The second day of January broke into a bitter cold, and Joyce Miller of Fort Mill wanted to know if the first baby born in York County in 2008 was a girl or a boy.
"I hope it's a girl," said Miller, who wasn't always named Miller because she was first named Joyce Alice Wright. On a beautiful gold stationery from a time long ago, when stationery was lovely and the handwriting stylish and careful, the name Joyce Alice Wright is written. It was written by her late father, who worked for the Johnson company in Johnson City, N.Y.
On the inside of that card, torn just a bit, the words "Announcing the arrival of" are in script, then Joyce's name in beautiful penmanship. After that is weight, "7 1/2 ," and then the date.
Jan. 1, 1938.
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This lady was the first baby of the New Year in that working-class small city near the Pennsylvania border.
"My parents got a crib and a baby basket, because I was the first one," said Joyce Miller of 70 years ago.
"They got a high chair, too," said Joe Miller, the husband. "First one of the year was a big deal."
Stay married 51 years and counting, you know the details about what came home with the mother-in-law.
Later Tuesday, a man named Miguel Visoso called me on the telephone. He said his English wasn't too good, but I quickly said it is a lot better than any foreign language I cannot speak.
"I looked in the paper for the New Year baby and no baby," Visoso said. "I went to the gas station. I looked on all the pages."
I asked Miguel, who was born in Mexico but has called Rock Hill home for more than 15 years, a man who worked so hard in restaurants that now he is a manager, if I could meet him at Piedmont Medical Center and he said sure.
There from Room 207 Visoso came out. His smile radiated like a sultan.
Also out came his sister, Rocio. Rocio speaks wonderful English. I asked her to ask the lady inside the room, Yesica Castro Solis, who speaks very little English, if she was excited.
I might as well have asked her if Yesica likes to breathe. But ask she did, and she came back out.
"Very excited," Rocio Visoso said Yesica told her. "Joyful."
Because Yesica and Miguel had York County's first baby of 2008. There is a pink ribbon on the door that says "First Baby!"
I told Joyce Miller that Piedmont Medical Center's spokesperson said the first baby born in York County came 4 hours and 18 minutes after the New Year on Tuesday.
"I don't know if I took that long or not," Miller said. "I've always tried to be a patient person."
"But was it a girl?" Miller wanted to know. Yes.
The baby at 6 pounds 4 ounces is named Katlyn Estrella Visoso Castro. Estrella means star, Rocio Visoso told me. The mother's last name is last in the surname, as is custom for the rich Latino culture.
Joyce Miller is a New Year baby and was first 70 years ago, so she's always looked for babies in this newspaper every year after the year changes. She has often wondered what happened to those other first babies.
"I hope they are all happy, and I want this baby to be happy," Miller said.
"What I want is for this new baby to have a nice life," said Joe Miller, the husband, who has had a nice life of 51 years with his New Year baby.
I told Joyce Miller the name of Katlyn.
"I've got a great-granddaughter with the same first name," Miller said. "I bet she is a beauty."
I peeked at Yesica inside the room, where other family and friends had gathered like families do when the miracle of life begins. Miguel, the proud father, beamed. The friends cooed. Yesica held the baby in her left arm and with her right she waved. Her wide smile said this baby is a beauty.
That love needed no translator.