my hands, with my husband working night shift, and finishing his undergrad classes to graduate in December. The weather was warm and sunny, with beautiful blue-sky days. I often spent my mornings doing chores, then sorting and re-organizing my stash of baby clothes and things, smelling each precious sweet item before folding it and laying it away.
After lunch, I went walking along the sidewalks in LaGrande, under big leafy trees bright with their autumn colors against the vivid blue sky. John would sleep in the afternoons, and being a light sleeper, I left the apartment so he could get his rest.
I ate a fresh crisp apple every day as I walked, and I was amazed how healthy and good I was feeling. I had been told how miserable pregnancy was, and how swollen and awful I would feel, yet none of that happened. I canned jars of golden peaches in our small apartment, and John helped me make applesauce from Rome Beauty apples on the weekend. We even made bright red apple jelly from the apple peelings. We had so little, and we had so much. Each day seemed golden and blessed as they blended one into the other that autumn.
Then came the early morning on November 4th, that John got home after getting off work at the hospital. I was sitting up in a chair as he came in and found out that we were going to have our baby two weeks early. Later that day, our lives changed and so did the weather, as our beautiful daughter Joy Emily was born in the middle of a huge snowstorm. I remember holding my new daughter tight, all bundled snugly in a new blanket, and watching the snowflakes whirl and swirl past the hospital window. Autumn gave way to winter and the two of us gave way to life's new season.