“The Day Betty Was Born” by Darius M. Ratcliff, 1942

Darius and Ethel Ratcliff

with Elizabeth “Betty” Louise, age 5 weeks


November 8th, 1915, Scriba, New York

There was not a leaf on the old pear tree,

The neighboring hill was bare and brown,

A cold wind tossed dead leaves about,

And through dead branches snow sifted down.

And all our song birds south had fled,

And summer flowers were long since dead.

The day made dark by gloomy clouds,

Grew darker still when high snow walls

Came sweeping in from the darkened lake,

And lashed us fiercely with blinding squalls.

The neighbor’s chickens that graced our lawn

Into their shelters were all withdrawn.

The village park was all deserted:

No children cared to venture out:

The chill wind’s joy finger tips,

Had put the loiterers all to rout.

And when we took a shortened walk

We both were far too cold to talk.

But then before the evening came

The clouds gave way, the sun shone through:

The sunshine danced on hill and tree,

The sky arched over with brilliant blue:

And joy, our home was all awhirl,

Our God had sent us a baby girl.

Photo above – Source: Personal photo collection of B.J. Johanningmeier