According to her baby book, Wilma Lee Hughes was born at 7 AM on Sunday, April 13, 1930 in Kelso, Washington, on a day when the cherry trees were in full bloom. She would be the only child of parents Earl Jesse Hughes (of Clinton, MO) and Mildred Carpenter (of Cabolla, CO). Dr. Frank Davis and his attending nurse, Mrs. Johnson, delivered the healthy 6.5 pound baby girl. She was named after Mildred’s voice teacher, who was a close friend.
Wilma descended from immigrants who landed in America in the late 1600’s, and whose heritage included German, Dutch, Russian, and Welsh ethnicities; gold prospectors, ranchers, loggers, bootleggers, rail-riders, homesteaders, and a US Supreme Court Chief Justice. On her father’s maternal side, her family (the Risings) has been traced back to 1225 A.D.
Wilma’s baby book, in addition to the standard birth and growth statistics pages, included a page to document “The Baby Was Carried Upstairs”. There was an old superstition that a baby should be carried upstairs, that it may rise in the world, before it is taken downstairs. This feat was accomplished by her mother on May 6th, when Baby Wilma was four weeks old.
- First smile: April 19
- First laugh: April 27
- First tear: May 19 (cause unknown)
- First shoes: August 10 [white satin with pink embroidery, shown below with what I believe is her teddy bear and a wooden pull-toy horse]
- First haircut: November 6, by her mother “because it wouldn’t curl real nice”
- First kiss: November 21 at age 7 months, from her father
- First words: “Bye-Bye Pal”, uttered in January 1931 [Pal was the name of her puppy]
- First steps: June 12, 1931
Near her first birthday, Wilma received an invitation to a Cradle Roll party “at Two O’clock March 17 at Christian Church Parsonage” in Kelso. Mrs. Philips, the sender of the invitation, asked that her mother bring an extra snapshot for the roll, and sent Easter Wishes ‘from the Cradle Roll Department” two weeks later…
Her mother also noted that when Wilma got her stroller, she learned how to move it within two days, and never did push herself into a corner that she couldn’t get out of…